SAN FRANCISCO – Six states lacked the legal right to challenge a California law that prohibits the sale off eggs from chickens that are not raised in accordance with strict space requirements, a federal appeals court said Thursday.
The states – Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky and Iowa – failed to show how the law would affect them and not just individual egg farmers, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The court upheld a lower court decision that dismissed the lawsuit.
California voters approved a ballot initiative in 2008 that set the space requirements for egg-laying hens in the state. The standards say chickens must spend most of their day with enough space to lie down, stand up, turn around and fully extend their limbs.
The measure gave farmers until 2015 to comply.
California egg farmers raised concerns that the measure would put them at a competitive disadvantage with their counterparts in other states. In 2010, California legislators expanded the law to ban the sale of eggs from any hens that were not raised in compliance with California’s animal care standards. The California law cites concerns about protecting people from salmonella and other illnesses.