Target: Ronald Fong, President and CEO of California Grocers Association
Goal: Enforce the decision to convert to fully cage-free egg production
Californian voters have overwhelmingly called for humane changes to egg industry practices. In 2008, voters passed Proposition 2, which stipulated that all eggs sold in the state be produced in compliance with new animal welfare standards. In January, the new cage rules come into full effect and in anticipation, we call to urge Ronald Fong and the California Grocers Association (CGA) to enforce the humane treatment of hens.
Consumers of California voiced their concern over the inhumane practice of confined-hen egg production when, in 2008, Proposition 2 passed with a winning margin in 47 of the state’s 58 counties, urban and rural alike. Lawmakers later supplemented the law with AB 1437, which details that hens have enough space to stand up, lie down, turn around freely, and extend their limbs.
In a perfect world, AB 1437 and Proposition 2 would require that eggs be produced organically and in free-range conditions. However, we must commend this step in the right direction and monitor company compliance in the coming year. Opponents have filed lawsuits to block these new humane laws, but so far they have been unsuccessful. Several large companies like Aramark, Sodexo, Compass Group, and Hickman’s Family Farms have made the switch to 100 percent cage-free production while Unilever, Nestle, Mariott, and Burger King have announced their intended conversion. Even the egg industry’s own economic analysis has found converting to cage-free to be feasible.
Now we must hold egg-producers accountable and ensure their compliance with the new laws. Hopefully companies see the profitability of respecting consumer demands and embracing the humane treatment of animals and confined animal feeding operations will become a thing of the past. Tell the CGA that you too want to see egg production become more humane.
Dear Mr. Fong,
California’s new Grocery Retailers’ regulations concerning cage-free egg production is an important issue to me. Not only because the humane treatment of poultry is ethical, but also because my hope is that California’s large economy will necessitate the spread of these new rules nationwide.
In January, Proposition 2 and AB 1437 will come into effect and Californian grocery retailers will have to specifically buy cage-free eggs. As the President and CEO of the CGA, you have the responsibility of supporting this change through inter-industry communications and association meetings. Local consumers can scrutinize the egg products and report noncomplying retailers and producers, and residents of other states can push for similar legislation, but that is about the extent of our power.
I urge you to enforce the impending regulations and see that grocers statewide understand the ethical importance of these changes.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Thegreenj via Wikimedia Commons