The Utah Attorney General’s office is challenging a California law protecting the welfare of chickens. It all comes down to the price of eggs, and the AG’s chief of staff says they’re getting involved for the sake of Utahns under the poverty line.
In an amicus filing with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Utah urged the court to strike down California’s law which requires larger cages for chickens. Utah Federal Solicitor Parker Douglas says this not only affects California egg producers, but also those in other states that sell their eggs to this major market.
“California regulations will undoubtedly drive up egg prices, and so that was of concern to us,” Douglas says.
Other states involved in this case have argued that the changing standards will negatively affect the egg farmers in their states, but Utah’s legal brief makes a unique argument that those living in poverty will be disproportionately affected by raising the price on a cheap source of protein.
“Farmers could bring a suit on their own,” Douglas says. “Poor people who are below the poverty line can’t, and that’s why we thought it was particularly appropriate for our office to intervene.”
California’s new egg regulations took effect on January 1st. We may never know which came first - the chicken or the egg, but we may all know soon if more space for chickens leads to higher egg prices in the grocery store.