JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Missouri's top lawyer says a California law raising standards for how chickens are treated is unconstitutional, and he is taking the Golden State to court.
California voters in 2008 approved Proposition 2, a measure requiring egg producers give their birds room to stand up, turn around and fully extend their wings in their cages. In 2010, state lawmakers added a provision that the regulations apply to out-of-state producers who sell to California.
Chris Koster, Missouri's attorney general, filed a suit in federal court against his California counterpart, Kamala Harris, charging that Prop 2 violates the interstate commerce clause in the Constitution.
In the lawsuit, Koster says complying with California's law would cost Missouri egg producers and the state $120 million, and that consumers would ultimately pay the price.
“We would prefer to spend our time aggressively implementing ways for these animals to be treated better than fighting in court," said Jennifer Fearing, a spokeswoman for the Humane Society, which wrote Prop 2. “But I guess we’ll continue that fight."
As it happens, Missouri produces a relatively small number of eggs, about 2 billion a year, sending only about a third of those to California. It also falls below the top 10 egg-producing states.