In January, we launched an important ballot initiative in Washington state aimed at outlawing the cruel confinement of egg-laying hens in battery cages and lessening the suffering of the 6 million hens used for egg production throughout the state. Since then, dedicated volunteers have been busy gathering the signatures necessary to put this measure on the statewide ballot in November. But as our initiative gains support, the industry is fighting back with a bill that merely gives the illusion of reform and could keep hens confined in cages indefinitely.
SB 5487 attempts to quell public concern over the cruelty of battery cage confinement by setting forth weak standards masked as animal welfare reforms. In reality, the bill offers minimal improvements that wouldn’t even go into effect until the year 2026! The battery cage is one of the cruelest forms of confinement on factory farms today, giving hens less space than the size of a sheet of paper and causing them to suffer physically and psychologically. They can’t extend their legs or wings, they lose their feathers and suffer abrasions from constantly rubbing against the bars of their cages, and they spend their lives unable to engage in even the most basic natural behaviors. It’s time that egg-laying hens are given more room to move and that’s exactly what our initiative aims to achieve.
Unfortunately, industry-backed SB 5487 recently passed in the Washington House of Representatives. But there’s still time to speak out and make change before the senate votes. Washingtonians, please reach out to your state senators ASAP and ask them not to concur with SB 5487. Please also urge your friends to do the same. And if you haven’t already, visit our website to find out how you can sign up for campaign updates and get involved.
This initiative is one part of our multi-state Anti-Confinement Campaign efforts. If you don’t live in Washington state, you can still help egg-laying hens and other farm animals suffering on factory farms by supporting legislation in places like Massachusetts or Florida, or by working to introduce similar laws in your state.