Jump to content

California’s Chicken Law and the Commerce Clause


Recommended Posts

california2019s-chicken-law-and-the-commerce-clauseThe American:

The country is awash in legislative efforts to increase regulation of agriculture, but only California has had the chutzpah to impose the preferences of that state’s voters on the rest of the country.

Blake Hurst

January 16, 2014


In early December, Missouri’s Attorney General Chris Koster told a gathering of farmers that he would soon file suit against the state of California. Recent legislation passed in California limiting out-of-state egg imports has affronted Koster’s conception of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause; he’s headed to court, much to the delight of the Missouri farmers in his audience.


To envision a bunch of farmers sitting around hashing out the Commerce Clause is somewhat mind-boggling. Farmers are forced to be competent in a lot of fields—pun fully intended—but expertise in the most thorny and controversial parts of the Constitution would hardly seem to be a requirement for the folks who tend America’s fields and raise our livestock. On the other hand, farmers know about as much about the Commerce Clause as California legislators do about raising chickens, but that didn’t stop the West Coast solons from weighing in on animal husbandry.


Californian voters approved a ballot measure in 2008 requiring California egg producers to provide additional room in chicken coops for egg-laying hens. The ballot initiative, according to research done by the University of California at Davis, will increase the costs of egg production in the state by 20 percent, putting out-of-state egg producers at a large competitive advantage. In order to protect California farmers, the state legislature passed a law requiring all eggs sold in California to be from chickens with coops big enough to meet the requirements set by the 2008 initiative. Out-of-state egg producers will either be unable to send eggs to California, or they will have to make large capital investments in order to supply part of the 180 million dozen eggs California annually imports from the rest of the country.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • 1695656846
  • Create New...