FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2014
AG JOINS SUIT TO STOP CALIFORNIA FROM IMPOSING
ITS OWN STANDARDS ON ALABAMA EGGS
(MONTGOMERY)— Attorney General Luther Strange yesterday joined a lawsuit to stop California from imposing on Alabama and other states its own standards requiring that eggs may be sold only from chickens that live in roomy, larger-than-normal cages. Alabama is one of the top 15 largest egg producers in the United States, with production totaling 2.139 million eggs in 2012, according to statistics from the U.S Department of Agriculture. Many of these eggs are sold in other states, including California.
“In Alabama, consumers are free to make their own choice of which eggs to buy at their grocery stores, and it is preposterous and quite simply wrong for California to tell Alabama how we must produce eggs,” said Attorney General Strange. “This is not an animal-welfare issue; it is about California’s attempt to protect its economy from its own job-killing laws by extending those laws to everyone else in the country.”
In 2008, voters in California passed a proposition requiring that its own egg producers provide either free ranges or larger cages for hens. After alarms were raised that this would put California’s egg producers at an economic disadvantage with producers in other states, provisions were added to extend this mandate to any eggs imported from other states to be sold in California. The law was expressly touted as a way to provide economic protection to California egg producers in an interstate market.
“The citizens of California made a choice for their own state, and when they realized it would harm their egg producers, they made an unconstitutional decision to spread the damage to other States,” said Attorney General Strange. “If California can get away with this, it won’t be long before the environmentalists in California tell us how we must build cars, grow crops, and raise cattle too.”
Attorney General Strange and the Attorneys General of Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, and the Governor of Iowa are asking the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to declare California’s law invalid and to stop its enforcement. They argue that California’s law is a violation of the Commerce and Supremacy Clauses of the U.S. Constitution and the Federal Egg Products Inspection Act. Currently the law is set to go into effect on January 1, 2015.