Target: US District Judge Kimberly Mueller
Goal: Praise dismissal of lawsuit against California’s cage-free egg law
California’s Proposition 2, which defends the rights of some of the most vulnerable farm animals, has been on the books since 2008. It specifically requires farmers to give pregnant pigs, calves raised for veal, and egg-laying hens ample space to stretch and move around. An expansion of the law in 2010 went further to say that eggs not produced according to these requirements cannot be sold in California. Now that the deadline for compliance (January 2015) is nearing, egg producers and other state governments are fighting back against the legislation, saying it is unconstitutional because it places restrictions on out-of-state producers. Recently, US District Judge Kimberly Mueller threw out a case against the 2010 law, brought by the Attorney General of Missouri (and joined by Iowa, Alabama, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Nebraska).
Judge Mueller dismissed the case on the grounds that California is not hurting the citizens of these states with this law, or even requiring other states to live by its rules. California is simply telling all producers that want to sell eggs in California that they will not be able to unless they adhere to these animal welfare standards. Therefore these states and their citizens are not targets, and Judge Mueller accordingly ruled that these Attorneys General do not have the standing to file the case. She went further to write in her decision, “It is patently clear plaintiffs are bringing this action on behalf of a subset of each state’s egg farmers, not on behalf of each state’s population generally.” Judge Mueller ruled that the states cannot amend or refile the suit, though they can appeal her decision.
The AP reports that the six states who brought the case produce around 20 billion eggs per year, and that California usually buys about 2 billion. But it isn’t California’s problem that these businesses don’t want to make available the product that Californians want to buy. While egg producers could have taken the initiative and used the six years they had to transition to cage-free eggs without placing a huge financial burden on their business, they now have to make some big changes or risk being unable to sell eggs in California.
By signing this petition, you are thanking Judge Mueller for refusing to allow egg industry supporters to sink animal welfare regulations.
Dear Judge Kimberly Mueller,
I continue to be appalled by the actions of the Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster as he persists with his challenges to California’s cage-free egg laws. His arguments barely conceal the fact that, as you mentioned in your recent decision, he clearly does not have his whole state’s citizenry in mind when he brings such challenges. The fact that the upcoming compliance deadline has spawned these challenges from Missouri and other big egg-producers points to a resistance in the agro-industrial complex to change its ways. However, consumers have decided that they want to go cage-free, and isn’t it the responsibility of businesses to provide that option if that’s what Americans want to buy? This is why I am celebrating your recent decision to throw out the case brought by Missouri’s Attorney General, among others.
Thank you for standing up to egg industry interests, and for refusing to allow their bottom lines to take precedence over the rights and welfare of vulnerable farm animals like egg-laying hens. Thank you for acknowledging that this case has no legal standing and is purely an attempt to defend the egg industry against a much-needed change in everyday operations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Moyan Brenn via Flickr