In 2008, California voters endorsed Proposition 2 which banned the confinement of animals. California egg producers had to ensure that chickens had enough room to move around which negated so-called “factory farming” and would end up raising the price of eggs by 20%.
Obviously this was a problem for California agriculture which would have trouble competing on price with free agriculture. And there’s only so much of a market for fair-trade free-range organic chickens lovingly raised in a Quaker school by social justice experts on a strict diet of granola and NPR broadcasts.
And so California’s reds decided to instead raise the price of eggs across America. Sounds fair, right?
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster (D) said Tuesday morning he has filed a federal lawsuit against the state of California over the Golden State’s new regulations on enclosures that house egg-laying hens. The regulations, Koster alleges, violate the constitution’s Commerce Clause.
California voters in 2008 passed a ballot initiative that require larger enclosures for egg-laying hens. Farmers in California worried the new rules, which would increase their costs, would put them at a competitive disadvantage with egg farms in other states, so the state legislature passed a measure in 2010 to require out-of-state producers to comply with California rules.
That, Koster says, is unfair to his state’s egg producers.
“If California legislators are permitted to mandate the size of chicken coops on Missouri farms, they may just as easily demand that Missouri soybeans be harvested by hand or that Missouri corn be transported by solar-powered trucks,” Koster said in a statement.
California farmers must begin complying with the cage law beginning in 2015, under the terms of Proposition 2. The legislature requires out-of-state farmers to begin complying with the same rules by the end of that year.
Koster’s office estimated that Missouri egg producers would have to pay $120 million to expand the size of their coops, and that production costs would rise 20 percent.”
That’s the whole point. The left can’t compete on product or price, but it can kneecap everyone else as long as it has control over populous states. Businesses and individuals can flee California, but they can’t escape its regulatory creep.
The country is awash in ballot initiatives and legislative efforts to increase regulation of agriculture. Maine and Connecticut have passed GMO labeling laws, although they won’t go into effect until other states in the Northeast have passed labeling laws as well. Florida has laws outlawing the most common method of pork production. Several states have outlawed small chicken coops, and states have also banned the sale of foie gras and shark fins. Only California has had the chutzpah to impose the preferences of that state’s voters on the rest of the country.
Make no mistake about it, if egg prices increase by 20 percent, people who face tight budgets at the grocery store will suffer.
But the people who make these laws won’t and California voters have become mindless stooges of the left. And if you buy your eggs with EBT cards, you don’t tend to care how much they cost because you aren’t paying for them anyway.