How California Voters Raised the Price of Eggs Across America

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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.

  • DogmaelJones1

    Ah! So this is the tale of the chicken that refused to cross the road without wearing a cyclist’s crash helmet and knee pads, and demanded that someone give him a reason to cross the road anyway, other than to get to the other side! Crossing the road must have a community interest. Ah! California! Go east, young man! Go east!

  • Johnny

    Sounds like a restraint of trade issue to me. Are they going to set up border guards? Send inspectors to other states to assure compliance?

    • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

      There are regulations and rules about food sold in most states, and implementation hasn’t been a problem.

      Or, are you against the state having the right to set its own regulations?

      As for restraint of trade, assuming you meant dormant Commerce Clause. Well, since the law applies equally to in-state as well as out-of state producers, not sure how that applies.

  • http://naturalsolutionsformaximumhealth.blogspot.com/ Janet

    Front Page, I stand with you on all the important issues, but you’ve really gotten this one wrong. And you punctuated it with this ridiculous statement, “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.” Anyone with an EBT card only has a few dollars on it, and will be counting the cost more than someone who doesn’t need to have an EBT card.

    • CaoMoo

      yeah I get 180 for the month for food on EBT and about 1000 for disabillity I can assure you I do not waste any of it, there isnt anything to waste. Plus I hate spending other peoples money and tend to treat it better than my own. But there are alot of people who waste their stamps and who treat the free stuff without appreciation so the point is not entirely invalid.

      • DB1954

        In regard to your concern for the taxpayers’ money and not wasting it, do you suppose that you are typical of those who use EBT cards?

        • CaoMoo

          Hmmm not sure. I understand the value of money and the money of others. I worked hard when I did work up until and even after m,y health failed. I tried to do different jobs and did disability as a very last resort and had to fight for that too. I ate all my savings over 15 surgeries in that time trying to fix myself and borrowed from relatives only getting the bare necessities so as not to take advantage of them. I felt bad taking anything and am paying them back slowly. So I would say probably much more careful with my money than most. I feel horrible and useless being on disability and relying on it for income in the first place. It hurts me.

          Now to someone who veiws food stamps as an entitlement they are owed, something that is theirs by right… they will no doubt lack appreciation for it and abuse it. Especially if they are on generational welfare and haven’t really worked for a living.

          • watcherofolde

            That was an honest and sincere statement. You are most definitely not useless and you obviously do not want to take advantage of anyone.. Whatever happened to you to require all those surgeries is something that you couldn’t control. I hope you have some good friends that can help you through
            encouragement and companionship.Good luck.

      • http://naturalsolutionsformaximumhealth.blogspot.com/ Janet

        Wow. That’s a lot more than I get being disabled also. I don’t think people understand what’s going on, so don’t take it personally.

        • CaoMoo

          I rarely if ever take anything personally. I have pretty thick skin. I wish more people did now a days. It would make life a lot less stressful and cranky :)

    • MarilynA

      Just about everyone I know who has received food stamps and EBT cards are obese. Michelle Obama’s anti obesity campaign will never work until the government stops giving away so much food. to people who don’t work or do anything else to work off the calories. What’s wrong with giving the poor and hungry commodities instead of vouchers or other script so they can load up on empty calories?

      • http://naturalsolutionsformaximumhealth.blogspot.com/ Janet

        Obesity is not from eating a lot of food. It is from the kind of food you eat. Also, the food the gov’t. gives away is mostly starch and that is empty calories. If you haven’t been poor, you really have no idea what it’s like.

        • MarilynA

          I could write a book about being poor. I grew up in Appalachia during the great Depression, and nobody I knew was fat at that time. By giving people money, chits and script so they can buy whatever they want, you are subsidizing unhealthy lifestyles and encouraging the recipients to indulge in gorging themselves on junk foods and soda pop . People who have enough sense not to eat unhealthy and fattening foods are usually smart enough to know they need to earn their living. Those who sit on their rears with their hands out can’t be the brightest bulbs in the pack. The answer to the obesity problem in this country is to give the poor dried beans, rice, powdered milk, and other healthy foods that they have to spend some effort on preparing them to make the edible. As it is, our government is just slopping the hogs the most expensive way that they can.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      That’s logical, but it’s not how I’ve seen EBT shoppers actually behave. They shop around less and pick up products w/o looking at prices.

      • http://naturalsolutionsformaximumhealth.blogspot.com/ Janet

        Usually I already know the prices of what I’m going to buy, since I have to figure out how much I can spend before I go. And you usually get the same thing all the time ,because it’s the cheapest.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          Again, not what I’ve seen, but I may be generalizing from the largely urban minority EBT users in New York.

  • EmmaDora

    I’m with the chickens on this one; also the pigs, cows…

  • CaoMoo

    california land of the insane

  • notme123

    I agree that the animals should be treated better, but why should California be allowed to tell another state what to do.

    • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

      They aren’t, the state made a decision about products sold within the state.

      Or do you deny states the ability to set rules for products within the state?

      • DB1954

        Well the Fedzis always have. Remember the “Sick Chicken” case? aka, Schechter Poultry?

      • objectivefactsmatter

        “Or do you deny states the ability to set rules for products within the state?”

        Ability? Sure. Do they have unlimited authority? No.

  • A Z

    I would prefer free range livestock. My old man who grew up before the inception of feedlots said he could taste the difference in beef raised on pasture instead of a feedlot. He preferred the former. If it is true I would prefer the former.

    I also believe that free range livestock need less drugs to prevent disease. Also free range might have better nutritional value.

    Free range livestock is a luxury item. It will remain a luxury item unless the LEFT & certain businesses insist in turning us into the next China or India population-wise. Free range takes space. After a while, if you keep adding people, you run out of space. We add over a million a year.

  • wileyvet

    Well you can’t make an omelette without raising the price of eggs. However this will be offset by the price reduction in produce when all the illegal migrant farm workers get amnesty. Not to mention that the ACA saves a family $2500 per year so you can spend it on higher priced eggs. And if too many Americans find they cannot afford the higher priced eggs, President Humpty Dumpty will provide an egg subsidy, or will redistribute eggs from the rich. After all how many eggs can a rich man use?

    • DB1954

      How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck would chuck wood? Welcome to Zero’s Circus World where the government is only here to help you.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      If we get the regulations just right, we can make everything free.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

    They didn’t raise the price of eggs: they raised the quality of our eggs, and the quality of the lives of egg laying hens.

    And we remind Missouri et al egg producers: no one is forcing you to sell eggs in California. Don’t like the rules; don’t sell them eggs.

    • A Z

      This is just the first iteration. That is how the Left works. The price of eggs will rise with quality and it will rise if there is no increase in quality.

      If the quality is better you should be able to measure some chemical in the eggs.

      The next step is decry the rising cost of food and therefore demand an increase in the minimum wage and in SNAP benefits.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        While blaming their political opponents for every disaster they’ve caused to date.

    • DB1954

      James Carville, aka, “Gumbo Man”: “Mah gumbo is mo bettah than yo gumbo and yo gumbo is mo worser dan he gumbo, but mah gumbo is mo bettah than he gumbo, and …

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Anyone who wants to pay more to improve the quality of chicken lives is free to do so individually, unfortunately this forces the whole country to pay to improve the quality of chicken lives.

  • DB1954

    Would Mr. Nathan Brix please specify what “lies” FPM has told? State your case with specifics or shut up, no, STHU.

  • DB1954

    James Carville, aka, “Gumbo Man”: “Mah gumbo is mo bettah than yo gumbo and yo gumbo is mo worser dan he gumbo, but mah gumbo is mo bettah than he gumbo …

  • pete

    As a Citizen-American, I’d much prefer to free range all over America WITHOUT ANY no-go zones or Federally Protected Areas (aka National Parks) for illegal alien invaders.

    obtw: AG Koster couldn’t hack being a “moderate” repub – especially when McHassle was being such an Demo broom rider.

    “California voters have become mindless stooges of the left.”

    No. the messicans got their country back.

  • watcherofolde

    Many towns- even urban settings allow you to keep a certain number of hens. Our town allows five in city limits. It’s fun and you can feed them a lot of scraps as well as chicken feed. Your backyard hens will have the best eggs with bright orange yolks.Go to the Chicken Whisperer’s FB page and search Amazon for ”coops.” Many you tube videos out there to help you through the stages of chicken raising.Should you change your mind about raising them, any organic farm near you would love to take your girls.

  • Okeydoker

    Really greenfeld? DId CA really mandate that missouri follow their egg regulaions? Or did CA just prohibit sale within CA of eggs produced that werent in compliance?

    My expierence is when one misstates the facts its because it is dishonest propagandizing. So am i correct here, huh greenfeld?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      It amounts to the same thing and it will mean price hikes across the country.

      • Okeydoker

        I agree. So why did you feel you could not accurately state the facts? Ps, i voted against the egg rules.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          The article stated those facts

  • Tim N

    “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.”
    Argument by sarcasm and hyperbole.
    I think most voters just wanted humane treatment of chickens and other farm animals.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Then they should stop eating them.

      • Tim N

        More hyperbole. I was raised in a rural area around farming and hunting and fishing. I eat meat, fish and dairy products. I also think when we use animals for food they should be treated humanely and killed as painlessly as possible. I don’t see a problem with that and I don’t feel like apologizing for it. Please try to respond with reasonable arguments for your points instead of just jibes.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          “More hyperbole. I was raised in a rural area around farming and hunting and fishing. I eat meat, fish and dairy products. I also think when we use animals for food they should be treated humanely and killed as painlessly as possible.”

          Great. Why should your feelings be the basis for government regulations? What if I feel differently?

          • Tim N

            We do have laws against cruelty and abuse of animals. I think they’re legitimate.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            You didn’t answer my question. We might agree in principal but why were the existing laws not good enough? What is your feeling or your rationale for determining that yet more laws and regulations are needed?

        • Daniel Greenfield

          It’s a reasonable argument.

          In a free market, people have the option to buy food that meets their standards. Cage free chickens are fully available to anyone who wants them.

          I just have a problem with people losing the option to buy affordable chicken because of someone else’s feelings about animal rights.

  • EmmaDora

    Raising the price of eggs by, at most, the cost of a candy bar won’t make anyone suffer.
    Let’s discuss halal slaugher — I make it a point these days to always inquire about airline meals, and to refuse to eat tortured animals. I haven’t run across it yet in the US.