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California egg farmers ask to join Prop 2 lawsuit

The Association of California Egg Farmers (ACEF), a statewide industry trade association representing over 70 percent of California's egg farmers, filed an Application to Intervene in the Superior Court of California, seeking to become a party in the lawsuit brought by JS West Milling Company against the State of California and the Humane Society of the United States. The lawsuit seeks clarity on what Proposition 2 requires for egg-laying hen housing systems.

The Association of California Egg Farmers ("ACEF"), a statewide industry trade association representing over 70 percent of California's egg farmers, filed an Application to Intervene in the Superior Court of California, seeking to become a party in the lawsuit brought by JS West Milling Company against the State of California and the Humane Society of the United States. The lawsuit seeks clarity on what Proposition 2 requires for egg-laying hen housing systems.

Last December, JS West, one of California's leading egg farmers, filed a lawsuit in California's Superior Court in Fresno seeking a clear understanding on whether its newly constructed housing system meets the requirements of Proposition 2. The lawsuit seeks a determination of the specific types of housing systems because the law does not provide the exact size or dimension for an enclosure.

The law also fails to state the number of hens that can occupy the enclosure, the density, or otherwise specify the furnishings within the enclosure. More specific information on housing standards is needed as soon as possible so California's egg farmers have sufficient time to fund and make the necessary changes to their facilities prior to the law going into effect on January 1, 2015.

"The JS West lawsuit is of great importance to the state's egg farmers who need clear guidance on how much space and what types of housing systems will be legal, and ACEF needs to be a party in that lawsuit," said Debbie Murdock, executive director of ACEF. She added, "Compliance requires the egg farmers to spend a significant amount of money on construction costs long before the law takes effect in 2015. Egg farmers will soon invest hundreds of millions of dollars on their facilities, and in doing so, they should not be forced to guess whether their new facilities will comply with Proposition 2." ACEF does not anticipate any opposition to its request to intervene in the JS West lawsuit.

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