LANSING, Mich. (AP) – A divided Michigan Senate has voted to delay a requirement that farm animals confined in small cages and stalls be given more room.
Legislation approved 21-17 Thursday would push back standards that are scheduled to take effect his month for egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs. Farmers would not have to comply until October 2025 for hens and next April for pigs under the bill that will go to the House for consideration next.
The Republican-backed measure is part of an update to the Animal Industry Act that has bipartisan support otherwise.
Starting in October 2025, businesses would be prohibited from selling shelled eggs that are the product of hens confined in enclosures that are not considered to be cage-free housing.
The Human Society defines cage free as birds that are uncaged inside barns but kept indoors all the time. In a cage-free environment, birds must be able to nest, perch and dust-bathe. Suppliers must follow regulations for stocking density, perch numbers and nesting boxes.
In comparison to cage-free, free-range birds must have access to an outdoor area for a minimum of six hours per day. Each hen must have at least 2 square feet (288 square inches) of outdoor space.
Senate Bills 174, 179-183 and 361: http://bit.ly/31O8LkR