Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist signed SB 174 into law on Thursday, which mandates that all egg laying hens in Michigan be kept in cage-free systems by 2024. In addition, eggs that are not cage-free cannot legally be sold in the state by the same deadline.
Allison Brink is the executive director of the Michigan Allied Poultry Industries. She says that many egg farmers in Michigan have already started transitioning to cage-free systems.
“Our farms are already over fifty percent complete with the transition to cage free, so we're positioned very well to supply the cage-free market and thrilled that Michigan law now supports Michigan's egg farmers in this effort.”
She says an additional one million hens, or 6% of hens in the state, will be in cage-free systems by 2020.
Kevin Daley is a state senator from Lapeer County. He says egg farmers were already required to increase cage sizes by 2020, but consumer demand for cage-free eggs accelerated the process as grocery stores responded to that demand.
“They put these guys in a position where they were going to have to update their cages and spend millions of dollars to meet the law that was required by March of 2020, and then they would have to turn around and re-fabricate them by 2025 to meet the marketplace requirement.”
Daley says most big egg buyers like these grocery stores and restaurants have set a goal of going totally cage free by 2025, and this new law with the 2024 deadline lines egg farmers up with that deadline.