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The efforts to force farm animals back in the cage after most states going cage free or (free range)

There’s been a slight change that has made a big difference in how consumers will see eggs at the grocery store. The label reads “Cage Free,”.   For you, it might not mean a whole lot, but the little guy who is now in a bigger space sure enjoys it.

 This sticker has become commonplace in grocery stores since 2015, when things started to change. Before 2015, many of the hens laying eggs were suppressed into tiny spaces, and only a small percent of the hens roamed free. Today, the number of Hens in tiny cages is much smaller, as eight states have prohibited the sale of eggs from caged hens. These states are Oregon, Washington, Utah, Michigan, Massachusetts, California, Colorado, and Nevada. 

(Getty Images)

After all of this change across the states, a GOP-led bill in Congress might upend this movement. The EATS Act, for short, means Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression. This was introduced last month by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) with a companion bill in the House from Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA).  The bill would prohibit State and local governments from setting standards for how agriculture products imported from other states are produced.  The bill’s language is quite vague.  For example, it covers the “preharvest,” which isn’t defined. 

If this bill ends up being enacted and surviving court challenges, the EATS Act will open up those cage-free laws to lawsuits. With the cost of potentially erasing all the progress that’s been made on cage-free animals and cage-free eggs, the bill would also likely threaten procedures in states like California and New York City’s prohibitions on the sale of Foie grass, a product made by force-feeding ducks and geese.  

“The scope is really, really broad — it could encompass basically anything raised on a farm,” McGill said. “Crops, livestock, but also potentially cats and dogs, exotic animals. It could also be said to include products that include just small amounts of crops — for example, medicines that include cornstarch as an ingredient.”

The bill also gives anyone affected by a regulation the opportunity to sue to block its enforcement, and makes it easier to win a preliminary injunction by putting the burden on the state or local government — not the litigant — to prove it could likely win at trial, reversing the standard of how preliminary injunctions typically work, McGill said.

The Supreme Court ruled in May to uphold California’s kid tree law proposition 12 in which the court has challenged the pork industry for years. This case was centered around the pork component of the law, which requires female breeding pigs to be given at least 24 square feet of space.

(By Scott McFetridge, this is a photo of a farm run by Jared Schilling, of a mama pig in the more significant 24 square-foot cages after the law was passed in California).

In an interview, Senator Marshall said: 

“Prop 12 allows liberal lawmakers and radical activists in California — who don’t know the first thing about farming or raising animals — to regulate how Iowa farmers do their job, devastating small family farms and making food more expensive.”

“My EATS Act will ensure Iowa farmers can continue to feed the nation and protect interstate commerce,” Hinson added.

Free-range food typically costs more because it takes more money to produce. For example, free-range eggs at the store for a dozen are now about 4 dollars, and not free-range eggs are about a dollar cheaper. It is, in the simplest of terms, essential to know what you are putting in your body and where it is coming from. 

There was a lot of controversy over ractopamine in 2016, the drug that was given to pigs to make them fatter, otherwise known as Paylean. The Chinese and European food safety authorization ended up banning this drug that was given to the pigs because it found that it was not safe to eat. But the drug is still used in the United States, Mexico, and Australia as producers claim that it is safe to eat, but how much can we trust that information knowing that other countries have gone as far as to ban it? According to Biologicaldiversity.org, normal consumption of the drug in meat can cause abnormal heartbeats, aggression, hyperactivity, frequent collapsing, and even sometimes leading to death.

Unfortunately, it would seem that not even food is immune to the fiery modern political landscape.  


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