FOX 66 News at Ten
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP)
— Missouri's attorney general has asked a federal court to strike down a
California law regulating the living conditions of chickens, setting up a
cross-country battle that pits new animal protections against the economic
interests of Midwestern farmers.
The lawsuit by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster takes aim at a California
law set to take effect in 2015 that prohibits eggs from being sold there if
they come from hens raised in cages that don't comply with California's new
size and space requirements.
Koster said Tuesday that the California law infringes on the interstate
commerce protections of the U.S. Constitution by effectively imposing new
requirements on out-of-state farmers.
"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.
Missouri's lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Fresno, Calif.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris declined to comment on the suit
But the Humane Society of the United States, which campaigned for the ballot
initiative, said in a statement that states have the right to pass laws that
protect the health and safety of their residents. Jennifer Fearing, the group's
senior state director for California, said eggs produced from hens in
"battery cages" have a higher risk of salmonella contamination.
"Attorney General Koster's lawsuit targeting California's laws, filed just
to curry favor with big agribusiness, threatens state laws across the country
dealing with agriculture and food safety," she said.
California voters approved a ballot initiative in 2008 that required egg-laying
hens, pigs and calves to be raised with enough space to allow the animals to
lie down, stand up, turn around and fully extend their limbs. The measure gave
farmers until 2015 to comply with the provisions.
After voters approved the initiative, concerns were raised that the measure
would put California egg farmers at a competitive disadvantage with
counterparts in other states.
In 2010, California legislators expanded the law to ban in that state the sale
of eggs from any hens that were not raised in compliance with California's
animal care standards. The California law cites concerns about protecting
people from salmonella and other illnesses.
But the Missouri lawsuit said the real intent was to protect California farmers
from being put at a disadvantage with their counterparts in other states.
U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, a California Democrat who wrote the legislation when
he was in the state Legislature, also declined to comment Tuesday.
Missouri farmers produce about 1.7 billion eggs annually and sell about one-third
of those — about 540 million eggs — in California, according to Koster's
lawsuit. He said that makes Missouri the second-largest egg exporter to
California, behind only Iowa.
Many of Missouri's hens are raised in tight cages that won't meet California's
new standards. Koster said Missouri farmers would have to spend about $120
million to remodel their cages or forgo sales to one of their most important
markets, which could force some Missouri egg producers out of business.
Farm Sanctuary, an animal rescue and protection group based in Watkins Glen,
N.Y., was among the organizations that helped fund the campaign for the
California ballot initiative.
"It's a real embarrassment for the state of Missouri that Mr. Koster would
defend a practice that is horribly abusive of animals with a legal theory that
is tilting at windmills," said Bruce Friedrich, a senior policy director
at Farm Sanctuary.
Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst praised the lawsuit as an important
legal challenge. He said the California law, if upheld, could set a precedent
in which the biggest states can effectively set agricultural policies for all
"A pretty good tradition in this country that's worked pretty well is that
we have free trade among the states, and we would not want to see that
changed," Hurst said.
Source: Associated Press
Thursday, February 6 2014, 10:36 AM EST
National News Headlines
|Manhole cover crashes into SUV's windshield, killing driver|
|A dislodged manhole cover weighing more than 200 pounds went airborne and crashed through an SUV's windshield on a major highway, killing an art teacher as she drove to work during the Friday morning commute, authorities said.|
|Jacksonville man shot by off-duty federal officer dies|
|A man who was shot by an off-duty federal law enforcement officer during an attempted robbery has died from his injuries.|
|The Latest: Suspect in stabbing of woman, 3 kids in custody|
|The Latest on the hotel stabbing that left a 26-year-old woman and her two small children dead.|
|Police: 3 dead in shooting over apparent domestic dispute|
|Authorities said Saturday a man involved in a domestic dispute with his ex-girlfriend fatally shot her two brothers who had arrived at a west Omaha home with a trailer to help her move out, then held the woman hostage during a standoff with police before releasing her and taking his own life.|
|3 killed, scores hospitalized after huge I-78 pileup, police say|
|A pileup involving dozens of vehicles on a Pennsylvania interstate that killed three people and sent scores to hospitals appears to have been related to a passing snow squall, authorities said Saturday.|
|Good Samaritan saves trapped, screaming motorist from burning car, continues on to work|
|It was all in a morning’s commute for a Good Samaritan who pulled a trapped and screaming motorist from a burning car and then continued on to work, Virginia authorities said Saturday.|
|Manhunt continues for suspect in stabbing of woman, 3 kids|
|New York City officials are still hunting for a man suspected of stabbing his girlfriend and all three of her children in a brutal attack at a hotel used as a homeless housing.|
|5.1 and 3.9 magnitude earthquakes recorded in Oklahoma|
|A 5.1 magnitude earthquake shook northwest Oklahoma and was felt in seven other states on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, the third-largest temblor ever recorded in the state where the power and frequency of earthquakes has dramatically increased in recent years.|
|2 people walking across Golden Gate Bridge hit by blow darts|
|Authorities say two pedestrians were hit by blow darts while walking across the Golden Gate Bridge.|
|2 charged in robbery gone wrong where arm was severed|
|Both people involved in a bizarre botched robbery have been arrested after the would-be robber's arm was torn off.|
|Recaptured jail inmate says he never intended to harm anyone|
|The suspected mastermind of a three-man escape from a Southern California jail says he never intended to harm anyone during his eight days on the run.|
|Cuba returns dummy Hellfire missile mistakenly received|
|The U.S. says Cuba has returned a dummy Hellfire missile mistakenly shipped to the island in 2014.|
|Coroner identifies man who died in Georgia interstate chase|
|Authorities have identified the man who died in a police chase on an interstate in central Georgia that left two officers injured.|
|The Latest: Wrong-way driver missed car before hitting SUV|
|The Latest on a wrong-way crash in Ohio that killed five (all times local): 1:15 p.m.|
|5.1 and 3.9 magnitude earthquakes recorded in Oklahoma|
|The U.S. Geological Survey reports a 5.1 magnitude earthquake in northwest Oklahoma that was reportedly felt across Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Nebraska, Texas, Arkansas and Iowa.|
|Transcript: Teen called herself 'monster' in mother's death|
|A 14-year-old girl accused of plotting with her soldier boyfriend to kill her mother called herself "a monster" as she pleaded guilty in exchange for a 35-year-to-life prison sentence.|
|Police in Florida say armed suspect was shot after a chase|
|Police in Florida say an armed suspect fleeing the scene of a shooting was injured after an officer shot him during a chase.|
|Man who shot down drone pleads guilty to criminal mischief|
|A southern New Jersey man who shot down a drone flying above his neighborhood has pleaded guilty to criminal mischief.|
|Dartmouth Winter Carnival theme honors Dr. Seuss|
|Dartmouth College is again honoring one of its most famous graduates with the theme of this year's Winter Carnival: Seuss on the Loose.|
|GOP congressman mulls run for governor in deep blue New York|
|He is a Republican former Army colonel with political positions diverse enough to support gun rights and gay marriage.|