What Newspapers Say

During the Prop 2 campaign, California newspaper editorial boards came down on different sides of the measure, but they all interpreted Prop 2 the same way for egg producers. Below are excerpts from leading papers’ editorials and news stories:

  • Sacramento Bee, August 4, 2008: “Proposition 2, which would be a de facto elimination of cages for egg-laying hens in California…” (Original link no longer active.)
  • Sacramento Bee, October 14, 2008: “Exactly three weeks before California voters will decide the fate of initiative for the de facto elimination of cages for egg-laying hens …”
  • Sacramento Bee, November 8, 2008: “The measure makes California the first state to require that its chickens be freed from their cages and allowed to stretch their wings.”
  • Santa Rosa Press Democrat, November 6, 2008: “As voters, Californians on Election Day decided overwhelmingly to phase out the caging of laying hens. As consumers, how willing will they be to pay for cage-free eggs?”
  • Fresno Bee editorial, October 14, 2008: “Proposition 2 is a well-intentioned effort to end a practice — the caging of farm animals — that many regard as inhumane.” (Original link no longer active.)
  • Fresno Bee, October 19, 2008: “Ballot measure would uncage hens, and, opponents say, undo the state’s egg industry.” Same article: “Proposition 2 on the Nov. 4 ballot would require farmers to free their egg-laying chickens from their cages, and would limit restrictions on pregnant sows or calves raised for veal.” (Original link no longer active.)
  • Fresno Bee, November 5, 2008: “Animal-rights advocates Wednesday savored a win over California agriculture after 63 percent of the state’s voters backed Proposition 2, which will free egg-laying hens from their cages.” Same article: “Under the new law, hens must live in a “cage-free” environment, allowing them to exhibit more natural behavior, such as walking around, spreading their wings and laying eggs in nests.” (Original link no longer active.)
  • San Jose Mercury News editorial, October 2, 2008: “But egg ranchers would have until 2015 to convert to the new system, which should give them ample time to adapt to new practices. By that time, American consumers will probably be demanding that all of their eggs come from cage-free hens, which could give California an edge over its competition. Furthermore, a study by the University of California-Riverside puts the likely difference of the price of eggs from caged hens and cage-free hens at one cent.”
  • San Jose Mercury News, October 25, 2008: “The measure doesn’t specify the size of cages, but supporters say they are seeking at least 1.5 square feet per bird…”
  • Capital Press, October 9, 2008: “Passage of the initiative would effectively ban caged laying hens in California.” (Original link no longer active.)
  • McClatchy, October 23, 2008: “California voters will decide next month how they want their eggs – from free-roaming hens, even if they cost more, or from caged hens that might be less prone to disease. Proposition 2 on the Nov. 4 ballot would require farmers to free their egg-laying chickens from their cages…”
  • Tracy Press editorial, October 7, 2008: “But look further and you see that this issue — cages vs. no cages for egg-laying hens — isn’t simply about humane vs. inhumane treatment.” (Original link no longer active.)
  • Bakersfield Californian, November 7, 2008: “The only affordable way to comply with the law will be to eliminate cages altogether and put birds on the floor, Demler [a California egg producer] said…” (Original link no longer active.)
  • Sonoma Index-Tribune, October 20, 2008: “Prop 2 bans chicken cages.” Same article: “While the measure would create a de facto ban on cages, egg producers would not be required to raise free-range chickens. Instead the poultry would be housed in indoor cage-free confinement systems where tens of thousands of birds are kept together within divided areas inside immense barns.”
  • Santa Maria Sun, July 30, 2008: “If passed, all farms would have to be cage-free by 2015.”
  • Eureka Reporter, October 15, 2008: “Prop. 2 would, in effect, require hens to be released from cages to spend their lives in open yards.” (Original link no longer active.)
  • Sonoma News, July 24, 2008: Title of article: “Prop 2 mandates cage-free chickens.” (Original link no longer active.)
  • San Diego Union-Tribune editorial, September 15, 2008: “Food prices would soar? We don’t think so. A study by the University of California Riverside, comparing the price of eggs from cage-free and caged hens, suggested the producer price would increase less than 1 cent per egg.”
  • Oakland Tribune editorial, September 21, 2008: “Animals crowded in cages are more likely to be infected with Salmonella and other diseases than those in cage-free facilities. The more consumers search for ‘cage-free’ eggs, the greater the demand will be for California eggs.”
  • Los Angeles Times editorial, September 25, 2008: “it would likely bolster the market for cheaper out-of-state eggs produced where farmers have no similar bans on cages. According to a University of California Agricultural Issues Center report, cage-free eggs are about 20 percent more expensive to produce and cost about 25 percent more to buy. There is a growing demand, but it is still small — about 5 percent of all eggs nationally are produced by cage-free hens.”
  • San Francisco Chronicle editorial, September 24, 2008: “the most persuasive testimony against the measure came from Steve Mahrt, a Petaluma farmer who specializes in organic, cage-free eggs. Mahrt suggested the rigid language of Proposition 2 would make cage-free operations such as his ’uncompetitive’ with farmers from other states.”
  • Santa Cruz Sentinel editorial, October 2, 2008: “The egg industry and large-scale farm operations say that the price of eggs will go up, but already many consumers in areas such as Santa Cruz County are buying eggs with the label ’cage free.’ Some studies show egg prices would increase less than 1 cent per egg for producers.”
  • USA Today, October 31, 2008: “If the law is approved, hens would likely be kept in barns, where they could move about and produce what are known as cage-free eggs.
  • Des Moines Register, October 26, 2008: “The measure is intended to force farms to stop keeping hens in cages.” (Original link no longer active.)