Utah Prohibits Confinement of Egg-Laying Hens

Utah Governor Spencer Cox has signed into law Senate Bill 147 which will prohibit the confinement of egg-laying hens in an enclosure that is not a cage-free housing system or that has less usable floor space per hen than as required by the 2017 edition of the United Egg Producers' Animal Husbandry Guidelines for U.S. Egg-Laying Flocks: Guidelines for Cage-Free Housing. To qualify as a cage-free housing system an environment must provide egg-laying hens “enrichments that allow them to exhibit natural behaviors including, at a minimum, scratch areas, perches, nest boxes, and dust bathing areas.” The law will also prohibit the sale or transport of eggs or egg products that a business owner knows or should have known were produced by an egg-laying hen that was confined in a manner prohibited by the law. The prohibitions take effect on January 1, 2025, and the state Department of Agriculture and Food is required to prepare a report to the state legislature on “efforts taken by farm owners and operators to come into compliance” with the pending prohibition by November 2023.