This week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California signed landmark legislation that protects animal welfare and food safety. The new law requires that shelled (whole) eggs sold in California comply with the food safety and animal welfare standards of Proposition 2. Passed in a 2008 vote in California, Proposition 2 phases out production of eggs from hens housed in cages.

The bill, A.B. 1437, requires that all whole eggs sold in California as of January 1, 2015, come from hens able to stand up, fully extend their limbs, lie down, and spread their wings without touching each other or the sides of their enclosure, thus requiring cage-free conditions for the birds.

This means that every whole egg served in every restaurant across the state will be cage-free by 2015.

“By signing this bill, Governor Schwarzenegger has taken an important step in protecting animal welfare in a way that will also improve food safety for consumers across California,” says Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “Californians have made it clear that they don’t want unsafe eggs from hens crammed into cages, and we applaud the Legislature and governor for heeding this call.”

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