Animal Welfare Measure Comes into Law in Michigan

by 5m Editor
14 October 2009, at 8:15pm

MICHIGAN, US - The state has passed a bill that will phase out battery cages for laying hens within 10 years. The move has been welcomed by animal welfare groups.

Michigan Governor, Jennifer Granholm, signed a landmark bill on 12 October that will, for the first time, extend modest yet meaningful protections to farm animals, reports The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). A result of extensive negotiations between humane and agricultural groups, the law requires that certain farm animals have enough room to stand up, lie down, turn around and extend their limbs, rather than being confined in tiny cages.

Animal welfare groups – including the Michigan Humane Society, HSUS and Farm Sanctuary – applauded Governor Granholm for signing the bill and lawmakers, agricultural groups, and environmental groups for supporting the measure.

HB 5127 phases out veal crates for calves within three years, and battery cages for laying hens and gestation crates for breeding sows within ten years. The state has more than ten million laying hens, approximately 100,000 breeding pigs, and is ranked by the Cattleman's Beef Board as a top veal-producing state (no official numbers are available).

Michigan becomes the seventh state to ban gestation crates, the fifth to ban veal crates, and the second to ban battery cages. Arizona, California and Florida have passed similar measures through ballot initiatives, and Maine, Colorado and Oregon have passed related laws in their state legislatures.

"All stakeholders realise that we must move in the direction of improved animal welfare standards, and this legislation provides a roadmap to move us in that direction," remarked Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS. "All animals deserve humane treatment, including those raised for food."

"This law represents modest yet important advancements for farm animals in our state," said Michigan Humane Society President Cal Morgan. "I want to extend my gratitude to Reps. Pamela Byrnes and Mike Simpson for their leadership in bringing the parties together to forge a reasonable compromise."

"Giving animals at least enough room to turn around and extend their limbs is something we can all support," Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, said. "We applaud Governor Granholm for signing this important reform."