NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A3630
SPONSOR: Rosenthal L
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to provid-
ing for cage-free egg production
This bill will require all eggs sold in New York State to come from
cage-free and free-range environments.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section one contains the legislative findings.
Section two amends the agriculture and markets law by adding a new
section 160-f. Section three establishes the effective date.
Most egg-laying hens in the United States are confined in battery-cage
systems, wire cages where as many as five to ten hens are housed their
entire lives to produce eggs. Inside these cramped cages, each hen is
only afforded an average of 60-75 square inches of space, smaller than
the size of a standard piece of paper. The space is so small that it
restricts the hens from being able to move about or spread their wings,
causing severe deterioration of their muscles and bones. The overcrowd-
ing of these cages also causes the birds to lose their feathers and
prevents them from performing some of their natural behaviors, such as
nesting, perching and dust bathing.
In recent years, consumers have increasingly called for more humane
conditions for animals used in agriculture. Several countries around the
world have banned the use of battery cages, gestation crates and veal
crates, yet the animal agriculture industry in the United States has
been slower to respond. In fact, 95% of eggs sold in the United States
continue to come from battery-caged hens. This legislation will force a
more humane industry in New York State by requiring all eggs sold in the
state be produced in cage-free and free-range systems.
A.11041- Referred to Agriculture
This act shall take effect twenty-four months after it shall have become
STATE OF NEW YORK
2021-2022 Regular Sessions
January 28, 2021
Introduced by M. of A. L. ROSENTHAL -- read once and referred to the
Committee on Agriculture
AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to provid-
ing for cage-free egg production
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Legislative findings and intent. The legislature hereby
2 finds the following:
3 a. According to the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal
4 Production, food animals that are treated well and provided with at
5 least minimum accommodation of their natural behaviors and physical
6 needs are healthier and safer for human consumption.
7 b. A key finding from the World Health Organization and Food and Agri-
8 cultural Organization of the United Nations Salmonella Risk Assessment
9 was that reducing flock prevalence results in a directly proportional
10 reduction in human health risk.
11 c. Egg-laying hens subjected to stress are more likely to have higher
12 levels of pathogens in their intestines and the conditions increase the
13 likelihood that consumers will be exposed to higher levels of food-borne
15 d. Salmonella is the most commonly diagnosed food-borne illness in the
16 United States.
17 e. It is the intent of the legislature to protect consumers from the
18 deleterious, health, safety, and welfare effects of the sale and
19 consumption of eggs derived from egg-laying hens that are exposed to
20 significant stress and may result in increased exposure to disease
21 pathogens including salmonella.
22 § 2. The agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new
23 section 160-f to read as follows:
24 § 160-f. Cage-free egg production. 1. Notwithstanding any other
25 provision of law:
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 3630 2
1 a. A farm owner or operator shall not confine or cause to be confined
2 an egg-laying hen in an enclosure other than a cage-free housing system.
3 b. No person shall sell or contract to sell a shell egg or liquid egg
4 for human consumption if the seller knows or should have known that the
5 shell egg or liquid egg is the product of an egg-laying hen that was
6 confined in a manner that is inconsistent with the requirements of this
7 section, regardless of whether the shell egg or liquid egg was produced
8 in or out of the state.
9 2. This section shall not apply to any of the following:
10 a. Medical research;
11 b. Examination, testing, individual treatment, or operation for veter-
12 inary purposes by a licensed veterinarian;
13 c. Transportation of an egg-laying hen;
14 d. State or county fair exhibitions and similar exhibitions;
15 e. 4-H programs administered by the National Institute of Food and
16 Agriculture of the United States department of agriculture and similar
17 youth programs;
18 f. Slaughter of an egg-laying hen in accordance with applicable laws
19 and regulations; or
20 g. Temporary periods for animal husbandry purposes of no more than six
21 hours in any twenty-four-hour period, and no more than twenty-four hours
22 in any thirty-day period.
23 3. For purposes of this section:
24 a. "Cage-free housing system" means an indoor or outdoor controlled
25 environment for an egg-laying hen within which:
26 (i) An egg-laying hen is free to roam unrestricted except by exterior
28 (ii) An egg-laying hen is provided with, at a minimum, the amount of
29 usable floor space per hen required by the two thousand seventeen
30 edition of the united egg producers' animal husbandry guidelines for
31 United States egg-laying flocks: guidelines for cage-free production, or
32 a subsequent version of such guidelines recognized by the department in
33 a rule or regulation which provides equal or more usable floor space per
34 egg-laying hen.
35 (iii) An egg-laying hen is provided enrichments that allow a hen to
36 exhibit natural behaviors, including, at a minimum, a scratch area, a
37 perch, a nest box, and a dust bathing area;
38 (iv) A farm employee can provide care while standing somewhere within
39 a hen's usable floor space; and
40 (v) Each egg-laying hen is provided unlimited access to the outdoors
41 in a safe and secure environment that prevents access to predators.
42 b. "Commercial farm" means the land, building, and support facilities
43 that are used for the commercial production of eggs intended for human
45 c. "Egg-laying hen" means a female domesticated chicken, turkey, duck,
46 goose, or guinea fowl kept for the purpose of egg production.
47 d. "Farm owner or operator" means any person who owns or controls the
48 operation of a commercial farm.
49 e. "Liquid egg" means an egg of an egg-laying hen broken from the
50 shells that is intended for human consumption, with the yolks and whites
51 in their natural proportions, or with the yolks and whites separated,
52 mixed, or mixed and strained. Liquid eggs do not include combination
53 food products, including pancake mixes, cake mixes, cookies, pizzas,
54 cookie dough, ice cream, or similar processed or prepared food products
55 that are comprised of more than liquid eggs, sugar, salt, water, season-
A. 3630 3
1 ing, coloring, flavoring, preservatives, stabilizers, and similar food
3 f. "Shell-egg" means a whole egg of an egg-laying hen in its shell
4 form that is intended for human consumption.
5 g. "Usable floor space" means the total square footage of floor space
6 provided to each egg-laying hen, calculated by dividing the total square
7 footage of floor space in an enclosure by the number of hens in that
8 enclosure and shall include ground space and elevated level or nearly
9 level platforms to accommodate egg flow upon which a hen can roost but
10 shall not include any perch or ramp.
11 4. The department shall inspect at reasonable times commercial farms
12 engaged in the production of eggs for the purpose of enforcing the
13 provisions of this section.
14 5. The department shall promulgate such rules and regulations as are
15 necessary and appropriate to carry out the provisions of this section.
16 6. A violation of this section shall be punishable by a civil penalty
17 of up to five thousand dollars for the first violation and up to twen-
18 ty-five thousand dollars for any subsequent violation. Any civil penal-
19 ties collected pursuant to this section shall be paid to the animal
20 population control fund established by section ninety-seven-xx of the
21 state finance law.
22 7. The commissioner may institute such action at law or in equity as
23 may appear necessary to enforce compliance with any provisions of this
24 section or of the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, and, in
25 addition to any other remedy under article three of this chapter or
26 otherwise, may apply for relief by injunction without being compelled to
27 allege or prove that an adequate remedy at law does not exist. Such
28 application may be made to the supreme court in any district or county
29 as provided in the civil practice law and rules, or to the supreme court
30 in the third judicial district.
31 8. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect any
32 protections afforded to animals under any other provisions of law or
33 rules or regulations.
34 9. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent any town,
35 city, village or county in New York state from enacting a local law or
36 ordinance to provide for the humane treatment of and prevention of
37 cruelty to animals, provided, however, that no such law shall conflict
38 with the provisions of this section.
39 § 3. The article title of article 13-a of the agriculture and markets
40 law, as added by chapter 409 of the laws of 1927, is amended to read as
42 SALE OF EGGS
43 § 4. This act shall take effect twenty-four months after it shall have
44 become a law. Effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or
45 repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of
46 this act on its effective date are authorized to be made and completed
47 on or before such effective date.