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‘Cage-Free’ Egg Initiative Heads to California’s November Ballot

This file photo shows eggs in a crate. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

This file photo shows eggs in a crate. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Californians will decide in November whether egg-laying hens in the state must be kept in cage-free environments, officials announced on Friday.

The Secretary of State’s office said a measure that would set new requirements in confining calves, pigs and hens exceeded the number of signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot.

The Humane Society of the United States said it collected more than 660,000 signatures in support of the initiative, which addressed the group’s concern that a 2008 proposition didn’t sufficiently improve conditions for farm animals.

If passed, California’s $1-billion egg industry would be required to raise hens in cage-free environments starting in 2022.

A 2017 study commissioned by the industry for a similar proposal in Massachusetts found that the move to cage-free farming would increase the price of each egg by one or two cents, the Los Angeles Times reported.