A federal appeals court in San Francisco Thursday dismissed a challenge by six states to a California law that requires that eggs sold in California to be produced in compliance with the state’s standards for humane housing of hens.
The law was enacted by the California Legislature in 2010 and went into effect in 2015. It was based on a 2008 initiative enacted by the state’s voters.
The initiative required that egg-laying hens in California must be kept in conditions in which they can stand up, stretch their wings and turn around freely.
The 2010 law extended the same standards to eggs that are produced in other states and sold in California.
In 2014, before the law went into effect, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky and Iowa sued California, claiming the law interfered with interstate commerce.
But a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the states didn’t have the standing, or the legal foundation, to sue on behalf of all their citizens.
Instead, the panel said, such a lawsuit should have been filed by private egg farmers, who were the people allegedly affected by the law.
The panel also rejected the states’ claims that the California law discriminated against citizens of the other states.
“The shell egg laws do not distinguish among eggs based on their state of origin,” wrote Circuit Judge Susan Graber.
Rather, the law treats egg farmers in all states, including California, equally, the court said.
The court upheld a decision by a federal judge in Sacramento that dismissed the lawsuit.