The voters of Massachusetts automatically vote for the most extreme measure, without considering the consequences and so it was with a referendum on chicken cruelty. The referendum requires all eggs sold in Massachusetts to come from chickens with a minimum of 1.5 square feet of floor space.
The measure was passed in 2016 by the voters to take effect on January 1st, 2022. The problem is it adds a lot to the cost to egg farms. It makes more sense for them to sell their eggs elsewhere.
The new law means that the state will see a drop of 90% in the number of eggs for sale in the state. The effects will be far-reaching. Breakfast restaurants will see a drop-off and how many bakeries will close? Bread will have to be imported from out of state, but only if they have the capacity to do so. And if they don’t, Massachusetts’ residents will have to do without.
Of course, there are always plant-based egg substitutes. Yum yum. Egg substitutes are eggs in the same way prohibition near beer was a substitute for a good draft. My father once told me that the man who invented near beer was a poor judge of distance. Wokeness could still come into play.
Farmers who raise the plants used to make the egg substitutes may see their efforts encumbered by political correctness. For example, they may not be allowed to pull the weeds themselves. They could be required to call Plant parenthood to remove them so that the farmer does not have to deal with a man in a back alley with a rusty coat hanger.
According to the Boston Globe, egg industry representatives such as the New England Brown Egg Council are predicting that the new rules will decrease the state’s current egg supply by approximately 90%.
The council’s general manager, Bill Bell, told the Globe that “retailers are in a huge quandary,” adding, “you’re looking at just a huge shortage.”
“It’ll be egg Armageddon if they don’t fix the law,” warned Steve Vendemia, president of Hillendale Farms in Connecticut, which boasts about 2 million chickens that produce eggs sold in Massachusetts supermarkets. Under the new rules, he won’t be able to sell the product.
Brad Mitchell, head of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau, told WCVB-TV that the new rules will make it impossible for egg producers to keep up with the state’s demand since, on average, chickens lay one egg per day and each resident eats one egg per day.
“We’ve got about 300,000 to 400,000 egg-laying chickens in Massachusetts. We’ve got about 7 million people, so do the math,” Mitchell explained.
The new standards, which apply to all egg products, cover eggs imported from other states, as well.