The Washington state House of Representatives has approved a piece of legislation that will phase out the use of battery cage housing in commercial egg-laying chicken operations, Senate Bill 5487.

The legislation will instead mandate use of an approved American Humane Association housing system, requiring more space and the use of what is known as the enriched colony model. Enriched colony housing allows hens to exhibit natural behaviors such as spreading their wings and turning around, as well as offering elements such as nests, perches and scratching areas."We salute the legislators in Washington state for their proactive work," said Tim Amlaw, vice president of American Humane Certified animal welfare program. "Extensive research shows that the welfare program they have approved for commercial egg-laying chicken operations will most certainly significantly improve animal welfare."


The House vote follows previous approval in the state Senate, where the legislation will now return for concurrence before moving to the desk of Governor Chris Gregoire for final approval.