Other states would be wise to consider following an example set in Iowa, where lawmakers are proposing a bill that would require grocery stores that sell eggs and participate in federal food programs to sell conventional eggs.
Iowa House Study Bill 623, proposed by Iowa House Agriculture Chairman Lee Hein, defines conventional eggs as eggs that are not specialty eggs and it further defines specialty eggs as ones that were laid by hens raised in enriched colony housing, cage-free housing or free-range conditions.
The state that is rich in egg production is not only looking out for its own egg industry, but also the consumers.
The Iowa legislation would not require grocery stores to sell eggs, nor would it allow stores that didn’t sell conventional eggs at the beginning of 2018 to revert back to selling conventionally raised eggs. But it would make sure that stores that are currently selling conventional eggs would continue to do so.
The proposed bill, if passed, would be a distinct contrast from laws passed in California and Massachusetts, which essentially outlaw the sale of conventional eggs.
If bill is approved
If the Iowa bill becomes law, it would ensure that egg consumers continue to have a choice. If consumers wish to buy cage-free or free-range eggs, they could still have access to them, but more significantly in this case, they could also buy conventional eggs if they wish to do so. This freedom of choice seems more relevant today, as stores have learned that the demand for the more expensive cage-free and free-range eggs isn’t what it was made out to be, and that consumers still seek the more cost-effective option.
When all of those grocery chains made commitments to transition their entire shell egg supply to cage-free eggs, most of them cited consumer demand as the reason, but I think we can all agree that pressure from animal rights activists played an even bigger role.
Hein stated that this bill would be a good way to let the activists know that Iowa “wouldn’t bow down to pressure” from them.
If Iowa passes the bill, and other states follow suit and pass similar legislation, the victory claimed by activists will be at least partially nullified, and consumers who value choice and affordability will be the true winners.