California egg farmers filed against state claiming law is too vague

Judge: Person of 'ordinary intelligence' knows

California egg farmers have filed against the State of California, claiming the law regulating hen enclosures is too vague.

The suit, filed in Fresno County, takes issue with Proposition 2, which was backed by the U.S. Humane Society and passed by California voters four years ago.

That law requires that cages allow hens enough room to stand up, turn around and spread its wings without touching the sides of the cage or each other.

Egg farmers said they want to comply, but that the law isn't clear as to how big the cages should be or how many hens can go in each.

Dale Stern, Senior Partner representing Association of California Egg Farmers, said it will cost egg farmers more than 400 million dollars to make the changes, so they don't want to build enclosures which may be unacceptable.  

He said they've tried several different routes to get clarification.

That includes two previous suits by egg producers.

Both were rejected by the courts, one judge said that Prop. 2 provides a person of ordinary intelligence the opportunity to know what it prohibited. 

Egg farmers have until 2015 to make the changes.  Penalties for not complying will be punishable by fines or prison time.

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