Indiana has joined a legal challenge against the state of California over egg production regulations. California passed a law in 2015 requiring all eggs sold there to come from hens raised with room to stand up and fully stretch their wings.
Eggs are a multi-billion dollar industry for Hoosiers and Indiana produces the third most eggs in the country. The state exports about one to four percent of its eggs to California each year.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill will fight the California law with Missouri and 10 other states before the U.S. Supreme Court. They claim it costs consumers across the country $350 million a year.
But Kim Ferraro, the senior staff attorney for the Hoosier Environmental Council, says that number doesn’t tell the whole story.
“It doesn’t really capture the externalities on society that go into producing cheap food, or in this case, cheap eggs,” she says.
Ferraro says raising hens in cages can lead to environmental problems, caused by keeping too much manure in one place, and health problems, such as salmonella and antibiotic resistance.
The court hasn’t yet said if it will hear the complaint.