House Bill 3-303: Mandate Ten Square Feet per Chicken

Written by: Phillip M. Montero Matthews

House Bill 3-303 aims to allow all chickens to have a minimum of ten square feet in each enclosure.  This is to allow for free movement of the chicken and give it more space to live. The bill later on states the definition for the word space to be, “Space- an open area of land that is unoccupied.” in section 1 sentence 1. It is because of this information, that the bill claims, in section 2 sentence 3, “-it is inhumane to keep a chicken in small confined battery cages.”

The passing of this bill will force the chicken farmers to provide a space that complies with the ten by ten-foot requirement per chicken or pay a fee of up to 150 dollars per animal that doesn’t have the before mentioned space. This figure was determined based on the average cost of a chicken coop of this size that would allow the chicken living in the that space to be comfortable.

The goal of this bill is to help provide more regulations to ensure the humane treatment of chickens that are born and raised for their eggs and later on their meat. An example of what the author believes to be inhuman treatment is brought up in section 2 sentence 1, in which it is stated: “95% of hens that lay eggs are in battery cages with less than one square foot of space each which results in feather loss and bruise.” This line refers to one of the methods used in the mass raising of chickens as farm animals. This goal will be achieved by making any sized area that is smaller than a ten by ten square, used to raise a chicken, illegal, therefore ensuring that all chickens are provided proper living spaces.

There will be no additional funding required for this bill due to the fact that the funding to address this issue will be provided via the punishment for breaking this bill. In addition to this, this bill’s influence will become active upon the signing of the governor. From that point, there will be a period of 30 days that an individual has before they are susceptible to being fined for violating this bill and its guidelines.

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Students walking into the Capital. Photo By: Ashlyn Davis 

In conclusion, this bill primarily aims to create living environments that are more humane and with better conditions for chickens that are raised with the intention of producing eggs and meat as food. This bill will become active upon the signing of the governor, as well as be punishable for a fine of up to 150 dollars. Due to this, there will be no need for additional funding to help enforce this bill. It is because of that this bill passing will affect all chicken farmers who have chicken coops that do not currently meet the new standards that this bill states.

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