By: Darian Macias
House Bill 3-303, an act to insure ten square feet of space per chicken, initiated to give the chicken a more comfortable space for their living conditions. The bill stated that keeping hens in a very limited space such, “small confined battery cages,” and not allowing them to be themselves is, “inhumane.” This bill would eliminate the injustice to hens.
According to the bill, 95% of hens that lay eggs in a battery cage with small amounts of space are more likely to end up in critical conditions such as feather loss and bruises. Not only that, but lack of physical and psychological space for the hens can result in serious disadvantages. As acknowledged by Cambridge University Press, due to the small space provided, chickens are not able to perform movement, causing higher metabolic disorders. Metabolic disorders are genetic conditions which result in metabolism problems causing many internal problems with the hens health conditions. Another issue brought up during the bill is the lack of nesting opportunities which can end up in consequences like acute frustration for many hens every time an egg is being laid. Last but not least, they also affirmed that the absence of hygiene for the hens will be very minimal causing a lot of bacteria to be spread. For this reason, both the authors, Guen Times and Emma Rochenderfer recommended for a hen to have at least ten square feet of space per chicken to allow them to move freely, and not feel captured or suffocated.
The bill passed with a 37-16 vote, and the house enforced that chickens will get the amount of space they need to be healthy. In the long run this can only benefit them by creating better living conditions. The hens will increase the production of eggs, which is used as food for us to consume.
Throughout the analysis of the bill, there was a question asked by a representative which stated,
“Does the speaker agree that expanding a chicken’s area from one square foot to ten square feet will reduce the number of bacteria and illness?” quickly, she answered yes. This not only proved the benefit it impacts us as humans, but chickens as well as they maintain healthy.
In addition, a fee of $150 dollars will be fined per animal if this bill is violated. This will go into effect upon governor signature, at which time the fine for noncompliance will become active. This bill will be accomplished by making it a regulation that any cage smaller than ten square feet will become felonious, guaranteeing that the chickens are given the rights they deserve.
As any bill going through the house, there is always some sort of complication. In this case, Gwen Times, one of the authors of the bill described, “If the space for the chickens increased, the price might increase and the producer might move to another state.” This clearly left everyone that had an understanding of the bill with a negative opinion about this law. Then she went on about, “The writing of the bill was not good either, therefore the committee had to amend it with a total of eight amendments.” Adding on to that, Gwen said, “We as a group would have liked to rewrite the bill to improve the language because you can only amend small amounts at a time.” In spite of that, not all things about a bill going through the house is bad. Just like for Gwen Times and Emma Rochenderfer, their bill passed and they could not be more proud and happy about it. They concluded by saying, “We felt pretty good when finding out our bill passed, but mostly shocked. Mainly because it is our first and last year at Student Youth and Government.”