Readers React

Happier hens, more expensive eggs

To the editor: Thank you for the article on California's legally required transition to treating egg-producing hens humanely. ("Egg prices likely to rise amid laws mandating cage-free henhouses," Dec. 28)

My only quibble is that the article does not begin with egg farmer Frank Hilliker's comments that making more space for his hens has "made farming fun again." Those who skim only the headline or the first few paragraphs read only about more expensive eggs.

Despite the price increase, eggs remain an inexpensive form of quality protein. Have one fewer egg in your omelet and, voila, you didn't increase your spending. Most of us would benefit from smaller portions of animal products anyway.

One of my New Year's wishes is that we embrace humane treatment of all animals in agriculture and shift to a more plant-based diet. We will all be better off.

Cathy Goldberg, Seal Beach


To the editor: In 2008, California voters required farmers to remove the confining crates and cages used for their livestock. Local farmers have passed on the costs of these reforms to consumers.

The Times reports that the animals as well as the farmers are having more fun and freedom, but what about the rest of us who have to pay higher costs while contending with the diminishing supply of products?

Instead of passing more inane laws to protect livestock, we should alleviate the suffering of Californians, including overtaxed homeowners and consumers, then reform the confining public schools in which California's youths suffer and remove the taxes and regulations that trap our small businesses.

Now that the law has freed up the chickens, those crates and cages should confine any trivial, micromanaging legislation proposed in the future.

Arthur Christopher Schaper, Torrance


To the editor: I have to admit I didn't think too much about the living conditions of egg-laying hens before I chose three hens as my pets. These little animals are as animated as a parrot and are quite sociable and even affectionate. It delights me each day to watch their little chicken games.

My heart aches for those millions of chickens that live their whole lives unable to move so we can get our eggs cheaper than any other developed nation in the world. No sentient being should be treated like a machine.

California's new law still doesn't let a chicken be a chicken, but it's a fine start in the right direction. The states that are suing California are on the wrong side of history.

Joselle Celine Gilvezan, Sherman Oaks

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