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California's restrictive egg law invites retaliation by other states

California's restrictive egg law invites retaliation by other states
Egg-laying hens in stacked cages at a Livingston, Calif., egg farm in 2007, before Proposition 2 was passed in 2008. (Florence Low / TNS)

To the editor: The Times Editorial Board’s opposition to Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa) farm bill amendment to revoke California’s ban on the sale of regular eggs shows a misunderstanding of the benefits of free trade.

California law bans the sale of eggs from any farms that don’t meet California’s unique standards. This has a real economic impact on farmers in other states who have to spend millions to change their operations, and also Californians who face fewer choices and higher egg prices. It also sets a dangerous precedent for other states to hit back.

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Imagine other states ganging up to slap restrictions against goods produced in California from being sold in their state. Florida could push restrictions on California oranges to boost its own industry, while the cheese barons of Wisconsin and Vermont could gang up on California dairy.

The Times Editorial Board has criticized Trump’s tariffs policy. A consistent view would apply the same skepticism in the domestic arena as well. A “breathtaking array of unintended consequences” is exactly what California could receive if King’s amendment isn’t in the farm bill.

Will Coggin, Washington

The writer is managing director at the Center for Consumer Freedom.

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To the editor: Egg prices in California have jumped since this state’s radical ban on eggs laid by chickens stored in “battery cages” took effect. Who has suffered? The poor and farmers nationwide who spend untold millions to comply.

For consumers who prefer cage-free, organic or any of a dozen varieties of eggs on grocery shelves, let them pay for it. The market will take care of them without the artificial pressures that you support.

But don’t price the rest of us out of the market because you want human living standards (oh, you say “humane”) applied to farm animals.

Raymond Roth, Oceanside

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