Human Exceptionalism

CA Animal Rights Activists Raise Egg Prices

I have noticed that egg prices have gone up about $2-3 per dozen in my local store. There’s a reason: Californians passed a measure banning laying hens from being kept in cages. From the Medical Daily story by Samantha Olson:

The price increase could appear in supermarkets as early as next week, so it’ll be as if consumers are paying more for their egg mother’s upgraded living quarters. Animal advocates believe in abolishing confined cramped cages and crates because, not only does it cause suffering to another living being, but it also increases the chance of Salmonella contamination. 

Sorry, I have dealt with these activists. Salmonella was the least of their actual concerns. What mattered to them was the chickens.

Yes, the welfare of chickens certainly matter. But so does the welfare of poor families that can be hit pretty badly when the cost of food staples rise. Alas, that crucial aspect of the proper animal welfare equation often gets lost–and isn’t given a damn about among animal rights activists.

Indeed, as I recall the campaign leading to this law, animal rights activists assured that prices would not go up significantly.  I knew that was baloney since I was already paying at least $2 per extra per dozen for cage free eggs.

Oh well, some believe the extra cost is simply something to swallow. Writeth Olsen:

Consumers are already increasingly buying cage-free or pasture-raised chickens even though they cost two to three times more than a regular carton from the bosoms of cage-confined chickens. Maybe the price increase won’t bother consumers if they remember what their extra couple of quarters are buying them.

That’s why I pay more willingly.

But that blithe assurance will be very cold comfort to the poor single mother raising two kids on very low salary. The extra dollars she will pay for food inflation means she won’t be able to buy her family something else.

Which is why I prefer labeling on this particular issue rather than an across the state legal mandate. But that chicken has flown the coop.

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