Egg Farm Prosecuted for Violating California’s Landmark Cage-Free Law

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office filed dozens of criminal charges on Tuesday against Hohberg’s Poultry Ranches, a factory egg farm that confines thousands of chickens in barren battery cages. This marks the first time a farm has been charged with violating California’s Proposition 2, the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act.

California voters overwhelmingly passed Prop 2 in 2008, banning the common industry practices of confining hens raised for eggs, mother pigs, and baby calves in cages so small the animals can barely move for virtually their entire lives. The law took effect over two years ago. Yet despite having many years to comply, Hohberg appears to have continued to let its hens suffer in small, overcrowded cages in clear violation of the law.

See what MFA's undercover investigator found at a major California egg producer shortly before voters passed Prop 2.

While executing a search of Hohberg’s facility along with The Humane Society of the U.S. and others, the San Bernardino District Attorney’s Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit found “dead hens decaying in the same cages beside living hens laying eggs for human consumption.” District Attorney Mike Ramos expressed concern not only for the health of Californians, but also for the inhumane housing of hens. Ramos states, “The overcrowded conditions these animals were forced to live in were cruel. It was a horrible existence.” Hohberg’s Poultry Ranches has shown that it values profits over animal welfare, public safety, and California law.

Hohberg is charged with 39 violations of Prop 2 and will be back in court on March 7, 2017, where he could face up to 180 days in county jail for each violation. MFA is pleased to see the law enforced, but we know that this is just one step toward improving the lives of egg-laying hens. The best way to help them is simply to replace eggs with any number of compassionate alternatives. Thankfully, you can take action for animals every day by choosing healthy plant-based meals. Check out ChooseVeg.com to learn how.

Image courtesy of The Humane Society of the United States.