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Attorney General's Chicken Lawsuit Tossed, but Taxpayers Foot the Bill

PHOTO: Eggs produced in cramped cages are banned in California, and a federal judge has upheld the state's right to do so in tossing out a challenge brought by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. Photo credit: Alvimann/morguefile.com.
PHOTO: Eggs produced in cramped cages are banned in California, and a federal judge has upheld the state's right to do so in tossing out a challenge brought by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. Photo credit: Alvimann/morguefile.com.
November 6, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – It's a situation that could leave many Missourians feeling poached.

Attorney General Chris Koster's attempt to overturn a California law requiring all eggs sold in the Golden State to come from chickens treated humanely was tossed out, but not before racking up a more than $80,000 tab.

The 2010 law requires chickens to be kept in coops big enough for them to stand up, lie down and extend their wings.

Fourth-generation farmer and former Missouri Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell is now vice president for outreach and engagement of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS, and he says the lawsuit was a disservice to the people of Missouri.

"The citizens he represents would actually pay less for eggs, not more, further evidence that he is doing this for a very narrow group of industrialized agriculturalists," Maxwell says.

When Koster filed the suit, he said it would not cost more than $10,000. In a statement, his office says it is reviewing options for continuing the legal fight.

Maxwell says as a fellow attorney he is disappointed that Koster would squander taxpayer money under the guise of protecting its citizens, when that's exactly what the California law does.

"States do have the right, should maintain the right, to regulate the health of their citizens and the welfare of their animals," Maxwell insists.

Maxwell adds that Missouri has similar laws on the books that regulate the breeding stocks of farm animals, and even firewood from other states cannot be brought in because of potential harm to the Missouri timber industry.


Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO