Seriously, California is just about the only place outside of Western Europe where people worry about things like chicken rights. California Proposition 2, aka Standards for Confining Farm Animals, makes a requirement that farmers design their pens for pigs, calves and chickens in such a way the animal can freely sit, stand, or extend its limbs fully.
Now I don't know about you, but out here in the Midwest we don't give a crap if our animals can do any of that. Free range chickens are one of the most annoying animals on the planet. 63.6% of Californians believe chickens need more room to stretch out. My guess is that 63.6% of Californians have never actually seen a live chicken. I would go further and suggest that now that Proposition 2 has passed, each California citizen be required to catch a chicken. Those god-forsaken animals are impossible to catch, are spiteful, and usually prefer to be eaten by foxes than to placidly sit in their coop and lay eggs.
But with all humor aside, this is a terrible idea, and the majority of Californians don't see it. Many speculate, like Megan, that it will drive the cost of eggs up around $0.25 a dozen. What's a mere quarter a dozen, they say? But they do not factor in the bakeries and breakfast buffets and myriad of other businesses across the country with large-scale operations using thousands of eggs a day. Companies like Interstate Bakeries in Kansas City, a producer of Wonderbread products, estimates that on a busy day they use upwards of 2,000 eggs.
Times a quarter, times 365 days...equals a cost increase of $182,500. Now I'm sure the math isn't that simple, but the point is laws like this have a massive concentrating effect, like the way a little DDT killed mosquitoes, which grew into greater concentration in mosquitofish...which grew into greater concentration in salmon, which then destroyed the eggs of salmon-eating eagles.
Maybe you and I the consumer will not feel the pangs of a quarter increase, every other week. But when bread, cake, rolls, and every other product using eggs also increases in price...then we'll notice.
All so that chickens can flap their wings.