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Wed., Jan. 19, 2011, 2:46 p.m.

A chicken & egg initiative

OLYMPIA -- An animal protection organization wants voters to order farms go give chickens more room while they're laying eggs.

Washingtoninans for Humane Farms submitted an initiative proposal this week to the secretary of state's office that would require "egg-laying hens have enough room to turn around and extend their wings and that eggs sold in the state are produced incompliance with this humane standard.'

Hens would have to be kept in cages that allow them to turn around and extend their wings.

The proposal is similar to laws in California and Michigan. Those states also restrict cages for calves which is not part of the proposal that would be on the November ballot if the group can gather enough signatures.

Gene Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary, said supporters decided to concentrate on egg production because there isn't much veal production in Washington. But the initiative includes a restriction that later became law in California, which prohibits the sale of any eggs from another state that aren't produced under similar conditions for the hens.

Initiative supporters haven't decided yet whether they will pay for signature collection, Baur said.

(Note: The original version of this post misspelled Baur's name.)

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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