HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
relating to farm animals.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The purpose of this Act is to improve the regulation of egg production and sales to protect the health and welfare of consumers, promote food safety, advance animal welfare, and protect against the negative fiscal effects on the State associated with the lack of effective regulation of egg production and sales.
SECTION 2. The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
confinement standards for egg-laying hens
§ -1 Definitions. As used in this chapter:
"Business owner or operator" means any person who owns or controls the operations of a business.
"Cage-free housing system" means an indoor or outdoor controlled environment for egg-laying hens within which hens are free to roam unrestricted; are provided enrichments that allow hens to exhibit natural behaviors, including scratch areas, perches, nest boxes, and dust bathing areas; and within which farm employees can provide care while standing within the hens' usable floor space. "Cage-free housing system" includes:
(1) Multi-tiered aviaries;
(2) Partially-slatted systems;
(3) Single-level all-litter floor systems; and
(4) Any other system that complies with the requirements of this chapter.
"Egg products" means eggs of an egg-laying hen broken from the shells and intended for human food, whether in liquid, solid, dried, or frozen form; whether raw or cooked; and with the yolks and whites in their natural proportions, or with the yolks and whites separated, mixed, or mixed and strained. "Egg products" does not include combination food products, including pancake mixes, cake mixes, cookies, pizzas, cookie dough, ice cream, or similar food products that consist of more than egg products, sugar, salt, water, seasoning, coloring, flavoring, preservatives, stabilizers, and similar food additives.
"Egg-laying hen" means a female domesticated chicken, turkey, duck, goose, or guinea fowl kept for the purpose of commercial egg production.
"Enclosure" means a structure used to confine an egg-laying hen or hens.
"Farm" means the land, building, support facilities, and other equipment that are wholly or partially used for the commercial production of animals or animal products used for food. "Farm" does not include live animal markets or official plants at which mandatory inspection is maintained under the federal Egg Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. section 1031, et seq.).
"Farm owner or operator" means any person who owns or controls the operations of a farm.
"Multi-tiered aviary" means a cage-free housing system in which hens have unfettered access to multiple elevated platforms that provide hens with usable floor space on top of and underneath the platforms.
"Partially-slatted system" means a cage-free housing system in which hens have unfettered access to elevated flat platforms under which manure drops through the flooring to a pit or litter removal belt below the platform.
"Person" means any individual, firm, partnership, joint venture, association, limited liability company, corporation, estate, trust, receiver, or syndicate.
"Sale" or "sells" means a commercial sale by a business that sells any item covered by this chapter but does not include any sale undertaken at an official plant at which mandatory inspection is maintained under the federal Egg Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. section 1031, et seq.).
"Shell egg" means a whole egg of an egg-laying hen in its shell form that is intended for use as human food.
"Single-level all-litter floor system" means a cage-free housing system bedded with litter, in which hens have limited or no access to elevated flat platforms.
"Usable floor space" means the total square footage of floor space provided to each egg-laying hen, as calculated by dividing the total square footage of floor space provided to the egg-laying hens in an enclosure by the number of egg-laying hens in that enclosure. "Usable floor space" includes both ground space and elevated level or nearly level flat platforms upon which hens can roost but does not include perches or ramps.
§ -2 Prohibitions. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, beginning no later than January 1, 2025, it shall be unlawful for:
(1) A farm owner or operator within the State to knowingly confine an egg-laying hen in an enclosure that:
(A) Is not a cage-free housing system; or
(B) Has less than the amount of usable floor space per egg-laying hen required by the 2017 edition of the United Egg Producers' Animal Husbandry Guidelines for U.S. Egg-Laying Flocks: Guidelines for Cage-Free Housing; and
(2) A business owner or operator to knowingly engage in the sale in the State of any shell egg or egg product that the business owner or operator knows or should know was produced by an egg-laying hen that was confined in a manner that conflicts with the standards for enclosures described in paragraph (1).
§ -3 Exceptions. Section -2 shall not apply during:
(1) Medical research;
(2) Examination, testing, or individual treatment or operation for veterinary purposes performed by or under the direct supervision of a veterinarian;
(4) State or county fair exhibitions, 4-H programs, and similar exhibitions;
(5) Slaughter in accordance with any applicable laws, rules, and regulations; or
(6) Temporary periods for animal husbandry purposes for no more than six hours in a twenty—four-hour period and no more than twenty-four hours total in a thirty-day period.
(1) A farm owner or operator who confines a maximum of seventy-five thousand egg-laying hens in a manner other than a cage-free manner on a farm; or
(2) A business owner or operator who sells shell eggs that were produced by a maximum of seventy-five thousand egg-laying hens confined by a farm owner or operator in a manner that conflicts with the standards for enclosures described in section -2(1).
§ -5 Certification. Beginning no later than January 1, 2025, no business owner or operator shall engage in the sale of shell eggs or egg products within the State without a certificate from the department of agriculture certifying that the shell eggs or egg products were produced in compliance with this chapter or are exempt under this chapter. The department of agriculture shall certify that shell eggs and egg products are accompanied by documentation from a government or private third-party inspection and continuous process verification service that the department deems acceptable, which establishes that the shell eggs or egg products were produced in compliance with this chapter.
§ -6 Penalties. (a) Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a fine of no less than $500 and no more than $1,000 per violation.
(b) In addition to the penalties listed in subsection (a), a violation of section -2(2) shall be considered an unfair method of competition and unfair or deceptive trade practice under chapter 481A, upon which any person may bring an action.
§ -7 Defense. It shall be a defense to any action to enforce this chapter that a business owner or operator relied in good faith upon a written certification by the supplier that the shell egg or egg products were not derived from an egg-laying hen that was confined in a manner that conflicts with the standards for enclosures described in section -2(1).
§ -8 Rules. The department of agriculture shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 necessary for the purposes of this chapter; provided that section -2 shall apply to egg-laying hens and shell eggs and egg products sold in the State beginning January 1, 2025, whether or not the department has finalized rules for the purposes of this chapter.
§ -9 Construction. The provisions of this chapter shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other law protecting animal welfare. This chapter shall not be construed to limit any other state laws or rules protecting the welfare of animals or prevent the counties from adopting and enforcing ordinances, laws, and rules that are more restrictive than this chapter."
SECTION 3. If any provision of this Act, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the Act that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.
SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Egg-laying Hens; Confinement Standards; Agriculture; Certification
Beginning no later than 1/1/2025: requires farm owners or operators to confine egg-laying hens in accordance with certain standards, with exceptions; prohibits a business owner or operator from selling shell eggs or egg products that are produced by egg-laying hens that were confined in a manner that violates certain standards, with exceptions; and requires the department of agriculture to certify a business owner or operator who sells shell eggs or egg products within the State.
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