State of Illinois
92nd General Assembly

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 1        AN ACT in relation to egg-laying hens.

 2        Be  it  enacted  by  the People of the State of Illinois,
 3    represented in the General Assembly:

 4        Section 1. Short title.  This Act may  be  cited  as  the
 5    Safe Egg Act.

 6        Section 5. Definitions.  As used in this Act:
 7        "Department"    means    the   Illinois   Department   of
 8    Agriculture.
 9        "Forced   molting   procedure"   means   the   deliberate
10    withholding of nutritive food or water from a laying  hen  in
11    order  to  induce  a  loss  and  regrowth of feathers for the
12    purpose of increasing or extending egg production.  The  term
13    does  not include withholding food or water from a laying hen
14    upon the advice of a veterinarian for the purpose of treating
15    disease or otherwise improving the health of the laying hen.
16        "Laying hen" means a female chicken kept for the  purpose
17    of commercial egg production.

18        Section 10. Legislative findings; public policy.
19        (a)  The General Assembly finds that:
20             (1)  The  forced  molting  procedure  used  by  some
21        commercial  egg  producers  is  inherently  inhumane.  It
22        results  in  unnecessary  cruelty  to  laying  hens   and
23        contributes   to   the   production   of  unsanitary  and
24        disease-containing eggs.
25             (2)  Forced molting procedures are used to  increase
26        and  extend egg production.  The most common procedure is
27        to remove all food (and in some cases all water) from the
28        hens for 10  to  14  days;  this  disrupts  their  normal
29        hormone  cycles,  causing  them  to  molt  or  lose their
30        feathers.  Although this process results in an  extension
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 1        of  a  hen's ability to lay eggs, it also produces stress
 2        and  immune  system  compromise,  which   increases   the
 3        likelihood    and   severity   of   bacterial   infection
 4        (especially Salmonella enteritidis) and other disease  in
 5        both  the  hen  and  her eggs.  Force-molted hens are far
 6        more susceptible to infection than unmolted laying  hens.
 7        Forced  molting  in close-confinement battery cages makes
 8        the spread of infection even more severe and  practically
 9        inevitable.
10             (3)  Contaminated  eggs  are  a  leading  source  of
11        Salmonella enteritidis infection in people.  According to
12        Consumers  Union,  the  publisher of Consumer Reports, as
13        many as 4,000,000 human illnesses and up to  1000  deaths
14        occur  each  year  as a result of Salmonella enteritidis.
15        The use of forced molting and close-confinement cages  is
16        a  major  contributor to Salmonella enteritidis infection
17        in both poultry and eggs.  Countries and facilities where
18        the use of forced molting and close-confinement cages has
19        been reduced  have  experienced  dramatic  reductions  in
20        Salmonella levels in both laying hens and eggs.
21             (4)  The  USDA's  Food Safety and Inspection Service
22        has encouraged egg producers to eliminate forced  molting
23        practices because of the risks to public health resulting
24        from Salmonella infection.  Consumers Union has expressed
25        its  opposition  to  forced  molting  for  public  health
26        reasons,  and  many  other  countries  and  organizations
27        throughout  the  world  oppose  the use of forced molting
28        procedures and close-confinement  cages  on  both  public
29        health and humanitarian grounds.
30             (5)  McDonald's,    Burger    King,    and   Wendy's
31        International ban the purchase of eggs from  force-molted
32        hens.   The National Council of Chain Restaurants and the
33        Food Marketing  Institute  are  considering  recommending
34        that  their  members  refrain  from  purchasing eggs from
                            -3-                LRB9211261EGfg
 1        force-molted hens.  Canada and countries of the  European
 2        Union   have   banned  forced  molting.    There  is  now
 3        widespread recognition that forced molting results  in  a
 4        significant  health  risk  to  humans  as well as grossly
 5        inhumane treatment of hens.
 6        (b)  The General Assembly declares that it is the  public
 7    policy of this State to encourage the production of eggs in a
 8    manner  that  provides  appropriate  and  humane treatment of
 9    laying hens and results in the  production  of  sanitary  and
10    disease-free eggs.

11        Section 15.  Forced molting procedures prohibited.
12        (a)  Beginning  January  1,  2003,  a  person  engaged in
13    commercial egg production in this State shall not  subject  a
14    laying hen to any forced molting procedure.
15        (b)  Knowing  violation  of  this  Section  is  a Class A
16    misdemeanor.
17        (c)  In addition to  criminal  penalties,  a  person  who
18    violates  this  Section  may  be  subject  to  administrative
19    penalties  imposed  by  the  Department,  which may include a
20    civil penalty of up to $1 for each laying hen subjected to  a
21    forced molting procedure.

22        Section  20.   Powers  of the Department.  The Department
23    has   all   powers   necessary   or   appropriate   for   the
24    administration and enforcement of this Act, including without
25    limitation the power:
26             (1)  to adopt rules (including emergency rules)  for
27        the administration and enforcement of this Act,
28             (2)  to   investigate   any   alleged  or  suspected
29        violation of this Act,
30             (3)  to  enter  and  inspect  any   commercial   egg
31        production facility in this State,
32             (4)  to use certified volunteer humane investigators
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 1        similar  to  those  used  to  enforce the Humane Care for
 2        Animals Act,
 3             (5)  to impose civil penalties after  giving  notice
 4        and an opportunity for a hearing, and
 5             (6)  pursuant  to  a  valid  court  order, to seize,
 6        remove, or destroy any equipment  used  in  violation  of
 7        this Act.

 8        Section 25.  Complaint; investigation; action.
 9        (a)  Any  person  may complain to the Department about an
10    apparent or threatened  violation  of  this  Act  or  a  rule
11    adopted under this Act.  The Department shall investigate the
12    complaint and shall report the result of its investigation to
13    the complainant.
14        (b)  If  it  determines that a violation of this Act or a
15    rule adopted under this Act is threatened  or  has  occurred,
16    the Department shall take appropriate administrative or other
17    action to correct, restrain, or prevent the violation.
18        (c)  The  Department shall notify the appropriate State's
19    Attorney  whenever  it  determines   or   suspects   that   a
20    significant violation of Section 15 has occurred.

21        Section 30.  Enforcement; injunction; nuisance.
22        (a)  The  Department  may  bring an action in the circuit
23    court  of  any  county  in  which  an  actual  or  threatened
24    violation of this Act or of a rule  adopted  under  this  Act
25    occurs, for the purpose of:
26             (1)  seeking  an order restraining any continuing or
27        threatened violation of this Act or  of  a  rule  adopted
28        under this Act,
29             (2)  seeking   an   order  condemning  as  a  public
30        nuisance  and  directing   the   seizure,   removal,   or
31        destruction  of  any  equipment used in violation of this
32        Act or of a rule adopted under this Act, or
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 1             (3)  collecting any civil penalties lawfully imposed
 2        under this Act.
 3        (b)  Any other person may bring an action in the  circuit
 4    court  of  any  county  in  which  an  apparent or threatened
 5    violation of this Act  or  a  rule  adopted  under  this  Act
 6    occurs,  for the purpose of seeking an order restraining that
 7    violation.  In an action brought under this  subsection,  the
 8    court  may  award reasonable attorney's fees and costs to the
 9    prevailing party.

10        Section 99. Effective date.  This Act takes  effect  upon
11    becoming law.

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