Joined at a small farm by his partner and their two children, with a group of hens pecking in the dirt behind him, Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado signed his state’s cage-free egg bill into law in July. The sixth state to enact such a law, Colorado requires all eggs produced and sold in the state to come from cage-free producers by 2025. The law frees chickens from lives spent in cages so small they can’t spread their wings and mandates enrichments—such as perches, nest boxes and dust-bathing areas—that help keep hens physically and psychologically healthy.

More than 86 million egg-laying chickens across the country are now cage-free. “When we started our legislative campaigns, only 3% of the chickens in the egg industry were cage-free,” says Josh Balk, vice president of the Humane Society of the United States' Farm Animal Protection campaign. “Now, we’ve hit the highest percentage yet since cages became the norm with more than 27% being cage-free. We’re on the path to abolish cage confinement of egg-laying chickens forever.”

From our magazine

This story originally appeared in our award-winning magazine for members, All Animals. Get informative and inspiring content like this delivered right to your door.

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All Animals Fall 2020 magazine cover showing Adam Parascandola and dog