California Introduces First Bill to Ban Forced Molting

Assemblyman Ted Lempert Introduces Assembly Bill 2141

California Assemblyman Ted Lempert has introduced the first bill in the United States that would make it "Unlawful to intentionally deprive any bird used for egg-laying purposes of water or food or both on a daily basis or otherwise cause an induced or forced molt that results in harm to the bird."

Short Background

Forced molting, which is outlawed in the United Kingdom on welfare grounds, is the standard method used by the US egg industry to manipulate egg production and cut costs by depriving hens of all food for an average of 10 straight days. Many US companies deprive their hens of food for 14 full days. Forced molting is so stressful it increases bone breakage and impairs the hens' immune system, predisposing the birds and their eggs to Salmonella infection. Many hens die during and after the molt, including choking to death when food is returned to them, due to crop impaction. An article in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 1990, Vol 25:97-105, states that during the molt, "most parts of their [the hens'] skin are bare with no feathers."

Molting Closeup

Picture the hens in their wire cages (typically 8 to 9 hens per cage with 48 to 64 square inches of living space per hen). Imagine these hens deprived of all food. Imagine the seconds of each day ticking by. . . .

What Can I Do?
  • California residents: Please urge your Assembly Member immediately to co-sponsor and support AB 2141, the bill to ban forced molting in CA. Assembly Members can be reached by writing to them at the State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814.

  • All people throughout the US and the world: Please contact Assemblyman Ted Lempert and thank him for introducing this groundbreaking bill that, if passed into law, will improve the wellbeing of millions of hens in California and set a precedent for other states to follow. Tell him you support this bill. Mr. Lempert can be reached as follows:

    The Honorable Ted Lempert
    State Capitol, Room 2188
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Fax: 916-319-2121

    Please send written statements of support, for the record and for Mr. Lempert's further use. For updates call Mr. Lempert's office at 916-319-2021. Web Page: Or you may call Teri Barnato, Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights at 530-759-8106. Or you may call Karen Davis, United Poultry Concerns at 757-678-7875 (check our website at United Poultry Concerns and the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights are proud to be organizational sponsors of AB 2141.