A new law says the 15 million egg-laying hens in Michigan’s poultry flocks will have to lay their eggs in cage-free housing systems before 2025. 

An Associated Press report says Michigan Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist signed the legislation last week as Governor Gretchen Whitmer is on a trade trip to Israel. 

The law also prohibits non-cage-free eggs from being sold in Michigan starting in 2025. 

Gilchrist says the measure ensures Michigan standards for animal welfare are among the strongest in the U.S. 

At the same time, he says the law ensures egg producers can thrive. 

Under an older law, each hen was going to have to be confined in a one-square-foot space by April. 

The new law says each hen has to be housed in a cage-free system by the end of 2024. 

Michigan is the fifth state and the largest egg-producing state to adopt a cage-free law. 

The bill is part of a broader update of the state’s animal industry laws. 

Large restaurant and grocery chains like McDonald’s, Walmart, and Kroger have said they’ll only buy eggs from cage-free farms by 2025.