Thursday, July 07, 2011

Egg producers, Humane Society agree on cage standards for hens, call for federal legislation

In a landmark agreement, the United Egg Producers agreed today to "improve the environment of all egg-laying hens through enriched cage systems," and the Humane Society of the United States has dropped its insistence on cage-free egg production, Julie Harker of Brownfield Network reports.

"At a news conference this morning, Bob Krouse, a family farmer in Northern Indiana, said their memorandum of understanding with the HSUS – calling for a national standard through federal legislation – is a natural progression of animal agriculture’s commitment to animal care," Harker writes. "The agreement calls for increasing the size of cages from 67 inches to 124 inches of enriched cage space over the next 15 to 18 years for all egg laying hens in the U.S."

HSUS President Wayne Pacelle said his group will stop lawsuits, end efforts for referendums on the issue in Washington and Oregon and stop undercover videotaping. He said the agreement reflects two facts: “The American public supports animal agriculture and it supports animal welfare.” Krouse said UEP is “committed to working together for the good of the hens,” and “A national standard is far superior than a patchwork of state laws and regulations that would be cumbersome.”

Harker notes that the federal legislation "would supersede state laws that have already been passed – in Arizona, California, Michigan and Ohio – requiring increased space and environmental enrichments for egg laying hens." UEP estimates the changes will cost producers $4 billion. "Krouse says consumers have demonstrated that they are willing to pay more for non-conventionally produced eggs."

UEP "represents farmers who own about 80 percent of the nation’s laying hens," William Neuman of The New York Times reports: "It is far from clear whether such a law could be passed. One potential obstacle is opposition from other poultry or livestock farmers, who may be worried that similar laws could some day apply to them."
The agreement puts the egg producers at odds with the National Pork Producers Council, which "says a one-size-fits-all national standard that preempts state regulations on animal agriculture would be a dangerous precedent for poultry and livestock producers," Harker reports.

1 comment:

John said...

The pork industry defends horrendous cruelty to animals -- factory farmers keep breeding pigs locked in two-foot-wide crates where the pigs can’t even turn around for nearly their entire lives. Eight states have passed laws against this type of animal abuse, yet groups like the National Pork Producers Council still support it.

More info at this link: http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2010/12/smithfield_pigs_121510.html