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Welfare Group Approves Federal Ban on Battery Cages

by 5m Editor
8 July 2011, at 10:14am

US - American Humane Association says it is looking forward to examining a proposal announced for federal legislation by United Egg Producers (UEP) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to move egg-laying hens into enriched colony systems, long endorsed and promoted by American Humane Association.

American Humane Association supports the reversal by the HSUS, which had opposed the system but today allied itself with the largest industry organisation, UEP, to propose national legislation endorsing the enriched colony system. American Humane Association championed recent legislation that made history by banning battery cages in Washington State and Oregon.

American Humane Association President and CEO, Dr Robin Ganzert, said: "Overall, we are pleased with the intentions of the egg-producing industry. We haven't seen their proposal but if they adopt enriched colonies, Americans will have a safe and affordable egg supply that improves the welfare of laying hens. The American public has been demanding better treatment of farm animals, and we support any significant move in that direction."

Experts at American Humane Association do have some questions about details of the deal between HSUS and the UEP, who had long disagreed on animal welfare issues.

HSUS agreed to put on hold the kind of undercover investigations of farms that have produced recent headlines about abuse of animals in the industry. American Humane Association, which pioneered the nation's first auditing system to ensure farm animal welfare and now certifies more than 90 per cent of cage-free eggs, is calling on any new system to include rigorous monitoring and oversight of hen welfare.

The suggested legislation also calls for 124 square inches of space per hen, a slight increase over the science-based standard of 116 square inches endorsed by American Humane Association and used by the European community, considered the most progressive in the world.

Kathi Brock, a director of American Humane Association's Farm Animal programme, said: "Current and widely recognized research has shown that 116 square inches provides space for hens to stand, sit, turn around and extend their wings. We have not seen the science that supports 124 square inches per bird."

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