Animal Protection Organisations Oppose Egg Bill

US - The Humane Farming Association (HFA) and a coalition of animal protection organizations have expressed outrage over Senator Feinstein's introduction of "The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012" (S. 3239).
calendar icon 25 May 2012
clock icon 4 minute read

Referred to by many as the Rotten Egg Bill, Senator Feinstein's measure is modeled on a similar bill (H.R. 3798) that was introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader in the House earlier this year over the vehement objections of animal advocates nationwide.

"The egg industry is seeking to establish egg factory cages as a national standard that could never be challenged or changed by state law or public vote," said Bradley Miller, National Director of the Humane Farming Association. "This bill would preempt state laws, such as California's Proposition 2, and is a direct assault upon egg laying hens, voters, and states' rights."

S. 3239 and H.R. 3798 would codify a controversial agreement between the United Egg Producers (UEP) ­– the egg industry trade association recently sued for an alleged price-fixing scheme – and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which is now endorsing the same egg factory cages it previously opposed.

Animated Short Released

In anticipation of this Senate bill, HFA released an animated short entitled A Cage is A Cage, which exposes the true nature of the Rotten Egg Bill. Told from a laying hen's perspective, the piece highlights the fact that the bill would "trade one cruel metal cage for another, even though most people want hens out of cages."

"The Rotten Egg Bill would be disastrous for laying hens who would be forever locked in cages – as well as for millions of voters whose rights would be traded away for the sake of egg industry politics. A Cage Is A Cage drives home these points in just 90 seconds," said Mr Miller.

UEP Price Fixing: a Motive for Egg Bill

The Humane Farming Association is also expanding its ad campaign to further expose UEP's price-fixing scandal. UEP and several of the egg companies it represents have been sued repeatedly for alleged illegal price fixing, paying $25 million to settle allegations that they illegally manipulated the price and supply of eggs under the guise of instituting standards for animal welfare.

With active lawsuits pending against them from companies such as General Mills and Kraft Foods – UEP and its co-defendants are asking Congress to codify a set of standards that would, in effect, provide legal cover for the very activities of which they stand accused.

"According to the bill's own sponsor, this bill has been introduced to protect the economic interests of the egg industry," said Mr Miller. "The American public overwhelmingly supports the banning of egg factory cages, not measures such as this which subvert the will of the people."

Widespread Opposition From Animal Organizations, Advocates

"There is no such thing as an 'enriched' battery cage. This is an outrageous attempt by the egg industry and its cohorts to enrich themselves at the expense of laying hens and the public at large," said Priscilla Feral, President of Friends of Animals.

"The cages defined by the legislation will in no meaningful way reduce the unimaginable suffering endured by the hens," said Nedim C. Buyukmihci, VMD, Professor Emeritus of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis.

"Even if this measure passes, the majority of hens will remain entombed in battery cages on factory farms," said Karen Davis, PhD, President of United Poultry Concerns. "They will be locked into a federal law administered by the USDA which does not even enforce the 54-year-old 'Humane Slaughter Act.'"

"We urge people to contact their federal representatives to oppose this bill. Rather than outlawing cages, as voters demand, this cynical measure would outlaw the banning of cages," said Mr Miller.

In addition to the Humane Farming Association, opponents of H.R. 3798 include Friends of Animals, United Poultry Concerns, Last Chance for Animals, Action for Animals, Northwest Animal Rights Network, Defend Animals Coalition, Political Animals, Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals, Sunnyskies Bird and Animal Sanctuary, SAFE, Animals Unlimited, Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition, Chicken Run Rescue, Associated Humane Societies, and the vast majority of rank and file animal advocates.

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