This proposal deals only with egg-laying hens and has no effect on others in animal agriculture. It amends the Egg Products Inspection Act, a federal statute that already regulates the sale of eggs and does not reach into other agricultural products. This is a matter of self-determination for the egg industry. If this legislation is blocked by other livestock organizations unfamiliar with the science or economics of egg production, some egg farmers in certain states face the very real prospect of going out of business.
The leading scientists familiar with the egg industry embrace the legislation and urge a transition to larger, enriched colony cages. Animal scientist Jeffrey D. Armstrong calls the proposal the “best all around” for hen welfare. The American Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of Avian Pathologists and the Association of Avian Veterinarians all support this legislation as the best way forward for science-based animal welfare standards.
This is the sort of problem-solving the country needs. Congress should enthusiastically approve this legislation for the good of farmers, consumers and hundreds of millions of birds.
Wayne Pacelle is president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. Gene Gregory is president and CEO of United Egg Producers.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.