It is often said that Washington can make for strange bedfellows. A great case in point is the recent agreement between The Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers to improve the treatment of the nation’s 280 million egg-laying hens by supporting H.R. 3798. The legislation would modernize the egg industry by phasing in larger, enriched colony cages that would improve hen health by allowing for natural hen behavior such as turning and nesting. What’s the consumer angle? Studies show that stressed hens have higher rates of diseases such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, illnesses that are passed through their eggs and on to consumers.
The bill also has a food labeling component that would require egg produces to include information on whether packaged eggs come from hens that were housed in battery cages, enriched cages, or cage-free. To learn more about the consumer choice and safety implications of improving hen health, read NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg’s guest blog over at the Humane Society’s Animals & Politics Blog!