Animal and consumer activists join egg producers in fight for better treatment of hens

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!

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2 thoughts on “Animal and consumer activists join egg producers in fight for better treatment of hens

  1. This bill represents not a step forward, but a troubling step backward for animal welfare. This outrageous legislation would establish egg factory CAGES as a national standard that could never be challenged or changed by state law or public vote. It would essentially outlaw the banning of cages, which is why it is being pushed by the egg industry itself! The Stop the Rotten Egg Bill (http://www.StopTheRottenEggBill.org) campaign is getting it right. Check it out. This bill would stop cage-free laws dead in their tracks and keep hens locked in cruel metal cages forever.

  2. Thanks so much for your comment. I am the food safety and nutrition fellow here at NCL. While we would ideally support the enactment of a federal statute that would mandate cage-free housing for laying hens, the political reality we are facing makes enactment of such a statue an impossibility. While some states have already taken steps to improve the welfare of laying hens, these protections are by no means universal. NCL supports HR 3798 because it would enact a federal standard which would improve the conditions for millions of laying hens, many of which live in severely cramped conditions at the moment. This improvement is good news for both hens and consumers.

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