New Egg Bill Cracks Open

While not every egg producer still uses battery cages, this new bill would completely outlaw them. Photo Credit: Humane Society

While not every egg producer still uses battery cages, this new bill would completely outlaw them nation-wide. Photo Credit: Humane Society

Adrianne Gallatin, Global Animal

The Humane Farming Association recently presented a press release announcing their opposition of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendment (H.R. 3798). Global Animal commented on their press release, not in agreement with it, that “ultimately, the bill attempts to save an industry crippled by demand for cage-free eggs.” Global Animal stands behind this statement, but we understand good solutions ultimately come out of compromise.

Global Animal supports any legislation that promotes more humane treatment of animals, as this bill tries to do. Compared to the current battery cage used in many egg farms today, this bill’s standards are much better—and that’s a good thing. 

The American Humane Society commented on H.R. 3798 and how it will repeal laws like California’s Proposition 2, which banned battery cages already. While Proposition 2 was a good step for California, a national standard would be much better. Paul Shapiro, from the HSUS said, “Having a national standard not only gets CA hens a better life than what they’ve got now, but it gets a better life for hundreds of millions of hens in the other 49 states in one fell swoop.” 

If passed, H.R. 3798 hopes to do the following (over a transition period of fifteen years):

  • Ban battery cages, essentially doubling the amount of space each laying hen is presently given in these cages.
  • Require cages to be fixed with environmental enrichments (perches, nesting boxes, and scratching areas).
  • Prohibit forced molting through starvation, which manipulates hens’ laying cycles. (This is still used all over the United States.)
  • Prohibit the sale of eggs and egg products in the U.S. that don’t meet these requirements.
  • Mandate new and clearer carton labeling to differentiate between cage-free and enriched-cage hens. 

All of these things sound good, but don’t expect change to be quick. Nothing good ever happens over night.

Here some groups supporting and against this bill. Where do you think you fall amongst these groups?

Groups Opposed

  • Egg Farmers of America
  • American Farm Bureau Federation
  • National Farmers Union
  • National Turkey Federation
  • National Pork Producers Council
  • National Milk Producers Federation
  • National Cattlemens Beef Association
  • American Sheep Industry Association
  • Humane Farming Association
  • Animal Welfare Institute
  • Associated Humane Societies
  • Canadians for Ethical Treatment of Animals
  • FARM
  • Friends of Animals
  • Humane Farming Association
  • United Poultry Concerns

Groups For

  • Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Farm Sanctuary
  • Mercy For Animals
  • In Defense of Animals
  • The Humane Society of the United States
  • Compassion over Killing
  • The ASPCA
  • The Human League
  • The United Egg Producers
  • World Society for the Protection of Animals
  • Compassion in World Farming
  • Association of California Egg Farmers
  • Colorado Egg Producers Association
  • Florida Poultry Association
  • Michigan Agri-Business Association
  • Michigan Allied Poultry Industry
  • North Carolina Egg Association

After a lot of research, Global Animal supports this bill, too. While this bill isn’t perfect, it is a step in the right direction. If passed, it will be the first piece of federal legislation ever regarding the welfare of chickens. 

Thank you to Compassion Over Killing and the HSUS for help in understanding the bill.

Read more from the Humane Farming Association in their press release:

New Egg Bill Smells Rotten