Last year’s stunning compromise between the Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers is sparking controversy among egg farmers and heated debate in Congress.
The Humane Society of the United States has been a thorn in the side of some farmers across the country. Their reliance on court challenges and ballot initiatives have helped change the treatment of livestock in several states. The alliance between the HSUS and the United Egg Producers shocked many farmers and set the stage for major reform of egg farming.
The Egg Products Act, introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives in January, is largely based on the compromise between the HSUS and the UEP. The bill would replace conventional cages with larger colony housing, which would double the available space for breeding hens. In addition, the bill would mandate that farmers provide nesting boxes, perches, and roaming areas for their birds.
The legislation would require industry changes to be made over 15 to 18 years.
Farmers are unhappy about the proposed changes, arguing that the Humane Society has ulterior motives. According to a member of the Indiana Farm Bureau, “The Humane Society is trying to control things and stop chickens from being in cages, period.” Some farmers also argue that the HSUS is not limiting their sights on hens and egg farms, but are attempting to end livestock farming entirely.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer