The United Egg Producers and Humane Society of the United States are focusing their efforts this year on Congressional passage of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012. The legislation - introduced Monday by Representatives Kurt Schrader, Jeff Denham, Elton Gallegly and Sam Farr - will require egg producers to double the cage sizes for their laying hens - among other things. It’s part of an agreement between the UEP and HSUS that supposedly will end HSUS attacks on the egg industry.
Gene Gregory - UEP President and CEO - says egg producers shouldn’t have different, costly rules in all 50 states - which he says would happen if the legislation is opposed. Gregory says the legislation is needed for consumers and the survival of egg farmers. The National Pork Producers Council disagrees. NPPC President Doug Wolf says passage of the legislation would set a dangerous precedent for allowing the federal government - and special interest groups - to regulate how producers raise and care for their animals. He says pork producers don’t need or want the federal government and HSUS telling them how to do their jobs.
Treating farm animals humanely is an age-old principle for American farmers - Wolf says - a standard that doesn’t require an act of Congress. NPPC is urging opposition of the new legislation from lawmakers.
National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Bil Donald also critisized the legislation that was introduced.
"America's farm and ranch families are committed to raising healthy animals, which are the foundation of a safe, wholesome food supply. Decades ago, our farmers and ranchers voluntarily took it upon themselves to work with veterinarians, animal health specialists, university researchers and with each other to develop animal care practices and guidelines. That is why the programs have been so successful, certainly not because politicians in Washington, D.C., mandated them," Donald said. "This legislation, while currently only affecting egg producers, could set a dangerous precedent to allow government bureaucrats in Washington to mandate how farmers and ranchers across the nation raise and care for their animals. This ill-conceived legislation could set the model for a one-size-fits-all approach to cattle production. Unfortunately, one-size-fits all doesn't work with cattle producers, who are in diverse settings in all 50 states. This legislation won't improve animal health or care and will result in further costly and burdensome regulations being placed on America's food producers."