The Humane Farming Association (HFA) and a coalition of animal protection organizations are applauding the Senate's rejection of Senator Dianne Feinstein's controversial "Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012" (S. 3239) to the Farm Bill. Named by critics as the Rotten Egg Bill, Feinstein's measure is modeled on a similar bill (H.R. 3798) that was introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader in the House earlier this year over the vehement objections of animal advocates nationwide.
California's poultry farmers have supported a national standard of poultry cages.
"We applaud this Senate action which puts the rights and best interests of the American public ahead of the cynical political interests of the egg industry," says Bradley Miller, National Director of the Humane Farming Association. "The egg industry is seeking to establish egg factory cages as a national standard that could never be challenged or changed by state law or public vote," continues Miller. "Senator Feinstein's amendments would preempt state laws, such as California's Proposition 2, and is a direct assault upon egg laying hens', voters', and states' rights."
S. 3239 and H.R. 3798 would codify a controversial deal between the United Egg Producers (UEP) — the egg industry trade association recently sued for an alleged price-fixing scheme — and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which is now endorsing the same egg factory cages it had long opposed.
"There is no such thing as an 'enriched' battery cage. This was an outrageous attempt by the egg industry and its cohorts to enrich themselves at the expense of laying hens and the public at large," says Priscilla Feral, President of Friends of Animals.
"Even if this measure had passes, the majority of hens will remain entombed in battery cages on factory farms," says Karen Davis, Ph.D., President of United Poultry Concerns. "They will be locked into a federal law administered by the USDA which does not even enforce the 54-year-old 'Humane Slaughter Act.'"
In addition to the Humane Farming Association, opponents of S. 3239 and H.R. 3798 include Friends of Animals, United Poultry Concerns, Last Chance for Animals, Action for Animals, Northwest Animal Rights Network, Defend Animals Coalition, Political Animals, Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals, Sunnyskies Bird and Animal Sanctuary, SAFE, Humane Farming Action Fund, Animals Unlimited, Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition, Chicken Run Rescue, Associated Humane Societies, and the vast majority of rank-and-file animal advocates.