Washington, D.C., July 7 – American Humane Association is looking forward to examining a proposal announced today for federal legislation by United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States to move egg-laying hens into the kind of “enriched colony systems” long endorsed and promoted by American Humane Association.
American Humane Association supports the reversal by the Humane Society of the United States, which had opposed the system but today allied itself with the largest industry organization, United Egg Producers, to propose national legislation endorsing the enriched colony system. American Humane Association championed recent legislation that made history by banning battery cages in Washington State and Oregon.
“Overall, we are pleased with the intentions of the egg-producing industry,” said American Humane Association President & CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert. “We haven’t seen their proposal, but if they adopt enriched colonies, Americans will have a safe and affordable egg supply that improves the welfare of laying hens. The American public has been demanding better treatment of farm animals, and we support any significant move in that direction.”
Experts at American Humane Association do have some questions about details of the deal between HSUS and the UEP, who had long disagreed on animal welfare issues.
HSUS agreed to put on hold the kind of undercover investigations of farms that have produced recent headlines about abuse of animals in the industry. American Humane Association, which pioneered the nation’s first auditing system to ensure farm animal welfare and now certifies more than 90 percent of cage-free eggs, is calling on any new system to include rigorous monitoring and oversight of hen welfare.
The suggested legislation also calls for 124 square inches of space per hen, a slight increase over the science-based standard of 116 square inches endorsed by American Humane Association and used by the European community, considered the most progressive in the world.
“Current and widely recognized research has shown that 116 square inches provides space for hens to stand, sit, turn around and extend their wings,” said Kathi Brock, a director of American Humane Association’s Farm Animal program. “We have not seen the science that supports 124 square inches per bird.”
About American Humane Association
Since 1877 the historic American Humane Association has been at the forefront of advances in protecting children, pets and farm animals from abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding human-animal interaction and its role in society. As the nation’s voice for the protection of children and animals, American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.