The Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers are calling on the U.S. Senate to pass an amendment to the Farm Bill to improve the treatment of more than 250 million egg-laying hens. They aim to provide a stable and secure future for U.S. egg farmers.
The HSUS and UEP have been locked in a decade-long battle over egg production practices, but with this carefully negotiated legislative initiative, they’ve come together and identified common ground to move forward on hen housing standards. The groups reached an agreement last summer to work together to seek federal legislation and that agreement expires on June 30, 2012.
The legislation will require egg producers to essentially double the space allotted per hen and make other important animal welfare improvements during a tiered phase-in period that allows farmers time to make the investments in better housing, with the assurance that all will face the same requirements by the end of the phase-in period.
If enacted, the proposal would require egg producers to incrementally increase the amount of space hens are given over the next 15 to 18 years. Currently, the majority of hens are each provided 67 square inches of space, with up to 40 million receiving just 48 square inches. The proposed phase-in would culminate with a minimum of 124 square inches of space for white hens and 144 for brown hens nationwide.