At the end of January, Congress began considering new legislation (H.R. 3798) to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of egg-laying hens in the United States.
Although GPP has focused to date on meat chickens, this historic move is very worthy of our attention. This is because it would be piece of federal legislation to protect the welfare of chickens. The United States does have Animal Welfare Act, but farm animals are not included in that. And the only piece of federal legislation to protect farm animals, the Humane Slaughter Act, does not include chickens.
This legislation (H.R. 3798) would essentially double the space per laying hen, ban forced starvation molting of hens, and create a labelling program to provide consumers with consistent information on production systems (e.g. “eggs fro caged hens” and ”eggs from cage-free hens” on cartons). The proposal was introduced on Janaury 23rd by a bi-partisan group of four U.S. representatives, introduced the Egg Products INspection Act Amendments of 2012 at the urging of Humane Society for the United States and the United Egg Producers (UEP). This came in the same month that the ban on the barren batter cages, used to keep laying hens in close confinement and barren conditions, has come into force throughout the 27 coutnries of the European Union.
Although we believe no chicken belongs in a cage, this legislation would improve the lives of hundreds of millions of laying hens, who would otherwise be kept in barren, overcrowded cages. We believe this marks the beginning of the end of cruelty to chickens in the United States.
The battle is likely to be long and hard. While the United Egg Producers is onside, there is much resistance from other livestock industries. Afterall this would be the first piece of federal legislation passed for farm animals since the Humane Slaughter Act was passed and perhaps a watershed moment for the welfare of farm animals in the United States. We need everyone who cares about farm animal, and especially chickens, to speak up. We are urging all citizens to contact their U.S. representative and Congress person and urge him or her to cosponsor H.R. 3798.
How to take action:
Find your US representative contact details here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/
1. Find your Senators’ contact details here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm. Phone your U.S. Representative, and also your two U.S Senators
2. Ask to speak to a staffer who is dealing with agriculture and the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, (H.R. 3798).
2. State that you are resident of ______________ (city/state) and that you are urging your representative to co-sponsor the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, (H.R. 3798). State that farm animal welfare is a matter of importance to you and your community and that you support this step towards improving the lives of hens.
5. If you prefer to write an email or a letter, or to write in addition to calling, here is what you can say:
As a constituent and resident of ___________(city/state) concerned about preventing cruelty to animals, I’m writing to urge you to support and co-sponsor H.R. 3798, the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012. Please do everything you can to help pass this critical legislation, which will significantly improve the lives of hundreds of millions of egg-laying hens in our nation. It is strongly endorsed by animal protection organizations like Compassion in World Farming and The Humane Society of the United States, and by the industry’s trade association (the United Egg Producers) that represents 88% of the U.S. egg industry.