Legislation for National Standards
Congress has introduced legislation (S. 820 and H.R. 1731) in 2012 that will amend the Egg Products Inspection Act. Both the United Egg Producers (UEP), which represents egg farmers and companies producing approximately 90 percent of the eggs in the United States, and one of the largest animal welfare groups, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), support this legislation.
Although the two organizations have opposed each other in the past, they now agree that this legislation would be beneficial for consumers, grocers, restaurants, egg-laying hens and egg farmers.
The federal legislation would:
- Provide egg-laying hens with nearly double the amount of space of current conventional cages, and enrichments such as perches, nesting boxes and scratching areas that will allow hens to express natural behaviors.
- Require that conventional cages for egg-laying hens be replaced during an ample phase-in period over many years with the enriched cages, similar to what is being used in Europe.
- Require standards approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association for euthanasia of egg-laying hens.
- Prohibit feed - or water-withdrawal molting, which is a practice already prohibited by the UEP Certified voluntary animal welfare program.
- Prohibit excessive ammonia levels in egg-laying henhouses.
- Require labeling on all egg cartons to inform consumers of the method used to produce the eggs, such as: “eggs from caged hens,” “eggs from hens in enriched cages,” “eggs from cage-free hens” and “eggs from free range hens.”
- Prohibit the transport and sale of eggs and egg products nationwide that don’t meet these requirements.