Right now, the majority of our nation's 280 million egg-laying hens are suffering in overcrowded battery cages where their movement is so restricted they cannot even spread their wings. In fact, they have less standing room than a sheet of paper!
Excessive ammonia in hen houses causes burned skin, respiratory tract infections and damage to the hens' eye tissues which can result in blindness. And, when used to manipulate molting and egg laying cycles, forced starvation and water withdrawal contribute to the inhumane existence these animals endure every day.
We have a chance to end this cruel abuse and achieve lasting and enforceable reform!
After years of collaboration, The Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers of America put forth to Congress in 2012 solutions that would dramatically improve the treatment of the hens while balancing the economic realities of the egg industry. Unfortunately, the 2012 legislation did not pass, but the good news is it was recently reintroduced in both the Senate and the House.
The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013 (S. 820 and H.R. 1731) will double the minimum amount of space for each bird, require equipment for natural behaviors like nesting and perching, prohibit starving the birds to manipulate their egg-laying cycle, and require on-carton labeling so consumers know how hens are raised.
As we did last year, Colorado Voters for Animals will meet with legislative staffs of our senators and representatives to request support this bill. Sen. Michael Bennet is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, so he is in a position to move this bill forward. We will request not only his active support but his co-sponsorship.
*Photo provided by The Humane Society of the United States