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Senator Introduces Bill Taking Aim at Factory Farming of Layers

by 5m Editor
27 January 2006, at 12:00am

US - Yesterday, Delaware Senator Karen Peterson introduced a bill that would provide the most basic humane protection for the state's egg-laying hens: enough room merely to spread their wings.

Sen. Karen Peterson Introduces Bill Taking Aim at Factory Farming of Egg-Laying Hens - US - Yesterday, Delaware Senator Karen Peterson introduced a bill that would provide the most basic humane protection for the state's egg-laying hens: enough room merely to spread their wings.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) praised the proposed bill, asserting that egg producers who intensively confine their birds in restrictive battery cages should meet this bare minimum animal welfare standard.

According to Sen. Peterson, "The vast majority of Delaware's chicken farmers don't confine their birds in cages so overcrowded that they can barely move. However, some of our state's egg-laying hens do suffer this cruel and inhumane fate, and this must come to an end."

Egg-laying hens who are confined in battery cages are generally afforded so little space that they are unable even to spread their wings, let alone engage in other important natural behaviors such as nesting, foraging, perching, and dust bathing. Each caged chicken has less floor space than a single letter-sized sheet of paper on which to live for more than a year, leading to extremely high levels of stress and frustration.

"Confining birds so intensively that they can't even fully extend their wings for months on end is inherently cruel," asserts Paul Shapiro, The HSUS's factory farming campaign manager. "We commend Senator Peterson for working to ensure that the Agriculture Code reflects the values of Delaware's citizens and we strongly urge the legislature to move quickly to pass this bill."

The fact that most caged laying hens can't even spread their wings inside battery cages has played a significant role in the growing trend of consumers and supermarket chains moving away from any association with eggs from caged birds. For example, Trader Joe's—which has a store location in Wilmington—is presently converting all of its brand eggs to cage-free. Other corporate leaders, such as Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Natural Marketplace, have already completely ended their sales of eggs from caged birds. And food service provider Bon Appétit, which serves 55 million meals each year in nearly 200 dining facilities, is also phasing out its use of battery-cage eggs.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization with 9.5 million members and constituents. The HSUS is a mainstream voice for animals, with active programs in companion animals and equine protection, wildlife and habitat protection, animals in research, and farm animal welfare. The HSUS protects all animals through education, investigation, litigation, legislation, advocacy, and field work. The non-profit organization is based in Washington and has field representatives across the country.

Source: The Humane Society of The United States - 27th January 2006

5m Editor