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Californian Egg Producers Defend Consumer Choice

by 5m Editor
2 October 2007, at 10:01am

SACRAMENTO – California egg producers said today that animal activist groups from Washington D.C. were attempting to mislead California consumers and voters about farming practices in the state and trying to take away Californians’ rights to making their own grocery purchasing decisions.

“The modern production practices that California farmers use today help ensure California consumers some of the freshest, safest, cleanest eggs in the world,” said Gary West, a California egg producer and incoming chairman of the national industry association that represents U.S. egg farmers.

West urged California voters to reject requests to sign petitions that animal activist groups are circulating in an effort to get a proposal on the November 2008 ballot. That proposed initiative would dictate and micromanage alternate farm production methods for California egg farmers that have not been scientifically proved. Many view the measure as a blatant effort to ban modern egg cage systems – a move opposed by the Pacific Egg and Poultry Association.

“The modern cage production systems used by most farmers today (called UEP Certified) are considered humane and ethical by the leading independent scientific experts on animal welfare and behavior,” West said. “All farms that follow those strict guidelines are inspected each year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the independent testing company Validus.

“The practical effect of the animal rights activists’ proposal would be to double California retail egg prices –increasing California consumers’ grocery bills by tens of millions of dollars each year,” he said. “Many people won’t be able to afford to buy eggs if that happens, which is really what the activists want to accomplish.”

West said that egg farmers “believe California consumers should be able to make their own, personal informed choice about the type of eggs that they want to purchase, whether from modern cage, cage free or organic. Outside activists should not dictate or hijack consumer choice to advance their own political agenda.”

5m Editor