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Ohio Voters Favour Federal Bill on More Space for Hens

by 5m Editor
29 March 2012, at 7:39am

OHIO, US - A new survey of Ohio voters conducted by Columbus-based Saperstein Associates reveals overwhelming support — by more than a three-to-one margin — for a federal bill to give more space to laying hens in the egg industry. Ohio is the second-largest egg producing state in the nation, with nearly 28 million laying hens.

The survey reveals that more than seven out of ten (71 per cent) voters support H.R. 3798 in Congress to establish national standards for the treatment of egg-laying hens, while only 22 per cent oppose the bill and 7 per cent are undecided. The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 would give each bird essentially twice the current amount of space and provide perches, nesting boxes, and other forms of environmental enrichment that allow hens to express natural behaviors. H.R. 3798 would also prohibit excessive levels of ammonia in henhouses, ban inhumane methods of euthanasia, and require a national labeling program so consumers have more information on egg cartons about the conditions in which hens are raised. Voters in every demographic and political affiliation strongly support the legislation.

“The Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers have been long-time adversaries, but have come together and identified a solution that balances animal welfare and the economic realities of the industry,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “The nation needs this kind of problem solving, and it’s my great hope that the Ohio Congressional delegation will enthusiastically embrace a bill that has the support of all the key stakeholders and of Ohio voters.”

Additional survey findings include:

  • By nearly a ten-to-one margin, voters are more likely to support the bill than oppose it when they learn it represents an agreement between The Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers, and is also supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Consumer Federation of America, and the Ohio Egg Processors Association.

  • Nearly twice as many voters support the bill as oppose it when they learn some livestock organizations such as the National Pork Producers Council and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association are against the proposal, even though egg farmers support it and the proposed law deals only with eggs.

  • By more than a four-to-one margin, voters are more likely to support the bill than oppose it when they learn that some states like Ohio, California and Michigan have different laws dealing with the treatment of egg-laying hens, and that a national standard would level the playing field for all egg farmers in all states.

  • By more than a five-to-one margin, Ohio voters are more likely to vote for rather than vote against a congressional candidate who favors H.R. 3798.

The survey of 804 voters was conducted by Saperstein Associates during March 13-18, 2012, and the margin of error is +/- 3.5 percent. The full questions on egg-laying hens are below, and a complete copy of the survey results, which also included other animal welfare issues, is available here.