This morning the Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would set national welfare standards for egg-laying hens.
The legislation, which recently failed to pass as an amendment to the farm bill, would slowly phase in “enriched colony housing” for laying hens, which would double the space for each bird. The bill was the result of a landmark deal struck between the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States, two groups who had been fighting bitterly over state egg initiatives for years.
The compromise seeks to give egg producers regulatory certainty, while fulfilling HSUS’ goal of giving hens more space. Livestock groups, however, are adamantly opposed to the measure because they fear it would mean more federal control over food animal production.
The Committee will hold a legislative hearing on S. 3239, the “Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012.” The author of the legislation – Senator Dianne Feinstein – will testify, as will Mr. David Lathem, Chairman of the United Egg Producers; Mr. Eric Benson, President of J.S. West and Companies; Mr. Greg Herbruck, Executive Vice President of Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch and Mr. Amon Baer, Owner of Mendelson Egg Company.
The hearing will be livestreamed on the committee’s website here at 9:30 a.m. EST.