Veterinarians: Ask Your Senators to Advance Egg-Laying Hen Welfare Nationwide
S. 3239, the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, is a federal bill that would establish uniform standards and important protections for the housing and treatment of approximately 280 million egg-laying hens nationwide. S. 3239 was introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein in the Senate with a bipartisan team of cosponsors. It is mirrored in the House of Representatives by H.R. 3798, which is also sponsored by a bipartisan team including Rep. Kurt Schrader, the only veterinarian in Congress.
How Does S. 3239/H.R. 3798 Help Hens?
Specifically, S. 3239/HR 3798 would eliminate the barren and overcrowded ‘battery cages’ in which laying hens are unable to spread their wings, and replace them with ‘colony cages,’ offering about twice as much space per bird. The birds would be given enrichments such as perches, nesting boxes and scratching areas, allowing them to express natural behaviors. Forced molting—using food or water withdrawal—would be prohibited, as would excessive levels of ammonia in hen housing. Furthermore, the bill would require implementing standards for euthanasia of egg-laying hens that have been approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
S. 3239/HR 3798 is a sound, science-based reform, endorsed by HSVMA, the AVMA, the American Association of Avian Pathologists, the leading poultry medicine practitioner organization, and the Association of Avian Veterinarians. Scientists in the egg industry also embrace this reform, as does the United Egg Producers, representing 88% of the nation’s egg industry. S. 3239/HR 3798 is also supported by the ASPCA, The Humane Society of the United States, consumer groups, local humane societies, state and regional egg and poultry associations and hundreds of family farms. See a full list of endorsers»
Veterinary Professionals Need to Take Action
As experts in both animal health and welfare, the public and elected officials look to us for leadership on issues such as the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments. We urge all veterinary professionals to join with us in supporting this important animal welfare legislation.
The Senate may consider S. 3239 soon, and we need your help. Please make a brief phone call to your two U.S. Senators as soon as possible and urge their support and sponsorship of this important legislation. Make sure to indicate that you are a constituent voter and a veterinary professional. Here are some brief talking points:
- As a constituent and a veterinary professional, I feel strongly that S. 3239 will lead to major improvements in housing for 280 million hens involved in U.S. egg production, while providing a stable future for egg farmers.
- S. 3239 would phase-in significantly more space plus environmental enrichments for these birds to enable them to express natural behaviors like nesting and perching, as well as ban starvation molting and excess ammonia levels that cause respiratory problems.
- S. 3239 will give consumers more information about production methods right on the egg carton (e.g., labeling “eggs from caged hens” and “eggs from cage-free hens”).
Please make a brief, polite phone call to your U.S. senators (click here to find their contact information) urging support for S. 3239. You can also reach any U.S. Senate office by calling the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
After making your calls, it would also be very helpful if you send a brief follow-up note to your Senators urging support for S. 3239. You can look up their email addresses here.
For more background on this issue, you can read the HSVMA support statement.
Thank you for your time and your support of this important animal welfare legislation.