Action Alerts


Tell Utah’s Senators to OPPOSE HB 187, “Ag Gag” Legislation
Take action and let Uath’s Senators know they need to OPPOSE HB 187, Agricultural Operation Interference. This bill that targets anyone who photographs or films factory farm abuses, which supporters describe as “terrorism,” has overwhelmingly passed the House.

Contact information for Utah’s State Senators:
http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/roster.aspx

Please take the time to send the Senators a personal email, and not a form email from PETA or HSUS.  They need to know individuals, not animal rights groups oppose this bill.

If passed by the Utah Senate, HB187 will criminalize taking photographs and videos of animal factory farms even if that evidence shows violations of the law.

This bill has already passed the House but now our SENATORS need to hear from us. Please find your Utah state SENATOR (click here: http://le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp), then call and urge them to vote NO on HB187 when it comes to a vote on the Senate floor.

A Utah bill that targets anyone who photographs or films factory farm abuses, which supporters describe as “terrorism,” has overwhelmingly passed the House.

HB 187, “Agricultural Operation Interference,” passed 60-14.  The amended bill removes the sentencing provision that would make a second offense equivalent to assaulting a police officer. However, the bill remains dangerously overbroad. As Rep. David Litvack noted, the bill not only targets animal rights groups: “There is no whistleblower protection.”

“Ag Gag” bills are being considered in multiple states, but, if the Utah Senate approves, this would be the first of these proposals to become law.

Public comments against Ringling’s breeding application
Ringling Bros. Circus is applying to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to renew their breeding registration for Asian elephants. They have repeatedly demonstrated that elephants should not be in their care—the largest fine in animal welfare history was levied against them. Public comments are extremely important and influence the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Being in a circus is pure hell for these gentle giants.

Your comments can be short and simple. Such as:
Please deny Ringling’s application to renew its captive-bred wildlife registration (PRT-720230) for Asian elephants

Email: dmafr@fws.gov
or call 703.358.2104 x1989

Subject line: Deny Ringling’s application for breeding application

E-mail text: Please deny Ringling’s application to renew its captive-bred wildlife registration (PRT-720230) for Asian elephants.


Crack Down on Spectators at Animal Fights
Bipartisan legislation, S. 1947/H.R. 2492, has been introduced by U.S. Reps. Tom Marino, R-Pa., and Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, and by Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Scott Brown, R-Mass., that would prohibit knowing attendance at organized animal fights and impose additional penalties for causing a minor to attend such events.

Ask your Federal Representative and Senators to co-sponsor and support S. 1947/H.R. 2492 to crack down on animal fighting spectators.

Contact:

Contact your U.S. Senators
http://www.senate.gov/

Contact your U.S. Representative
http://www.house.gov/

TALKING POINTS

Spectators are not innocent bystanders — they are willing participants and accomplices in the horribly cruel activity of dogfighting and cockfighting. Spectator admission fees and high-stakes gambling dollars finance this criminal industry and make it profitable. Animal fighters also use the spectator loophole to avoid prosecution — at the first sign of a raid, they will abandon their animals and try to blend into the crowd. Federal law enforcement should have the tools needed to go after those who are financing the torture of animals. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing back on your co-sponsorship of this important bill.

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News of Note

House passes bill to stop ‘animal-rights terrorists’ shooting video on farms
State lawmakers took aim at what one representative calls “animal-rights terrorists” who shoot videos or photos on farmers’ property without permission to create propaganda to destroy the agriculture industry.  “This is not about animals. This is a group of people who want to put us out of business. Make no mistake about it,” said Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, a rancher and farmer.

China’s animal rights movement energized by stars like Yao Ming, group says
Celebrities like basketball star Yao Ming have helped energize China’s animal rights movement by speaking out against shark fin soup and bear bile tonics, an animal welfare group said Tuesday.

NC appeals court says pets are property
The North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday agreed with state officials about the value of a pet’s life, ending a long legal battle over how a family should be compensated for the loss of their Jack Russell terrier five years ago.

New York eyes shark fin trade ban
A group of New York legislators on Tuesday unveiled a draft law banning trade in shark fins, saying the practice, which serves the market for Chinese shark fin soup, was decimating the ocean predators.  If enacted, New York would join California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington as US states outlawing the sale, possession and trade in the fins, which fishermen slice off, often before tossing the rest of the much less valuable shark back in the water.

Senate Passes Felony Animal Cruelty Bill
The Senate passed a bill Thursday that would establish a felony penalty for Idaho animal abusers.  Under the proposal, a person would be charged with a felony if they had two prior animal cruelty convictions within the 15 years prior to a third such charge.  Bill sponsor Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, acknowledged that one of the reasons for bringing forth the legislation is to fend off what he called extreme efforts by animal rights activists to impose more strict regulations.

Are more African-Americans embracing veganism?
Despite African-Americans traditionally being known as meat eaters, a number of black A-list celebrities have become advocates of the vegan lifestyle, including the likes of Erykah Badu, Russell Simmons and Mike Tyson.

Manny Pacquiao vs. the Vegan
Instead, the boxer will embrace the quinoa. He will thrill to the avocado and befriend the almond. He will enjoy the spinach, the tofu, and the $7.95 organic smoothie thahttp://narn.org/blog/wp-admin/post-new.phpt bears his not-yet-household name.  And on June 9 in Las Vegas, after months of strict vegan training, the undefeated boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. hopes to have the fight of his life—and defeat the world-renowned champion Manny Pacquiao.


Vegetarian Teens — Learn How to Better Navigate Their Healthful Path
Going vegetarian is nothing new for America’s youths, but there does seem to be increasing interest among young people in adopting a plant-based diet. A 2010 poll by the advocacy organization The Vegetarian Resource Group found that 9% of girls aged 13 to 15 claimed to be vegetarian. The reasons youngsters are making this change also have shifted over the years.

Bon Appetit announces animal welfare reforms
Hoping to set a standard for others in the industry to follow, food-service giant Bon Appetit Management Co. announced today that it will purchase pork, liquid eggs and veal only from producers who follow more humane animal agricultural practices.

Health and nutrition labels may have negative impact on taste expectation
A Spanish study found that biscuits labeled as sugar-free were perceived as less tasty than those without the label. “The information on the biscuit packaging had a strong influence on the consumers’ perceptions,” according to the study, published in Food Quality and Preference.  Excessive information on health claims on food packaging is perceived as off-putting by consumers, and can have a negative influence on the perception of sensory characteristics, say researchers.

Federal raids a ‘serious blow’ to rhino trade
Federal wildlife investigators in California and other states say they have cracked an international smuggling ring that trafficked for years in sawed-off rhinoceros horns, which fetch stratospheric prices in Vietnam and China for their supposed cancer-curing powers.

Animal rights group says drone shot down
A remote-controlled aircraft owned by an animal rights group was reportedly shot down near Broxton Bridge Plantation Sunday near Ehrhardt, S.C.  Steve Hindi, president of SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness), said his group was preparing to launch its Mikrokopter drone to video what he called a live pigeon shoot on Sunday when law enforcement officers and an attorney claiming to represent the privately-owned plantation near Ehrhardt tried to stop the aircraft from flying.

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Action Alerts

Stop the Rotten Egg Bill: Fight the Egg Industry’s Attempt to Keep Hens in Cages Forever
A bill was introduced in Congress that would seal the fate of millions of laying hens, keeping them locked in factory farm cages forever. This Rotten Egg Bill is also known as the Egg Products Inspection Act of 2012 (H.R. 3798).  This legislation would decriminalize animal cruelty and establish egg factory cages as a national standard that could never be challenged or changed by state law or public vote. We need you to please contact your representatives today in order to stop this dangerous bill.
Substituting one cruel cage for another, the entire point of the egg industry’s legislation is to:

Deny state legislatures the ability to enact laws to outlaw cages or otherwise regulate egg factory conditions.
Deprive voters of the right and ability to pass ballot measures banning cages.
Nullify existing state laws that ban or restrict battery cages (including California’s Proposition 2).

This destructive measure is being sponsored by the United Egg Producers (UEP) – the egg factory trade association that is currently facing charges of alleged illegal price fixing – other industry organizations, and a handful of collaborators.  Proponents claim that this legislation would eventually result in “progress” for laying hens. Just the opposite is true. In reality, the egg industry merely agreed to slowly – at the glacial pace of 18 years – continue the meager changes in battery cage conditions that are already occurring due to state laws and public pressure.

TAKE ACTION

Tell Congress to STOP Egg Products Inspection Act of 2012 (H.R. 3798). This legislation must be stopped because it would decriminalize animal cruelty and establish egg factory cages as a national standard that could never be challenged or changed by state law or public vote. We need you to please contact your representatives today in order to stop this dangerous bill.

Contact your U.S. Representative
http://www.house.gov/

Tell Avon, Mary Kay & Estee Lauder to Stop Testing on Animals
Don’t buy from Avon, Estee Lauder, or Mary Kay! After 20 years of not doing so, they have all resumed tests on animals, without informing the public!  These companies have been paying for tests on animals at the requirement of the Chinese government.

Please take a moment to let Avon, Mary Kay, and Estée Lauder know that you are disappointed in their backsliding and that you will no longer buy the companies’ products as long they are tested on animals.  Check out the email contact form here

Sign MFA’s petition urging Butterball to implement meaningful animal welfare policies to prevent some of the worst abuses at its factory farms.

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News of Note


Vegan campaigners savour test tube burger breakthrough
Prof Mark Post, of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, yesterday announced the world’s first test tube hamburger would be served up in October. Heston Blumenthal, the experimental chef, will cook the patty grown in a lab from a cow’s stem cells. Each portion will cost £220,000, but Prof Post hopes if the burger is a success he can develop the technology on an industrial scale.

Animal rights group releases pig farm video
An animal rights organization released a video Wednesday documenting the conditions for pigs at a farm in northern Iowa.  Erica Meier, executive director of Compassion Over Killing, presented the video documenting the conditions at a news conference. The video came from Leland-based Hawkeye Sow Centers, a producer for Hormel Foods, she said.  Meier cited a bill currently proposed in the Iowa Legislature that would make such investigations illegal. The bill passed in the House last year but stalled in the Senate.

Butterball Workers Arrested on Animal Cruelty Charges
Six workers at a Butterball turkey farm in North Carolina face criminal charges after an undercover video revealed alleged animal abuse, and a state employee who tipped off Butterball before a police raid on the farm has pled guilty to obstruction of justice.

Animal rights group calls for state ag official’s firing
The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services should have fired an official who tipped off Butterball to a criminal investigation of one of its turkey operations in Hoke County, an animal rights group said Thursday.  Dr. Sarah Mason, director of animal health programs in the department’s Poultry Division, pleaded guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor counts of obstruction of justice and resisting, delaying or obstructing officers. She was placed on probation for a year.


Avon, Estee Lauder And Mary Kay Allegedly Testing Makeup On Animals
Turns out that currently, the Chinese government requires animal testing for beauty products sold in China, and PETA reports that while Mary Kay has been trying to work with the government to come up with new testing solutions for cosmetics that don’t involve animals, Estee Lauder and Avon have gone along with the government requirements without complaint. Since the companies are all currently doing animal testing, none of these companies’ products can bear the “cruelty free” designation (indicated by the leaping bunny logo), and have been removed — after long standing — from PETA’s “Don’t Test on Animals” list to the “Do Test” list.

280,000 animals used for testing in 2010
THE number of animals used for experimentation in Irish laboratories has rocketed 800% in five years, raising serious concerns among welfare groups.  Figures from the Department of Health show 280,000 animals were used in live experiments in 2010, up from just 38,000 in 2005. More than 80% of the animals were used for experiments conducted by “commercial establishments”. The remainder were spread across universities and colleges, hospitals, agriculture and veterinary institutes, fish farms and fisheries research institutes.  The Irish Anti-Vivisection Society said the figures were “unprecedented” and “disturbing”. It also said Ireland has one of the highest levels of animal testing in Europe.


Millions of animals spared from chemical safety tests
Tens of millions of animals will be saved from use in chemical safety tests over the next eight years after Europe’s chemical regulator gave the go-ahead to a new streamlined study to assess the safety of substances.  European Union (EU) legislation requires companies to test the safety of the chemicals they produce in two generations of animals to assess the effects on their reproductive systems.  A proposed new test would allow just one generation of animals to be used, with additional tests on a second generation required only if the first round raised concerns.

Senate considering bill regulating ownership of exotic animals
The state Senate will vote later this week on a bill to regulate the possession of exotic animals.  West Virginia is one of just eight states that does not regulate possession of non-domestic animals.  While lawmakers had been considering regulations for years, the widely publicized incidents that followed the release of dozens of wild animals from a refuge in Zanesville, Ohio, last year refocused attention to the subject.

South Carolina May Regulate Exotic, Reptile Ownership
South Carolina is considering legislation that will ban the acquisition of “exotic” species as of July 1, 2012, and establish regulations for certain reptiles, notably large constrictors, venomous reptiles and crocodilians.  Senate Bill 1204 would allow possession of “exotic” species, as defined in the legislation, only if the owners possessed the animal sprior to July 1, 2012; are granted a personal possession permit for each animal in their possession; and register with local law enforcement.

Senate Panel OKs Felony For Repeat Animal Cruelty
Repeat animal cruelty offenders could face a felony under a livestock industry-backed bill that the Idaho Humane Society supports but believes could go even further to curb animal torture. The bill won the Senate Agriculture Committee’s 8-1 backing Tuesday. It makes a third animal-cruelty conviction within 15 years a felony crime punishable with jail time.

Activists’ outcry sinks comeback of diving horses
Anthony Catanoso, owner of the Steel Pier amusement park, who scrapped plans for a comeback of the Jersey Shore high-diving horses attraction in response to an outcry by animal rights advocates.  Catanoso said he was reacting to protests over revival of the stunt, in which a horse climbs to the top of a 40-foot-tall platform that tips, plunging the animal and its rider into a 12-foot-deep water tank.  “We’ll honor the memories of the past in another way,” Catanoso said.

North Face jackets made from feathers of force-fed geese
The North Face, an American company favoured by everyone from Barack Obama to BBC reporters, has previously claimed that its down-filled coats were ethically produced.  But animal rights campaigners found that the source of the clothing firm’s supplier was in fact Hungarian farms where geese are artificially fattened in order to make pâté de foie gras from their oversized livers.
Nearly 300 elephants slain in Cameroon for ivory, government minister confirms
Poachers in search of ivory in northern Cameroon have slaughtered nearly 300 elephants for their tusks since mid-January, according to the country’s minister of forestry and wildlife.  Minister Ngole Philip Ngwese backed up a claim by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) that an armed gang of Sudanese poachers had killed the free-roaming elephants in the Bouba Ndjida National Park, on Cameroon’s border with Chad.

The Lasso Tightens Around America’s Wild Horses
To wild horse advocates, the ones who fret daily over the worsening plight of the American mustang, Montana’s Republican former senator Conrad Burns holds a special spot in the pantheon of enablers, cynics, scoundrels and villains who have conspired for generations to endanger the health and safety of the herds. In November 2004, at the last minute, it was then-Senator Burns who inserted into a 3,300-page budget appropriations bill a single-paged rider that amended the 1971 Wild Horse Protection Act so it was legal, once again, to slaughter wild horses.

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Action Alerts

Save Oregon’s First Family of Wolves
Tell Oregon state officials to oppose reckless legislation that would tamper with the state’s Endangered Species Act and allow for the annihilation of the Imnaha pack.

Sign an online petition:
http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9372

And/or better yet, make direct contact:

Governor John Kitzhaber
160 State Capitol
900 Court Street
Salem, OR 97301
Citizens’ Representative Message Line (503) 378-4582
fax (503) 378-6827
online contact form: http://governor.oregon.gov/Gov/contact.shtml

Senator Jackie Dingfelder
PO Box 13432
Portland, OR 97213
phone (503) 493-2804
sen.jackiedingfelder@state.or.us

INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS

The pack was the first to establish and produce pups in the state in more than 60 years. While measures should be taken to prevent depredation of livestock, there are better ways to keep cattle safe than killing the family of Journey, the wolf who has captured the nation’s imagination with its thousand-mile expedition to become the first wolf in California in nearly a century.

Last fall, the Center for Biological Diversity and allies won an emergency stay of execution from the Oregon Court of Appeals that stopped the state from killing two wolves in the Imnaha pack — a stay that remains in place while the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association pushes this appalling bill.

Two horses killed in first season of HBO’s drama “Luck”
Send a note of protest to HBO and let the network know that one season of horse slaughter for entertainment is more than enough. If you are watching the show, please stop — you are supporting the horse killing. Ask your friends to stop watching too. They surely have no idea that horses are dying on the set — especially as they have read in the credits that the American Humane Association is on the set “monitoring” the animal action.

HBO feedback page
http://www.hbo.com/#/about/contact-us.html

Additional info
News has now broken that a horse was killed in the filming of the pilot episode (pilots are filmed before a full series gets a go-ahead) which should have been enough to stop plans for the series. But the series got the green light and another horse was killed during the filming of episode seven. Each horse fractured a leg during a race scene and was later euthanized.

Unfortunately the death of a horse during the pilot was not enough for the American Humane Association, a group funded by the industry it is supposed to police, to choose to disassociate itself from the series.

The good old AHA has been putting it’s stamp of approval, “No animals were harmed…” on almost all of the episodes. The New York Observer tells us that for the two episodes in which horses were actually killed the line in the credits is a more neutral, “The American Humane Association monitored the animal action.

That’s right, they monitored the deaths of the horses. That organization’s stamp is a joke — a deadly joke because people think it has meaning and thus animal loving people support entertainment that has the stamp. Most people have no idea that the group will monitor the deaths of animals on sets and then give a full stamp of approval to future similarly filmed episodes in which it so happens no animals are harmed.

Horse racing, with its thousands of animal deaths per year, is a barbaric and outdated form of entertainment, which HBO is making topical, perhaps even fashionable, with this well-executed series. There is a petition you can sign asking HBO to adopt PETA’s standards on the set to try to prevent further horse deaths. But shouldn’t two deaths during the filming of the first season put an end to any plans for a second? Please ask HBO to cancel those plans. HBO needs to hear that its generally conscious audience didn’t know horses were dying on the set and will stop watching when that news gets out.


Take Action for shipment of monkeys scheduled for Canada

Hainan Airlines, an airline based in China, is due to fly a shipment of monkeys from China to
Toronto in the next few days. We understand that the final destination of these
monkeys is a laboratory in Canada. We have written to the airline urging it to
join the growing number of airlines to have adopted a permanent embargo on all
primate shipments.

Please be a voice for these monkeys and show the strength of feeling against
this dispicable trade by sending polite emails to Hainan Airlines urging the
airline to adopt a policy not transport primates (and all animals) destined for
research purposes.

If you live in the US, please call Hainnan Airlines on their US toll-free
number: 1-800-876-8999.

Otherwise please email a clear message to them to stop all transportation of
animals to ‘research’ laboratories.

CEO: dw_yuan@hnair.com
Email Toronto Office: yto@hnairna.com
Email Head Office in China: webetservice@hnair.com
Email cargo Head Office in Seattle: sea@hnairna.com
Chicago: chi@hnairna.com
Houston: hou@hnairna.com
Los Angeles: lax@hnairna.com
New York: nyc@hnairna.com
Vancouver: yvr@hnairna.com
Belgium: Belgium@hnair.com
Germany: Berlin@hnair.com

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News of Note

HBO show Luck attacked over horse deaths
Animal rights group Peta has called for TV and film safety rules to be tightened after two horses were put down during filming for HBO drama Luck…The AHA said in a statement that the fatal accidents had taken place several months apart – one during the filming of a pilot episode and another during the filming of the seventh show.

Return of diving horse act on Atlantic City Steel Pier has animal rights activists saying ‘nay’
According to The Press of Atlantic City, Steel Pier owner Anthony Catanoso plans to bring back the diving horse act, where a horse ridden by a stunt diver leaps from a platform 30 to 40 feet in the air into a 12-foot deep tank. Animal rights activists are promising to fight the return of the show.

Norfolk pig farmer criticises secret filming
A farmer has spoken out against an undercover animal rights investigator who secretly filmed one of his pigs being beaten to death with an iron bar.  The RSPCA said it had started an inquiry after seeing the “shocking” images of pigs being beaten at Harling Farm, East Harling, Norfolk.  Farmer Stephen Brown said when the Animal Equality activist was filming he was not looking after the pigs.

Animal rights group criticizes magazine
A leading outdoor magazine has reacted to plans by an animal rights group to use a small, remote-controlled aircraft, nicknamed “Angel,” to videotape live pigeon shoots Feb. 9-12 at Broxton Bridge Plantation near Ehrhardt.  SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness) and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are protesting the live pigeon shoot being held during the 20th Anniversary Flyer Shoot, an invitation-only event at the privately-owned plantation where a wide variety of hunting and sporting activities are held throughout the year.

McDonald’s Set to Phase Out Suppliers’ Use of Sow Crates
The McDonald’s Corporation said on Monday that it would begin working with its pork suppliers to phase out the use of so-called gestational crates, the tiny stalls in which sows are housed while pregnant. McDonald’s has asked its five direct suppliers of bacon, Canadian bacon and sausage to provide their plans for reducing reliance on sow stalls. It said it would assess those plans and announce what steps it might take in response in May.


Rhino dies under sedation in South Africa during procedure meant to deter poachers
An attempt to protect a rhinoceros from poachers in South Africa by sedating it to treat its horn ended with the animal’s death Thursday in front of journalists and others who had been invited to learn more about anti-poaching efforts, conservationists said.

A wild herd is no place for tame horses
Strapped owners are dumping horses in what is now the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, apparently thinking they will be warmly received by the wild bunch that runs the thousands of public acres along the Current and Jacks Fork rivers.  The Wild Horse League, which foiled the National Parks Service’s efforts to remove the animals in the mid-1990s, tries to find the orphaned horses and adopt them out. But lately there have been too many.  “They don’t know how to forage,”  They will literally starve to death.


Chimps Can Get Inside Others’ Heads Just Like Humans
Chimps know what tools others need to get work done and can help them select the right instruments, suggesting the apes have the ability to understand the minds of others, scientists find.  The capability to consider the goals and share the perspective of others, known as “theory of mind,” has long been considered unique to humans. This aptitude may be why humans cooperate in an altruistic, “prosocial” manner to develop societies.

Maritime noise causes stress in whales, study finds
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, ship traffic precipitously decreased and so did stress among North Atlantic right whales. Researchers used trained dogs to find whale feces floating on the water and analyzed the feces for the presence of stress hormones, finding that glucocorticoid levels dropped immediately after 9/11, mirroring the decreased sea traffic.

The Pet Problem
The pet trust is a little-known legal option for the elderly and caregivers worried about what will happen to beloved animals following the deaths of their owners. In the document, the owner specifies a “guardian” who will carry out the owner’s wishes for care, including instructions for what food the animal should eat and how the pet should live. Funds or property, or both, must be set aside to pay for the care.

Jocks go VEGAN
Meagan Duhamel credits diet with renewed skating success
The 26-year-old figure skater from Lively, Ont., who recently captured the Canadian pairs title with partner Eric Radford, became a vegan three years ago.  Her diet, she says, is a big reason for her good health and skating success.

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Proposed Egg Bill Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be

On January 23rd, a bill was introduced to the 112th Congress that aims to establish a national standard of welfare for egg-laying hens. The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 (H.R.3798) attempts for the first time to codify housing and treatment standards for chickens raised for egg production on a federal level. This bill was written collaboratively by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the United Egg Producers (UEP), an industry trade group representing farmers and companies involved with egg production, marketing, and selling.

We at NARN have taken a look at this bill, and after careful review, we’ve come to the conclusion that this bill as it is currently written is problematic on several levels, and thus our official position is that we do not support it.

If passed, the bill would require cages for egg-laying hens to provide a minimum of amount of 144 square inches of floor space per hen, but both new and existing cages will not be subject to this minimum space requirement until a full 15 years after the bill’s passage.

Currently, the space afforded for battery-cage hens is as little as 67 to 86 square inches (according to current guidelines by the UEP), which is less than the size of a standard sheet of paper. While an increase to the minimum of 144 square inches is larger than what hens currently endure, it translates to only one square foot. For an animal that spends much of her natural life running, hopping, strutting, and being physically active, one square foot per hen still is not enough space, and can hardly be considered a significant increase, much less humane. It would be akin to confining a human being to a floor space the size of a bathtub. According to the Humane Farming Association, a hen needs at least 216 square inches just to spread her wings.

The bill requires existing cages to provide “adequate environmental enrichments” starting fifteen years from passage of the bill. New cages must provide these “enrichments” starting nine years after passage. The bill allows the term “adequate environmental enrichments” to be defined by the Secretary of Agriculture, a position typically staffed by agribusiness executives or supporters (currently the position is held by Tom Vilsack, who as Iowa governor was a leading advocate for Monsanto, genetic engineering, and factory farming). This allows the barest concessions, such as plastic strips, to be considered as “nests” and “enrichments,” which will lead the public to believe that hens are living humane lives. The bill also allows egg-carton labeling to include the term “enriched cages” which would deflect public concern and increase egg sales from hens confined in cages. But in reality, hens will continue to live in crowded and unsanitary conditions. Nedim Buyukmihci, professor emeritus of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California-Berkley, says of the bill: “The cages defined by the legislation will in no meaningful way reduce the unimaginable suffering endured by the hens. Hens will still not be able to get proper exercise, they still will be too crowded to even properly stretch their wings, perches will be at an ineffectual height, and nest boxes will not be conducive to the needs for laying eggs.”

So-called “colony” cages, that this bill would codify, allows around 8 hens to be crowded into a cage the size of a file cabinet drawer.

Because of the glacial pace at which these changes would be enacted, it is telling that among those who support the bill are egg producers. The Association of California Egg Farmers, Colorado Egg Producers Association, Florida Poultry Association, Michigan Agri-Business Association, Michigan Allied Poultry Industry, and the North Carolina Egg Association support these meager changes because they then will no longer feel economic pressure to enact changes more quickly. As this is a national bill, it will supersede existing state laws that have stronger protections and will slow down the pace of changes that are already occurring due to state and public pressure. Additionally, small producers are exempt from having to enact any of the measures in the bill at all.

While animal advocacy groups such as Animal Legal Defense Fund, Farm Sanctuary, Mercy For Animals, In Defense of Animals, Compassion over Killing, the ASPCA, and the Humane League support the bill, other animal advocacy groups such as Animal Welfare Institute, Associated Humane Societies, Canadians for Ethical Treatment of Animals, Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), Friends of Animals, Humane Farming Association, and United Poultry Concerns oppose this bill. We are among those who see as problematic the collaboration with an industry that views living sentient beings as mere commodities to be used and abused for economic gain. We do not agree that industry should be allowed to write their own rules and regulations.

The proponents of this bill are hailing this as a “victory” for the animals and say this bill would eliminate battery cages. But there is absolutely nothing in this bill that does so. “Batteries” consist of rows and tiers of identical units; in this case the units are cages, and there is no language at all in the bill that addresses batteries. Egg-laying hens will still be locked inside windowless buildings, crowded in cages stacked from the floor and lined up in long rows, just as they are now. There are no requirements to reduce the use of cages; instead, this bill codifies the use of battery cages. Rather than being “a step in the right direction,” this bill is a dead-end for the future of hens kept for egg-production.

Much work has been done on the state and local level to enact swifter and more comprehensive changes that would significantly reduce the amount of the most egregious abuses by animal-based businesses. This weak federal standard would deny state legislatures the ability to pass laws to outlaw the use of cages or to enact stricter regulations, would deny voters the right and ability to pass initiatives banning cages, and would nullify existing state laws like ones passed in Arizona, California, Michigan and Ohio.

We encourage you to contact your US Representative (at www.house.gov) to vote against establishing egg factory cages as a national standard that could never be challenged or changed by state law or public vote. This bill would keep hens forever suffering in small cages, where they could never engage in the many natural behaviors essential for their most basic health and well being.

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