The Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers, the primary trade association for the egg industry, have reached an agreement to end barren battery cages (small, cramped cages that nearly immobilize the hens) for egg laying hens in America.
All eggs sold will be labeled with information on the production practices of egg farmers. The agreement will take several years to implement fully, but it improves the lives of laying hens.
The HSUS and UEP are working together to have legislation enacted that would do the following:
- Require a moratorium at the end of 2011 on new construction of battery cages and elimination of the cage over a phase-out period;
- Require construction of new housing systems almost double the space now provided;
- Require environmental enrichments to birds such as perches, nesting boxes and scratching areas;
- Mandate labeling on all egg cartons nationwide to inform consumers of the method used to produce the eggs, ie: eggs from caged hens or eggs from cage-free hens;
- Prohibit forced molting through starvation – withholding all food up to 2 weeks to manipulate laying cycle;
- Prohibit excessive ammonia level in henhouses – harmful to hens and egg industry workers;
- Prohibit sale of all eggs and egg products nationwide that don’t meet these requirements.
Some provisions would be implemented immediately after enactment and others over a period of time.