Controversy Brewing over Poultry Cage Size

Several farm organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, have signed a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee calling for the rejection of additional, costly and unnecessary animal rights mandates proposed by the Humane Society of the United States. A bill is being prepared by Oregon Representative Kurt Schrader that would set federal standards for the welfare of egg-laying hens.

The standards would allow for larger, enriched-colony cages and phase out smaller cages over 15 to 18 years at what the United Egg Producers has estimated to be a cost of 4-billion dollars. Opposing groups have estimated the cost to be 10-billion dollars. According to the letter, – the bill is based on an agreement between Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers and counters efforts to unshackle our economy from additional government regulation.

Speaking of the opposition, Chris Huckleberry, legislative director for Representative Schrader, says – this is pretty transformational so it will be a heavy lift regardless of the opposition. He adds, – these groups are doing what they perceive they have to. They are a bunch of well-funded and well-organized groups that know what they are doing.

The other groups that signed the letter are: National Farmers Union, American Sheep Industry Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council and National Turkey Federation. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.