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Senate Hearing on Feinstein’s Egg Bill Excludes Opponents of Battery Cages and Federal Preemption

July 25, 2012

Hearing on “Rotten Egg Bill” (S. 3239) Blasted for One-Sided Testimony

SAN FRANCISCO, July 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Senate Agriculture Committee is holding a hearing today on Senator Dianne Feinstein’s controversial Egg Bill (S. 3239). The Humane Farming Association (HFA) and other animal protection organizations are crying foul.

To the dismay of many, the live testimony has been limited to Senator Feinstein and four egg industry representatives. “This panel was handpicked to exclude any meaningful diversity of opinion and any witnesses from the animal protection community — the largest constituency opposing this bill,” said Bradley Miller, National Director of the Humane Farming Association. “All the scheduled witnesses are for egg factory cages of one kind or another, and all witnesses support the federal preemption of state anti-cage laws.”

“This tactic — inviting a panel of egg industry insiders to be the only voices at the table — entirely neglects the real stakeholders: the vast majority of American voters who want hens out of cages,” continued Miller. “For this Senate Committee, it appears to be agribusiness as usual,” he added.

Just weeks ago, HFA, among many others, applauded the Senate’s rejection of efforts to insert Feinstein’s controversial measure into the Farm Bill. Referred to by many as the Rotten Egg Bill, Feinstein’s legislation is identical to a House bill (H.R. 3798) that was introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader earlier this year over the vehement objections of animal advocates nationwide. With the measure now before the Agriculture Committee as a standalone bill, HFA and a coalition of animal protection organizations are redoubling their efforts to defeat it.

“The egg industry is seeking to establish egg factory cages as a national standard that could never be challenged or changed by state law or public vote,” said Miller. “Senator Feinstein’s bill would preempt state laws, such as California’s Proposition 2, and is a direct assault upon egg laying hens’, voters’, and states’ rights.”

S. 3239 would codify a controversial deal between the United Egg Producers (UEP) — the egg industry trade association recently sued for an alleged price-fixing scheme — and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which is now endorsing the same egg factory cages it had long opposed.

“The Rotten Egg Bill would be disastrous for laying hens who would be forever locked in cages — as well as for millions of voters whose rights would be traded away,” said Miller.

Ads Today in Washington Post, Washington Times, and USA Today — UEP Price-Fixing Scandal Limits Support for Egg Bill

Coinciding with today’s hearing, the Humane Farming Association is stepping up its ad campaign to further expose UEP’s price-fixing scandal. UEP and several of the egg companies it represents have been repeatedly sued for alleged illegal price fixing. UEP members have been forced to pay out at least $25 million to settle allegations that they illegally manipulated the price of eggs while claiming to be instituting standards for animal welfare.

With active lawsuits pending against them from companies such as General Mills and Kraft Foods — UEP and its co-defendants are asking Congress to codify a set of standards that would, in effect, provide legal cover for the very activities of which they stand accused.

“Fortunately, very few Senators appear willing to jump in the middle of an ongoing price-fixing scandal just to placate an egg industry trade association and a co-opted humane organization,” said Miller.

“The American public overwhelmingly supports the banning of egg factory cages, not measures such as this which would ban the outlawing of cages,” said Miller. “This bill would clearly subvert the will of the people.”

Widespread Opposition from Animal Organizations, Advocates

“There is no such thing as an ‘enriched’ battery cage. This is an outrageous attempt by the egg industry and its cohorts to enrich themselves at the expense of laying hens and the public at large,” said Priscilla Feral, President of Friends of Animals.

“Even if this measure passes, the majority of hens will remain entombed in battery cages on factory farms,” said Karen Davis, PhD, President of United Poultry Concerns.

In addition to the Humane Farming Association, opponents of S. 3239 include Associated Humane Societies, Friends of Animals, United Poultry Concerns, Last Chance for Animals, Action for Animals, Northwest Animal Rights Network, Defend Animals Coalition, Political Animals, Georgia Animal Rights and Protection, Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals, Vegan Society of Peace, Humane Farming Action Fund, Sunnyskies Bird and Animal Sanctuary, SAFE, Purpose Group International, Animals Unlimited, Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition, Chicken Run Rescue, Pasado Safe Haven, and the vast majority of animal advocates nationwide.

To view HFA’s animated short A Cage Is A Cage, to take action, and to learn more about S. 3239 and H.R. 3798, please visit: StopTheRottenEggBill.org.

About HFA: Founded in 1985 and now over 250,000 members strong, The Humane Farming Association (HFA.org) operates the nation’s largest farm animal rescue and care facility and spearheads the Stop the Rotten Egg Bill campaign.

For media inquiries, contact Jill Mountjoy at 415.485.1495.

SOURCE The Humane Farming Association


Source: PR Newswire