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EU regs could affect US poultry farmers

The phasing-out of compact cages for layers by the European Union, has prompted discussion among Connecticut (US) lawmakers.

During a daylong public hearing, members of the General Assembly's Environment Committee seemed conflicted over the economic and moral aspects of the legislation that would ban cages for hens. The legislation would also prohibit the state Department of Administrative Services from buying eggs from farms that use cages. The ban was opposed by state Agriculture Commissioner F. Philip Prelli.

"The concept of housing laying hens in cages is necessarily inhumane is based on conjecture and not supported by scientific evidence," Prelli said. "Hens that are contented and tend to lay more eggs, and in all the studies we're seen, caged hens lay more eggs than free-roving hens. So to say they're not content is incorrect."

However, Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said the so-called battery cage, which holds up to nine chickens, is cruel. Pacelle said, "[In battery cages] the animals are also denied any opportunity to engage in numerous important, natural behaviours, including nesting, dust bathing, perching, and foraging." Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, a member of the committee, said constituents of his believe the bill is a good measure to give hens some space to spread their wings.

Stores including Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's and Wild Oats Natural Marketplace decline to sell the battery-cage eggs; and in the last Congress, US Rep. Christopher Shays, R-4, sponsored legislation that would have required the federal government to purchase eggs only from cage-free hens. Prelli maintains that Connecticut consumers should be able to make their own choices in purchasing food products.

 

Related articles:

Battery cages outlawed by the EU

US Council officially opposes cage eggs

American movement against cages grows stronger

New Zealand phasing out battery cages

 

 

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