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US: West opens colony barn for hens

Commercial egg producer J.S. West & Co. has opened the first enriched colony barn for layer hens in the US, saying such a colony housing system meets the requirements of Proposition 2 (Prop 2), reports Feedstuffs Food Link.

At the same time, American Humane Certified announced that the colony housing system meets its animal welfare standards and provided certification for the barn reports continue. However, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) said colony housing is still cage housing and, therefore, is unacceptable to the organization, which will only support cage-free housing.

J.S West & Co. is based in Modesto, Cal., and serves markets in northern California. The colony barn is located on the West farm in Livingston, Cal.

Tim Amlaw, director of the American Humane Certified program and VP of the American Humane Assn., said an enriched colony, based on "reason- and science-based evaluation," is a humane system for housing hens and producing eggs for the marketplace. He said West has received the American Humane Certified seal for the Livingston colony.

West has 1.8 mln hens in production on 3 farms in 2 counties, with 150,000 hens housed in the Livingston colony.

The company said it also has installed 6 cameras in the barn that will feed video to American Humane Certified 24/7 to monitor the behavior and care of the birds and provide opportunities to take action to improve management as necessary.

Source: Feedstuffs Food Link

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