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HSUS Statement Regarding Michigan House Committee Passing Big Ag Power Grab

The Humane Society of the United States

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization with 11 million supporters, including more than 361,000 in Michigan, issued the following statement on the House Agriculture Committee yesterday passing H.B. 5127 and H.B. 5128:

"The bills advanced by the Agriculture Committee codify inhumane industry standards for farm animal treatment — standards that allow many animals to spend most of their lives in cages so small they can't even turn around or extend their limbs.

"The bills have been controversial since their introduction, and with good reason. Yesterday the committee heard strong opposition from The HSUS, Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan Farmers Union, Michigan Sierra Club, Michigan Clean Water Action, Michigan Land Use Institute, Michigan Land Trustees, The Ecology Center and the Michigan Catholic Rural Life Coalition.

"H.B. 5128 would give a council dominated by agribusiness interests the ability to recommend welfare standards for animals on factory farms — poor public policy and an obvious attempt to thwart meaningful reform.

"H.B. 5127 would grant the Department of Agriculture the sole authority to regulate farm animal health and welfare, and require the Department to adopt current industry standards — including extreme confinement systems such as gestation crates, veal crates and battery cages where the animals can barely move an inch. Even worse, producers wouldn't have to comply with today's industry-written standards until 2020.

"We have reached out to the state's agricultural leaders and offered to work together to take a more balanced approach to improving animal welfare in Michigan. The current bills do not achieve that balance or take into account the views of all stakeholders, and are instead designed to circumvent the input of Michigan citizens and divert attention from serious reform. We urge the House to reject these bills, and instead, to support efforts to take a serious look at factory farming practices in Michigan, which includes a phase-out of extreme confinement systems and giving farm animals the ability to turn around and extend their limbs."

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.