March 29, 2011
Oregon Senators to Consider Anti-Cruelty Bill at Hearing Today
Humane Society of the United States representatives will testify at a hearing today to address a bill to prevent extreme cruelty to farm animals. S.B. 805 would phase out the use of cages to confine egg-laying hens on factory farms by 2019 and require that all whole eggs sold in the state meet this requirement by 2019.
About 2.5 million egg-laying hens in Oregon are confined in cages so small they can’t even spread their wings—each hen has less space than a letter-sized sheet of paper. Agribusiness industry representatives have proposed amendments to seriously weaken the bill and allow for only slightly less cramped cages. The industry’s proposed changes wouldn’t even go into effect until 2026.
“The Humane Society of the United States urges Oregon legislators to support S.B. 805 as introduced and without amendments,” stated Kelly Peterson, Oregon legislative specialist and vice president of state affairs for The HSUS. “This is common-sense legislation that allows us to move away together from inhumane confinement of farm animals—cruelty that also puts consumers at risk.”
Local veterinarians, family farm representatives, poultry scientist Dr. Sara Shields and HSUS factory farming campaign senior director Paul Shapiro will also testify in support of the bill.
Factory farms that cram egg-laying hens into tiny cages are not only cruel, but they threaten food safety. All fifteen scientific studies published in the last five years comparing Salmonella contamination between caged and cage-free operations found that those confining hens in cages had higher rates of Salmonella.
Across the country, a major movement away from cages has taken root. Michigan and California have passed laws to phase out the use of cages to confine hens, and similar legislation is pending in other states. California also passed a law requiring that all whole eggs sold statewide be cage-free by 2015. Washington state voters are currently gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to phase out confinement of laying hens in cages and the sale of caged eggs.
And major food manufacturers and retailers—including Kraft, Sara Lee, Wal-Mart, Safeway, Unilever, Burger King, Wendy’s, Denny’s, Subway, Sonic, Quiznos, Red Robin, Hardee’s and Carl's Jr.—have started to use cage-free eggs.
- Extensive scientific research confirms that cage confinement of laying hens causes suffering and threatens food safety.
- Many of Oregon’s restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, and schools have joined the national movement away from serving consumers eggs from caged hens.
- Factory egg farms that confine animals in tiny cages slash costs by hiring very few people. Cage-free egg farms create jobs by hiring more workers because they must actually engage in meaningful animal husbandry.
- Massive egg factories cut corners by confining hens in cruel and inhumane cages, and by doing so, they push out smaller farms that simply can’t compete.
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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.