Jul19

News Reports Vindicates Yearlong Claim by National Association of Egg Farmers

News Reports Vindicates Yearlong Claim by National Association of Egg Farmers

  1. 1)On July 16th the New York Times reported on the trend toward cage-free is not without its problems

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/17/business/eggs-that-clear-the-cages-but-maybe-not-the-conscience.html?_r=2

All that newfound freedom can introduce health risks for hens, workers and consumers. The Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply, a group of animal welfare scientists, academics, egg farmers and big companies, recently released a report documenting several troubling aspects of aviary systems. (The group is backed both by egg producers, which have little incentive to change their ways, and food companies that have pledged to go cage-free.)

Perhaps most troubling, “hen mortality was much higher in the aviary system,” the report said. When hens move around more freely, it is easier for them to spread germs. And hens in cage-free aviaries were also more aggressive than their cage-bound peers, pecking at one another and, in some instances, becoming cannibalistic.

 

  1. 2)On July 18th Food Dive published this report on cage-free egg production.

http://www.fooddive.com/news/how-hidden-costs-of-cage-free-eggs-can-impact-the-supply-chain/422759/

  • Sourcing 100% cage-free eggs has become a popular trend among food manufacturers that use eggs in their products. But aviaries, the most common industrial cage-free alternative for housing egg-laying hens, bear their own risks and problems for the hens, employees and the environment, according to a new report from the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply.
  • In aviary systems, hen mortality is higher than traditional battery cages because it is easier for the hens to spread germs. Hens in this environment also tend to become more aggressive, including pecking at one another or even becoming cannibalistic.
  • Aviaries can also increase health risks for employees who care for the hens and collect the eggs. This included being exposed to higher ammonia concentrations, dust levels and particulate matter emissions in the air, which can cause respiratory issues for workers.
May11

NAEF News Release "The Trend toward Cage-Free Eggs is based on Misinformation" reaches wide audience

NAEF News Release

On March 3, 2016 the National Association of Egg Farmers sent out a press release over PR News wire that recorded views and hits at 2,140.  Some reports came as far away as Australia and the UK with one reporter from London's ITV asking for more information.  Below is the website for the news release showing that cage-free eggs:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-trend-toward-cage-free-eggs-is-based-on-misinformation-300261105.html

1) Did not improve animal welfare

2) Did not improve egg quality

3) Did increase the cost of eggs

4) That cage-free eggs are already available.

Why are retailers forcing their suppliers to only provide cage-free eggs?  The press release showed that misinformation was driving the trend.  It is unfortunate that companies do not learn these facts from the actual farmers producing eggs and caring for their chickens.

Apr30

Minneapolis Star Tribune Prints NAEF Rebuttal to Humane Economy

Minneapolis Star Tribune Prints NAEF Rebuttal to Humane Economy
On April 30, 2016, The Minneapolis Star Tribune published the following rebuttal to HSUS's article on The Humane Economy.
 
Dear Editor,
This is in response to Op-Ed "The Humane Economy Goes Cage-Free Chic" submitted by Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), appearing in the April 25th Minneapolis Star Tribune. It's partly true that HSUS has been successful in turning some adversaries into allies who go along with the cage-free rhetoric.  This has convinced a great many retailers to transition to cage-free eggs, but that's only part of the story.  But many egg farmers, especially those in the National Association of Egg Farmers including many from Minnesota, disagree as experience has taught them that cage free often results in more chicken deaths, and lower quality of eggs from manure contamination.
 

Removing chickens from cages, where they have been for decades, will lead to issues with chickens dying. Imagine a flock of thousands of chickens establishing a pecking order among themselves.  Those lower on the pecking order are pecked more often.  This is minimized in a cage environment where only a few birds are placed.

Additionally, the cage-free eggs are more likely to be contaminated with bacteria due to prolonged exposure from litter and manure in the nest boxes or on the ground.

As for the workers in cage-free barns, the amount of dust, which can transmit pathogens, inside the barn represents a health risk to farm workers, and the need for workers to collect floor eggs creates ergonomic challenges, too.

The most recent Salmonella enteritidis (a foodborne pathogen) outbreak linked to eggs comes from a cage-free farm in Lebanon, Ohio.  A recent Food and Drug Administration warning letter was issued to a cage-free egg farmer in Missouri.  Yet the narrative that cage-free chickens is more humane and produces a better quality egg is gaining traction from advocates such as HSUS.

Farmers want to please their customers and so there will be more cage-free farms built, but the smaller farmer will struggle with the estimated costs of $40 per bird for the labor, building, feeders, waters, and nests in their cage-free barns.  The larger egg farmers will build these structures and increase their market share as the smaller farms cannot compete.  Welcome to "Humane Economy."  We only hope your readers will realize that cage-free eggs are already available along with organic eggs and conventional eggs, all at prices that fit the customers' needs.

Dear Editor,
This is in response to Op-Ed "The Humane Economy Goes Cage-Free Chic" submitted by Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), appearing in the April 25th Minneapolis Star Tribune. It's partly true that HSUS has been successful in turning some adversaries into allies who go along with the cage-free rhetoric.  This has convinced a great many retailers to transition to cage-free eggs, but that's only part of the story.  But many egg farmers, especially those in the National Association of Egg Farmers including many from Minnesota, disagree as experience has taught them that cage free often results in more chicken deaths, and lower quality of eggs from manure contamination.
 

Removing chickens from cages, where they have been for decades, will lead to issues with chickens dying. Imagine a flock of thousands of chickens establishing a pecking order among themselves.  Those lower on the pecking order are pecked more often.  This is minimized in a cage environment where only a few birds are placed.

Additionally, the cage-free eggs are more likely to be contaminated with bacteria due to prolonged exposure from litter and manure in the nest boxes or on the ground.

As for the workers in cage-free barns, the amount of dust, which can transmit pathogens, inside the barn represents a health risk to farm workers, and the need for workers to collect floor eggs creates ergonomic challenges, too.

The most recent Salmonella enteritidis (a foodborne pathogen) outbreak linked to eggs comes from a cage-free farm in Lebanon, Ohio.  A recent Food and Drug Administration warning letter was issued to a cage-free egg farmer in Missouri.  Yet the narrative that cage-free chickens is more humane and produces a better quality egg is gaining traction from advocates such as HSUS.

Farmers want to please their customers and so there will be more cage-free farms built, but the smaller farmer will struggle with the estimated costs of $40 per bird for the labor, building, feeders, waters, and nests in their cage-free barns.  The larger egg farmers will build these structures and increase their market share as the smaller farms cannot compete.  Welcome to "Humane Economy."  We only hope your readers will realize that cage-free eggs are already available along with organic eggs and conventional eggs, all at prices that fit the customers' needs.

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