NAEF Testifies Before Senate Agriculture Committee on Bird Flu

The National Association of Egg Farmers’ President Ken Klippen testified at the Senate Agriculture Committee’s hearing July 7th on the impact of avian influenza on the poultry industry.  Klippen said this virus was affecting every sized egg farmer, but the impact will be far greater with international trade impacting the entire economy.  He noted that 20% of the broilers are exported annually along with 12% of the turkeys and just under 5% of the eggs and egg products.  Klippen stated that 18 countries have already banned all poultry from the U.S. including China, South Korea, South Africa, and Russia.  Klippen also stated 31 countries have restricted trade with the U.S. from the infected regions or zones including Canada, Mexico, Japan, and the European Union.  Currently there are 48 countries worldwide reporting highly pathogenic avian influenza. Thomas Elam, President, FarmEcon LLC, from Carmel, Indiana also on the panel estimated a $3.3 billion loss from the depopulated chickens and turkeys due to this recent outbreak.  He added that a $1.2 billion loss could be attributed to the broiler meat industry, not from depopulated birds, but lost export markets with the chickens produced being sold domestically, increasing supplies and lowering prices.  Elam said that should this avian flu strike in Alabama and Georgia where the broiler industry dominates, the economic losses will be several magnitudes higher than what occurred with turkeys and eggs.


Klippen also reiterated the indemnification plan proposed to APHIS in May and urged the Senators to help keep the payment to egg farmers consistent with the federal regulations specifying future egg production. 



To see NAEF’s testimony, fast forward the time segment in the bottom of the screen to 1:49:05 to 1:53:14. Also the response to a key question at 2:09:19 to 2:09:59


NAEF Refutes HSUS Claims on Boston Herald Radio

  1. The National Association of Egg Farmers has responded to the Boston Herald radio interview with Paul Shapiro, HSUS, where he cites the egg industry statistics during Prop 2 that egg costs will only increase by 1 cent per egg if produced in cage-free environments.  Below we demonstrate that reality, such as occurred in California from its ballot initiative, is much more extreme.



Dear Editor,

This is in response to the recent interview with Paul Shapiro, HSUS, on Boston Herald Radio where he cited the cost of eggs going up minimally from the implementation of the Massachusetts ballot initiative, is predictive and not based on reality.  Here is reality. When California implemented its new regulation governing how eggs are to be produced on all eggs sold in California on January 1 [California Department of Agriculture Title 3, Section 1350 on Shell Egg Food Safety], we saw the price of eggs in the state surge upwards double digits compared to elsewhere in the nation.  In January when the price of eggs nationally sold to retailers averaged $0.82 to $1.04 for large, white eggs, the price in California of eggs sold to retailers averaged $2.75 to $3.30.  With the bird flu in the Midwest destroying 48 million egg laying chickens and turkeys, the prices in California is continuing to increase.  California news stations have been telephoning our association already this week asking why the price of a dozen eggs has soared to $6.00 per dozen.  That’s 50 cents per egg, far greater than the one cent per egg predicted.  California does not produce enough eggs to supply the population of 39 million people in the state.  It must import eggs from other states, but their production standards limits the supplies available.  Massachusetts will experience the same when it implements its ballot initiative and limits the supply of eggs to its 6.7 million people.  When supplies of a commodity are in short supply, the price naturally goes up. This is just what those opposed to eating eggs want.  Increase the price so fewer eggs are purchased.


NAEF Responds to Bangor Op-Ed by HSUS Against Hillandale

August 24th Bangor Daily News Op-Ed “It’s Time for Turner Egg Factor to Go Cage-Free” provides a narrative that does not fit the facts, stated the National Association of Egg Farmers. 




Hillandale Egg Farms, the new owners, uses production methods that provide humanely for the chicken while ensuring a safe and wholesome egg.  

 1) The claims that caged layers increases Salmonella is not even logical.  The Food & Drug Administration has issued a regulation entitled Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs During Production, Storage, and Transportation (21 CFR part 118) on July 9, 2009 requiring shell egg farmers to implement measures to prevent SE from contaminating eggs on the farm.  If caged environments increased Salmonella, it's inconceivable that FDA would issue regulations governing the production of eggs in caged environments.

2) The Journal Poultry Science in 2011 [90, pp. 1586-1593] published "Comparison of shell bacteria from unwashed and washed table eggs harvested from caged laying hens and cage-free floor-housed laying hens."  This study found that the numbers of bacteria on eggs was lower in housing systems that separated hens from manure and shavings.

3) The Journal Food Control published a study June 17, 2014 entitled "Microbiological Contamination of Shell Eggs Produced in Conventional and Free-Range Housing Systems"  The conclusions state "Battery caged hens (conventional cages) are standing on wire slats that allow feces to fall to a manure collection system beneath the hens.  Conversely, free-range hens (cage-free) laid their eggs in nest boxes on shavings and the eggs remained in contact with hens, shavings and fecal material until they are collected.  The longer contact time with free-range hens, shavings and feces would explain the higher enterobacteriaceae counts (pathogenic bacteria) on free-range eggs as compared to battery caged eggs."

4) As to the welfare of caged hens compared to cage-free, any reasoning person can see just watching that hens peck each other to establish the pecking order.  In a caged environment, the number of hens are minimized compared to the hundreds on the floor where the lower hen on the pecking order is pecked more often.  That would help explain what mortality among cage-free hens has been shown to be as high as 28% of the total flock compared to 9% for caged layers (North Carolina State University).  Furthermore, the immune response (measured from hematological and immunological indices at NC State) showed free-range chickens with poorer immune response thus leaving the chicken more vulnerable to disease.  Logically then, caged layers have lower stress when noting the mortality and immune response investigations.  

We hope your readers realize the narrative of the author criticizing Hillandale is misinformed as today’s conventional cages provide humanely for the chickens while providing a safe and wholesome egg.

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