Welfare Not Directly Linked to System Choice



The choice for a free range production system does not automatically lead to a better welfare situation for laying hens. This is the conclusion of David Burch, Octagon Services when writing about management in the Veterinary Record Journal.


According to Burch, research shows that the highest hen mortality was found in free-range and organic flocks, closely followed by barns; almost double that of caged flocks. The mortality of hens in cages over a 52-week laying period was 5.39% and the mortality in free-range hens was 9.52%, 77%.

The variability in flock mortality or standard deviation (sd) was also higher, with cages at 3.05% and free range at 7.41%, a 143% increase.

This comes as no surprise, free range hens come in to contact with more potential disease sources. Outdoor risks include a variety of bacteria, such as Salmonella, Clostridium and Brachyspira species, protozoa such as Eimeria species and helminth eggs. Free-range hens have a propensity to drink from potentially contaminated puddles, continues Burch, aiding the transmission of infections.

In a recent survey in Great Britain (Burch and others 2009), free-range flocks developed Brachyspira species infections, the cause of avian intestinal spirochaetosis, as early as 22 weeks of age, soon after point of lay at 20 weeks of age. Caged flocks became infected with Brachyspira species much later, at 36 weeks of age. Free-range flocks were also statistically significantly associated with poor performance (less than 285 eggs per hen housed) in comparison with caged flocks.

Not all free-range flocks are bad, concludes Burch. All systems, if they are well managed and remain disease free, can have low mortality. However, those systems that have outdoor access have additional management difficulties, such as the weather, predators, lack of biosecurity and direct contact with faecal material, which makes the responsibilities of management even greater and more necessary, if they truly want to be considered more 'welfare friendly'.

by World Poultry Mar 26, 2013


Market Pressures Will Dictate Animal Welfare Standards


Market pressures, more so than laws and regulations, are likely to end the use of controversial practices in livestock production. The trend is already becoming visible, with major fast food chains and other restaurants prohibiting their suppliers from using gestation crates in hog production, said Joy Mench, professor at the University of California-Davis. The stalls are intended to prevent aggressive behavior among pregnant sows but are controversial because they restrict the animals' movement. Mench said she expects the hog industry to end the use of crates within 10 to 15 years at the insistence of major pork buyers. "It won't have been done through legislation. It will have been done by the retailers.”


Response to UEP Trademarking "Egg Farmers of America"

  1. 1.Egg Farmers of America Trademarked by UEP


We can no longer use the name “Egg Farmers of America” since UEP has filed for the trademark effective February 11, 2014.  Below is the letter sent to Randon Wilson, UEP’s legal counsel.  This demonstrates how effective we have become in defeating the egg bill, in supporting the King amendment in the Farm Bill, in assisting the MO Attorney General in getting support from 5 other Attorneys General in the lawsuit filed against the California egg law, and in rebutting the misinformation in the press about today’s modern conventional cage systems.  The name of an organization is incidental to the effectiveness of the organization.  We are effective and will continue to expand our membership.  As to a new name, a number of suggestions have been made and researched.

Subject: Re: Egg Farmers of America

Dear Mr. Wilson,

This is in response to your letter dated March 7, 2014 claiming  ownership by your client United Egg Producers (UEP) of a trademark for the name "Egg Farmers of America". As the General Counsel of UEP you are well aware that this name has been used by the Egg Farmers of America since 2011. The agreement among Egg Farmers of America and the original representative to Egg Farmers of America, the Russell Group, Arlington, VA, dates to September 23, 2011.  In a letter to the House Agriculture Committee December 2011, Egg Farmers of America joined with the National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen & Beef Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation and several others in opposition to the UEP-HSUS agreement and legislation introduced in the House (H.R. 3798) and Senate (S.3239) which codified the UEP-HSUS agreement. On March 12, 2012 in Agri-Pulse, a Washington, DC journal under the heading “Do you want new federal standards in animal care?’, stated “despite UEP’s push within the egg industry, not all members are indeed united.  A group of small and medium sized egg producers called ‘Egg Farmers of America’ opposes the bill.” In a letter to the House Agriculture Committee dated January 13, 2013  the Egg Farmers of America expressed their opposition to UEP-HSUS agreement and the legislation introduced in the House and Senate to codify that agreement. On July 26, 2012  the Egg Farmers of America testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee in opposition to the legislation to implement the UEP-HSUS agreement to codify a national standard for egg production. 


Your letter to me states that your client UEP first used these terms only in October 30, 2013. Thus your registration of this service mark is deceptive on its face. We note that your letter is conveniently vague on UEP's use of these words on that date.

Your registration is particularly egregious because it is very transparently an attempt to stifle all opportunity for the Egg Farmers of America to register their opposition to your clients' agreement. It is an attempt to deny them their constitutional right to petition their government. This is not an action that will be favorably viewed by either the courts or your fellow members of the bar.

 We  have consulted with counsel  and have no doubt that we can successfully contest your deceptively obtained service mark in court and prevail.  However, we have no intention at this particular time of bringing suit against you because we know that egg farmers do not need to be involved in any more expensive litigation than UEP has already involved them in. We reserve our right to bring legal action against your client at a future date to not only contest these allegations but to pursue any  additional causes of action available.   I can assure you, few things would give me more pleasure than seeing Chad and Gene Gregory deposed under oath. 



Ken Klippen

Klippen & Associates, LLC

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