Kraft Foods Urged to Re-Consider Cage-Free Policy

To the Board of Directors at Kraft Foods

On December 12, 2017 The National Association of Egg Farmers, representing egg farmers nationwide, respectfully urged Kraft Foods to reconsider its policy on sourcing eggs only from cage-free egg production flocks.  There are four reasons why farmers have evolved to producing eggs with chickens in cages.



1.Food Safety and Security


Food safety is paramount and refutes claims that cage-free improves egg safety. Penn State researchers have found that eggs from small flocks of chickens are more likely to be contaminated with Salmonella enteritidis as eggs sold in grocery stores, which typically come from larger flocks. The analysis of the Salmonella enteritidis present in the eggs from small flocks shows they are the same types commonly reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from human foodborne outbreaks.


  1. 2.Human Health and Welfare

A study conducted by the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply reported that the cage-free system had dust levels 8-10 times higher than other systems. In addition, the cage-free system resulted in high worker exposure to endotoxin dust particles and reduced lung function by the end of a shift.

  1. 3.Sustainable Egg Production Systems

The rush by retailers and food manufacturers to source their egg needs from cage-free facilities must consider these facts on sustainability.The cost to implement new barns for cage-free chickens needed is calculated at $45 per chicken.  For 200 million chickens producing for retailers demanding cage-free systems, that’s a capital investment of $9 billion. Cage-free egg production costs are determined to be 36% higher than conventional.

  1. 4.Animal Welfare and Husbandry

The Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply reported at International Poultry Production and Processing Exposition in Atlanta, GA on January 26, 2016:

Total accumulated mortality was highest in the cage-free system (11.5 percent), due to aggressive pecking and cannibalism. It was 4.7 percent in conventional cages. This results from the hens establishing a pecking order among the chickens in a flock. Conventional cages reduces the size of this population and thus reduces the stress caused from pecking.

Keel bone breakage was highest in the cage-free system. Increased keel bone breakage was confirmed with New Research at the University of California-Davis. This new research study shows the majority of breast bone damage originates from collisions with perches in cage-free environments. Dr. Maja Makagon, assistant professor of applied animal behavior at University of California, Davis’ Department of Animal Science, noted the increased bone breakage in cage-free systems.



Support for HR 2887 "No Regulation without Representation"

The National Association of Egg Farmers sent an invitation on September 27th to the state poultry & egg associations listed below to join them in resisting the Humane Society of the United States in their second California ballot initiative effort by supporting Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner's bill HR 2887 "No Regulation without Represenation". Attached is the letter sent to the associations.

Alabama Poultry & Egg
Arkansas Poultry Federation
California Egg Farmers Association
California Poultry Federation
Connecticut Poultry Association
Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.
Florida Poultry Association
Georgia Poultry Federation
Illinois Poultry Industry Council
Indiana State Poultry Association
Iowa Poultry Association
Iowa Turkey Federation
Kansas Poultry Association
Kentucky Poultry Federation
Louisiana Egg Commission
Michigan Allied Poultry Industries, Inc.
Midwest Poultry Federation (Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota)
Mississippi Poultry Association
Missouri Poultry Federation
Nebraska Poultry Industries
North Carolina Egg Association
North Carolina Poultry Federation, Inc.
Ohio Poultry Association
The Poultry Federation Oklahoma
Oregon (Pacific Northwest Poultry Council)
PennAg Industries Association Poultry Council
South Carolina Poultry Federation
Tennessee Egg and Poultry Association
Texas Poultry Federation
Virginia Egg Council
Virginia Poultry Federation
Wisconsin Poultry & Egg Industries Association

Letter sent:

We are reaching out to all state poultry & egg associations. Please help us in being proactive in stopping the Humane Society of the U.S.

We are writing you to urge support for Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner's bill HR 2887 "No Regulation without Representation" in hopes of ending the efforts of the Humane Society of the U.S. in establishing production standards for eggs layers and gestation sows, and eventually for all of animal agriculture. (Bill copied below). HSUS has already stated publicly this legislation is their number one target to defeat in Congress. The National Association of Egg Farmers has come out in support of the bill as we have seen how one ballot initiative in California is not enough for the activists.

Recently I debated with Wayne Pacelle, President of HSUS, on California Public Radio. Here's the audio tape showing our egg farmers are willing to fight this second ballot initiative in California.:

But we need more than simply defense against the activists. We need to go on the offense and that is what Rep. Sensenbrenner's bill will do. We urge you to contact your Representatives, especially those on the House Judiciary Committee, to get this bill through committee and on the Floor of the House of Representatives. After doing so, please let us know. Please help us do this for the sake of animal agriculture in the U.S.

Ken Klippen, President

H. R. 2887 To regulate certain State impositions on interstate commerce.
JUNE 12, 2017
Mr. SENSENBRENNER (for himself, Mr. GOODLATTE, Mr. DESJARLAIS, Mr. MCCLINTOCK, Mr. GROTHMAN, Mr. MEADOWS, Mr. CONAWAY, and Mr. TROTT) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To regulate certain State impositions on interstate commerce.


HSUS and NAEF Battle Over CA Ballot Initiative for Cage-Free

HSUS and NAEF Battle Over CA Ballot Initiative for Cage-Free

On September 1, 2017 Wayne Pacelle, HSUS President, debated Ken Klippen, NAEF on KPCC, Southern California Public Radio.

The subject was the new California ballot initiative to eliminate cages for all eggs sold in California.  The debate lasted about 15 minutes and Pacelle claimed the ballot initiative would lock-in the pledges from the retailers and restaurant chains that are sourcing their eggs from cage-free farms in the near future.  He added that the 2008 ballot initiative led to California farmers simply making the cages bigger when HSUS intended no cages.  Klippen countered that claim saying the HSUS pressed for national egg legislation for larger cages just a few years ago, so his claims are misinforming the listeners.  Klippen also countered the claim that taking the chickens out of cages would reduce their stress.  He cited the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Production research results showing mortality was double in cage-free systems. The radio announcer asked about reducing stress and Klippen explained the pecking order inherent in chickens. Klippen added that the claims cage-free only adds pennies to the cost of egg production by citing USDA statistics for 2016 showing California egg prices averaged 90% greater than the rest of the nation.  Pacelle countered that 2016 was the year of Avian Influenza (Pacelle was off a whole year as AI was in 2015).

Pacelle had the final word and challenged the size of NAEF saying the UEP represented 90% of the egg industry and they are neutral on this new ballot initiative.  Attacking in this way usually signals that we were getting under Pacelle's skin.  We were ready to counter his claim with our own statistics on numbers of layers, but the radio segment ended with that last salvo by Pacelle.

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