Los Angeles Radio KCRW interviews National Egg Farmers Over Prop 12

On September 25th Ken Klippen was interviewed by David Weinburg, a reporter for the Los Angeles radio station KCRW about California’s Prop 12, the cage-free initiative before the voters this year. He asked Klippen about the proposition and heard the history behind Prop 2 in 2008 and now Prop 12 in 2018.  Klippen explained how consumers in California were being misled into thinking Prop 12 would improve the welfare of chickens.  He explained the “pecking order” among chickens establishing dominance. Klippen explained it was more humane to confine chickens into smaller populations of 6-8 birds in a cage as opposed to thousands loose on the ground.  Those cage-free chickens lower in the pecking order are often pecked to death.  It has led to higher mortality among cage-free chickens.  He stated “Forcing chickens into production systems that increases mortality is inhumane”.  Klippen also spoke of Dr. Ivan Alvarado, DVM with Merck Global Business reporting on the external parasites in cage-free farms. 83% of European cage-free egg farms are already infested with poultry red mites. All 27 member nations in the EU are about 40% cage-free compared to 16% in the U.S.. The approved medication in Europe for this parasite is not approved in the U.S.  Klippen stated “Subjecting poultry to parasites without the benefit of approved medication is inhumane”. Currently, Klippen noted that California is struggling with a major poultry disease (Virulent Newcastle Disease) with approximately 140 outbreaks in backyard (free-range flocks).  Once discovered, these chickens have to be destroyed.  This is not occurring in conventional farming methods using cages. Klippen stated “Forcing chickens into production systems where they contract poultry diseases is inhumane”. He also noted the report from The US Animal Health Association October 17, 2017 which stated: “Ascarids (round worms) are increasingly being found in cage-free operations.” Chickens pick up roundworms when they come into contact with infected feces on the ground. How will listeners the Los Angeles react to finding round worms in their eggs? When asked about a compromise, Klippen explained how the conventional cages are an improvement to how eggs were produced 50 years ago.