Why NAEF Does Not Side With HSUS

Below is the website in Nation’s Restaurant News where HSUS is showing how the egg industry is in step with their views.  The National Association of Egg Farmers submitted our exceptions to this view, showing a segment of egg farmers who do not support siding with HSUS.



We take exception to the premise by Mr. Matthew Prescott that the egg industry is in step with HSUS.  It’s only the marketing cooperative, UEP, that linked itself with HSUS.  The National Association of Egg Farmers (formerly Egg Farmers of America) actively worked with the other national animal industry groups including the National Pork Producers Council to defeat the national legislation supported by the egg industry’s marketing cooperative and HSUS. 


We opposed the legislation for the lack of science in establishing the guidelines coupled with the fact that one national federal standard would actually have led to the smaller egg farmers throughout the country actually going out of business. Certainly the nation’s restaurants would prefer a healthy, vibrant list of egg suppliers competing for sales to restaurants instead of the consolidation resulting from federal law establishing one national standard. 


Mr. Prescott stated the egg producers had 6 years to make the transition to the larger cages but chose to challenge the law in the courts.  This reflects a simplistic view of complex capital investments.   The larger egg complexes could gradually make the transition Mr. Prescott suggested, but the smaller egg farmers would not be able to because of the egg processing capabilities on those smaller farms. Those smaller egg farmers would be forced to make the conversion in one step leading to an economic disadvantage during the transition years leading to insolvency for them. 


The Humane Society of the U.S. claims better welfare with their enriched cages in one national standard, however consider the facts.  The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in 2010 released a report on the welfare implications of various kinds of housing. (www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/cage_noncage_systems.asp) The report concluded consumers need to balance the hen’s freedom against exposure to potential hazards such as disease vectors and the cannibalism caused by pecking. Certainly cannibalism and pecking are welfare issues, and in conventional cages where the number of chickens is minimized, these concerns are also reduced compared to other systems. Furthermore, Dr. Kenneth Anderson, NC State University, presented his research findings to delegates at the 2010 Midwest Poultry Federation Convention March 16-18, 2010 where he noted that chickens reared in conventional cages had significantly greater numbers of Grade A eggs, significantly greater numbers of total eggs produced, and significantly better feed conversion rates (meaning a lower carbon footprint), and a better immune response (meaning better able to resist disease).  Certainly these are indicators of a healthier chicken and thus better welfare.


The National Association of Egg Farmers is a nationwide association representing all sized egg farms and is working to keep those farmers in the business of providing eggs to restaurants and the nation’s consumers.


Learning from the mistakes of others

The National Association of Egg Farmers remains committed to retaining conventional cage systems and allowing U.S. egg farmers to produce eggs for the consumers in their markets without the dictates of a national law mandating production standards.  This article from Farming UK (see website below) demonstrates the suffering resulting in Europe as a result of implementing their national egg law (EU Council Directive 1999/74/ED on January 1, 2012).  The Germans moved even quicker than the whole of the European Union and implemented a new national law in 2010.  


This article quotes Hans Wilhelm-Windhorst with the International Egg Commission saying that 30% of the German egg farmers will likely become insolvent by October.  Prices have fallen to where producing eggs is unsustainable.  It's interesting to note that Hans Wilhelm-Windhorst was a featured speaker at the January 2013 "Future of the Egg Industry" Forum in Atlanta during the IPPE and he reported the impact on German egg farmers in 2010 led to (1) a loss of egg production, (2) an increase in egg imports from other countries, (3) the forced foreclosure of many egg farms.  

The article shown above in Farming UK reports that egg farmers in Europe need to increase their efficiency, and that consumers want a reduction in price.  When the EU implemented their national egg law, egg farmers made the capital investments to meet the new law only to regret it later.

Will this mistake ever happen in this country?  The National Association of Egg Farmers will fight to retain conventional cage systems for the most efficient and cost-effective method of producing a safe and wholesome egg in the U.S.


New Animal Welfare Program Available to Egg Farmers

A new animal welfare program has been developed for egg farmers that provides the scientific references from 42 research articles substantiating the provisions in the guidelines.  These guidelines have been submitted to the Food Marketing Institute and the National Grocers Association as another option for egg farmers to incorporate into their production practices in response to the animal welfare concerns of consumers requesting science-based standards of production.

The National Association of Egg Farmers is offering this voluntary program free-of-charge to its members.

Today's modern, conventional farming methods provides animals in the care of farmers, protection from inclement weather, predators, and in the case of caged chickens, a year-around supply of optimal temperatures.

The goal of these science-based production practices is to qualify with published research the health and welfare of livestock and to demonstrate the farmer's abiding by the moral obligatoion to provide a healthy environment for the chickens.

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