Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Big Livestock Fights Egg Farming Regulations

"Battery" Caged Hens
Let me start off by saying that I don’t have an issue with the Humane Society. This article notes the progress the Humane Society has made to standardize the living conditions for egg-producing hens—basically allowing that these animals have larger cages.

While I don’t believe the measure goes nearly far enough, I do applaud the Humane Society for making the effort. A small change is often the predecessor of larger changes, and any effort is better than none at all.

Pasture Raised Hens
Of course, I don’t believe that hens should ever be caged. I don’t believe cages—no matter how large—are humane. Additionally, a caged hen produces eggs that are less nutritious than the eggs from a hen that is raised in a pasture.

But that’s not the reason that this article really disturbs me. As the article notes, an egg industry trade group wants the standards to be applied and regulated universally, meaning that every factory-farm egg producer would have to use those standards (the standards do NOT apply to those raising pastured eggs). This has created an uproar from associated industries—namely Big Livestock. They are afraid that the regulations may spread to the treatment of their animals, so, predictably, they are fighting them.

I won’t link to the youtube videos of inhumane treatment of cattle—you can find them easily enough. It says a lot about Big Livestock that they don’t want any regulations to come forward concerning the living arrangements of their animals. They claim that it’s an economic issue, and they’re right. Because, if the general public becomes aware of the inhumane and unhealthy way they are raising their livestock, they’ll go out of business.