The animal rights movement, led by HSUS, believes that it’s morally abhorrent to raise and eat animals for nutrition. So, naturally, they’re opposed to animal agriculture. Over the last decade they’ve launched an unprecedented assault on modern farming designed to weaken consumer confidence in our food supply.
Recently, they have:
- Tried to pass a Trojan Horse law in Missouri that would have allowed them to attack the state’s agriculture,
- Attacked egg farmers in California,
- Tried to pass new laws giving the federal government unprecedented control over the day-to-day operations of farmers and ranchers,
- Pressured major corporations to stop doing business with most pork producers,
- Filed a series of lawsuits to intimidate America’s pork industry, and,
- Launched an effort to destroy the Beef Checkoff.
HSUS And The Missouri Trojan Puppy Law (Proposition B)
In 2010, HSUS funded a successful effort to pass Proposition B, the deceptively titled Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, in Missouri.The law contained hidden provisions that threatened the entirety of Missouri agriculture.
Thankfully, Missouri’s farming community joined together to deliver a stunning defeat to HSUS in the state legislature and nullified the danger posed by Proposition B. For a full account of this epic Show-Me State battle, watch the brief mini-documentary “The People vs. HSUS” from Missouri Farmers Care, below.
HSUS’s Rotten Eggs
Currently, Congress is considering H.R. 3798, AKA the Egg Products Inspection Act of 2012. The bill is a result of an agreement between the radical animal rights group, HSUS (AKA The Humane Society of the United States), and the United Egg Producers.
On its face, the bill is an attempt to create new federal standards for the way in which egg-laying chickens are housed. However, farming and agriculture advocates call HR 3798 a “one-size-fits-all farm takeover bill” that will drive up the cost of food, kill jobs and could make our food supply less safe.
Below, we’ll explore how HR 3798 came about, and what its impact could be.
California’s Prop 2: The Assault Begins
In 2008, HSUS led an initiative petition campaign to change how California egg farmers housed their chickens. California is one of our nation’s top egg producers, and a victory for the radical animal rights groups here would impact all American egg producers.
Studies proved that the current battery cage system (which was developed using scientific standards for animal welfare) for housing chickens was safer, cleaner and less expensive than the cage-free system HSUS and other animal rights extremists claimed to prefer (“The Egg Industry and Animal Welfare” published by UEP 2006). Specifically, the battery cage system was found to have the following advantages (Report by Scientific Advisory Committee for Animal Welfare, UEP, 2 August 2008):
- Improved health and chickens were separated from their feces,
- Reduced incidences of pecking and cannibalism and, therefore, a reduced need for beak trimming,
- Better environmental control,
- Protection from predators,
- Reduced risk of smothering,
- Improved foot health for chickens,
- Better egg production,
- Improved egg cleanliness,
- Easier management by personnel.
A study by independent industry analysts showed that moving to cage free systems would produce the following disastrous effects (“Impacts of Banning Cage Egg Production in the United States”, Promar International, 2009):
- Egg farmers would have to absorb $7.5 Billion in new costs,
- Egg prices would skyrocket by at least 25%,
- Consumers would pay $2.6 Billion more for eggs, each year, hurting poor Californians most,
- Federal spending on welfare programs like WIC would balloon by $169 Million dollars to cover the increased cost of eggs and egg products,
- Egg farmers would need an extra 588,000 acres of land to meet the new regulations and to house enough chickens to make up for the increased chicken mortality rate in cage-free systems.
Despite these concerns, Proposition 2 passed as the radical animal rights lobby spent millions to confuse and deceive voters. This shook the leaders of the egg industry at UEP, and they began looking for a way to make peace with the radical animalists at HSUS.
In July 2011, HSUS and the United Egg Producers (UEP) announced an agreement to jointly advocate for new federal standards for egg farmers. These new standards would over-turn all state regulations on egg farmers and would give the federal government unprecedented control over farmers and egg producers.
The agreement, now codified in HR 3798, would force all egg farmers to install “enriched cage systems” by 2029 and would immediately ban farmers from installing any cages that could not eventually be “upgraded” to the new requirements.
However, not all egg farmers were happy with the deal. They formed a new coalition, Egg Farmers of America, to oppose the legislation. This new coalition was joined by the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Pork Producers Council and other farming advocates who opposed the deal.
These groups oppose the new legislation, because:
- The new regulations are needless as the current system has already been scientifically proven to better protect chickens and produce safer food,
- The new regulations represent an unprecedented federal take-over of farming standards, over-turning state regulations and asserting federal government bureaucracy over farmers,
- The new regulations would cost farmers nearly $10 Billion that they don’t have,
- The cost for eggs, and products that include eggs, would skyrocket.
The coalition included these concerns in a letter to Congress that you can find here.
Lessons from Europe:
Regulations similar to HR 3798 have taken effect in Europe, to increasingly disastrous result. In 1999, the EU passed council directive 1999/74/ED that bans the use of conventional cages for laying hens by 2012, permitting only the enriched cage system favored in the HSUS/UEP Agreement or cage-free systems.
A 2010 study predicted that if the EU mandate were enforced, it would result in a 29% shortage of eggs. Further, the study predicted increased production costs, increased importation of eggs from countries with lower standards or unverifiable standards and increased globalization of food production (“The 2012 EU Ban On Conventional Cages and Its Effect”, by Nick Chippindale for the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust).
An article in The Guardian demonstrates that the concerns voiced in the 2010 study are coming true. The UK is currently in the midst of a growing food crisis as eggs are becoming scarce, as are products that include eggs (like ice cream).
In the EU, the price of wholesale eggs has nearly quadrupled and some producers expect the price of egg yolks to grow by 70%.
If HR 3798 passes and the HSUS/UEP agreement becomes law, the US can expect a similar fate.