Layer hen bill introduced

February 2012

By Dr. Whitney Miller, assistant director of the AVMA GRD

On January 23, veterinarian Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) introduced H.R. 3798, the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012. This bill codifies an agreement reached between the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States to establish a uniform national standard for the housing and treatment of egg-laying hens.

After extensive deliberations, the AVMA Executive Board approved a Legislative Advisory Committee (LAC) recommendation to "Support" the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments. While reviewing the LAC's recommendation, the Executive Board also reviewed memos sent to the LAC from the Animal Welfare Committee and Animal Agricultural Liaison Committee. The Animal Welfare Committee recommended that the AVMA "Support" the legislation, while the Animal Agricultural Liaison Committee recommended "Non-Support." The Executive Board cited the welfare of animals as a major factor in their decision to "Support" the legislation. However, in making its decision, the Executive Board expressed concerns about the implications of establishing federal oversight for animal housing and management on the farm.

The committees and the Executive Board were provided with AVMA policies on Layer Hen Housing Systems; Induced Molting of Layer Chickens; information on A Comparison of Conventional Cage, Furnished Cage, and Non-cage (Barn and Outdoor/Free-range) Systems for Housing Laying Hens and a backgrounder on Welfare Implications of Laying Hen Housing.

For more information please contact Dr. Whitney Miller, assistant director, AVMA Governmental Relations Division.

The AVMA Advocate - News Bites - February 2012