Mr. Berman goes on to say that such legislation would have the “consequence of scrambling the marketplace.” In fact, the legislation would have the exact opposite affect – avoiding a patchwork quilt of 50 differing state laws on how eggs are produced – with a single national standard that all egg farmers could follow.
He goes on to quote “scientists have declared the modern cage egg production systems used in the U.S. to be humane and ethical.” In fact, the national standard being proposed is a cage system …just larger with some enrichments such as a nest box and perches – supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association, Temple Grandin, American Association of Avian Pathologists and many more animal welfare experts. The national standard we are proposing also has the support of the Humane Society of the United States.
Mr. Berman suggests that egg prices could “skyrocket.” He ignores an independent economic study released last year that indicates that egg prices would likely rise less than 2 cents per dozen over a period of 18 years.
He says that such legislation would hurt small farmers. Yet farmers with fewer than 3,000 hens are specifically exempted from the proposed standard. He says that he is concerned that “consumer choice” would be lost, when in fact consumers support these enriched colony cages by a margin of 12-to-1 and consumers would continue to have their choice of eggs from cages, cage-free, and organic production systems.
Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office said the proposed legislation last year would not carry any taxpayer cost.
That’s just some of the reasons that most egg farmers, consumer groups, animal welfare scientists support a national standard for egg production, and why we will seek to have the Egg Bill introduced again this year in Congress.
Gregory is president of the United Egg Producers.