Animal Rights Legislation: Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013

The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013 S. 820/H.R. 1731 is a bipartisan bill proposed by legislators such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Reps. Kurt Schrader (D, OR), Jeff Denham (R, CA), Sam Farr (D, CA), and Mike Fitzpatrick (R, PA). It establishes a minimum federal standard for egg production that would satisfy conflicting state laws concerning the same measure. This bill has been promoted by both animal welfare activists as well as egg producers such as United Egg Producers that represents over 90 percent of egg producing farmers in the United States.

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The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013 proposes:

  • A phase-in method that would require that conventional cages be replaced by colony housing systems that will double the space chickens are allowed.
  • Environmental improvements that offer perches, nesting boxes, and scratching areas to facilitate their natural behavior.
  • Mandate labeling on all egg cartons in the US that state: “eggs from caged hens,” “eggs from hens in enriched cages,” “eggs from cage-free hens,” and “eggs from free-range hens”.
  • Prohibit feed- or water-withdrawal molting to extend the laying cycle.
  • Require standards of euthanasia of egg-laying hens supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
  • Restrict the ammonia levels found in hen houses.
  • Prohibit the transport and sale of egg products that do not meet these specifications.
  • Explicitly state that this bill applies only to commercial egg production.

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The purview of this bill is to improve the substandard conditions of egg-laying hens. It is an improvement to the already substandard (to say the least) conditions that hens suffer for egg production. Hens are currently offered 48 to 67 square inches of space. This measure would increase their spaces to a minimum of 124 to 144 square inches of space over the next 15 to 16 years. California has an approved measure that would implement these conditions sooner.

This bill being supported by both the Humane Society and egg production farmers does improve hens’ living conditions while sustaining the egg industry. It is a bipartisan compromise and one worthy of support by both sides of the aisle. That said, this bill merely offers slight relief to the conditions hens must suffer for the commercial egg industry. The horrible fact is, this bill needs support by anyone favoring the improvement of hens’ living standards. It’s a double edged sword, and in my opinion does not go far enough. It needs support however, and anything is better than nothing.

Below are videos uncovering the conditions of hens who are forced to produce their embryonic fluid for human consumption.

Legal fight for GMO labeling

Recently, we’ve seen various measures proposed across a few of our states in the U.S. for the disclosure of genetically modified foods (GMO). What we have seen is a huge backlash against such measures, and exorbitant amounts of money infused into these campaigns to keep secret how our food and seeds are commercially processed.

Some of the names behind these campaigns aren’t a big mystery. Among the proponents can be found industries such as DuPont, Monsanto, Bayer, and DOW. Companies who have a huge interest in not only keeping their names under wraps in this fight, but also the more obvious reasons for keeping the truths about their GMO products as quiet as possible. What they would like is for us as citizens to not know what we are consuming. They have fought this battle with rhetoric questioning the legitimacy of the science behind whether GMOs are actually harmful to us. The fact remains, that whether it be proven or not, our food and seed productions are being altered… genetically altered, and for many of us, we simply wish to know what’s being genetically engineered so we can make a choice as to whether to consume these products or not.

The popularity over organic foods has been growing, plant based diets are on the rise, and an awareness of the man-made restructuring of agriculture is increasingly becoming a hot topic. Personally, I couldn’t prove to you the detriment of consuming GMO foods, or growing GMO seeds, but that has actually been rather irrelevant over this debate. What is relevant is the suspicious nature of using the science behind such practices to try and keep these practices quiet. Whether it is seriously harmful to our bodies or not doesn’t need to be proven. If my food is being restructured somehow, then I, like many others, feel we have a right to know which foods are being restructured genetically.

The fight against GMO labeling that comes from industries such as DOW and Monsanto are particularly troubling considering these are the companies who have brought us Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. A product used for the mass destruction of vegetation in the fields of Vietnam, and long known to cause serious health issues. Now Monsanto has genetically engineered seeds to withstand the effects of their powerful herbicides. They have done this by infusing herbicidal genes into the seeds themselves. These seeds, and their herbicides are what we consume, along with a myriad of pesticides.

There may be plenty of people who have no problem with consuming these foods, but there are a growing number of people who would obviously choose not to. The fight isn’t about banning these consumables, but simply shedding a little light on the matter, and giving us a choice, plain and simple. It is outrageous to think that 40 million dollars, matched against 13 million dollars was used in California to to kill Proposition 37 which would have required the labeling of genetically engineered food. One wonders why such a gross amount of money was spent to to kill a seemingly harmless bill. Who would lose out if they were labeled? Do companies such as Monsanto not want us to know what they’re doing? Why not? And it is especially disconcerting to learn that the fight against GMOs has been waged by both political parties. It was in California that the Democratic committee, when sending out fliers on which measures the Democrats supported, a No on 37 was included in that. I won’t even go into the absurdity of a political party suggesting what measures to vote on with no argument for against the measure, as though we were all blind sheep.