Hen battery cages debated

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Two editorials hit the Pack News Wire this morning, crossing the vast canyon of the animal welfare debate. One rightfully calls for new, more humane practices within the egg-production industry. The other uses scare tactics and wild clams and pricing predictions and financial mumbo-jumbo – and everything but concern for the chickens packed into tiny cages for the entire span of their lives.

First, lets go to Mindy Patterson’s editorial posted on American Thinker website. Her thoughts really don’t match up at all with logical thinking, but I guess warped thinking is some sort of thinking. Patterson is speaking out strongly against US Senate Bill S. 3239, which would require more space for hens – by 2029.

Before I get to Patterson’s rant, I have to say that the obvious injustice in an otherwise forward step to more humane practices on factory farms is the length of time that hens will continue to suffer. Why 17 years? A kid born today could be getting ready for high school graduation in 2029. But still, the supporters of inhumane practices on factory farms are crying that is too much?

In the middle of her scare-tactic tirade, she claims the “regulations may seem reasonable on the surface,” but it’s all a plot by the Humane Society of the US to push for “cleverly crafted laws.” So for that side, even if it’s reasonable, if it’s pushed by the HSUS, it’s wrong?

And she throws this one at the readers: “HSUS’ goal is to provide relief to chickens, not provide food for humans.” And her point is what? – How dare a Humane Society try to end the torture of chickens? It’s like saying – ‘Weight Watchers goal is to help people loose weight, not provide donuts and sodas for overweight people.’ Oh the horrors.

She wraps up the editorial by quoting Henry Kissenger with,  “If you control the food supply, you control the people.”  And calls the move for more humane practices on factory farms – “food tyranny.” I hope the SNL writers are reading this.

Thankfully, we have folks like Tim Vande Bunte on the other side of the debate. In his editorial posted Friday on MLive.com out of Michigan, he calls for the new legislation to be enacted, to provide “enriched colony housing which will provide hens with nearly double the amount of space.” And he notes the new rules would provide “perches, nesting boxes and scratching areas that allow the hens to express natural behaviors.”
He cites a report that notes better housing for hens reduces the mortality rates and increases production. And get this, Vande Bunte represents Konos Inc., a family-owned egg producer since 1946.
He notes the new standards are supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Consumer Federation of America and the United Egg Producers.
Would Patterson accuse the United Egg Producers of “food tyranny?”

Any egg producers who use battery cages and are now fighting against new, humane regulations got themselves into this mess. If it is going to cost them money to modify their facilities, they should consider that they should have never gone to battery cages in the first place.