When the United Egg Producers and animal welfare groups such as the Humane Society of the US reached an agreement on improved conditions for hens in factory-farm hatcheries, it was clear that the move was step in the right direction.
The Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary announced today an agreement has been reached with United Egg Producers “which could result in a complete makeover of the U.S. egg industry and improve the treatment of the 280 million laying hens used each year in U.S. egg production” – according to the HSUS press release.
The mission is to ban battery cages and make conditions on factory farms more humane for hens. I hope this agreement will lead to this goal being reached. The US Senate and US House of representatives will still need to pass this legislation and President Obama will have to sign the bill into law.
If passed into law by voters, a ballot measure in Washington State would make life a little better for hens on factory farms.
Factory farms would be required to give hens room enough to stand, turn around and spread their wings. At minimum, this a regulation that needs to be passed nationwide and the implimentation needs to take place as soon as possible.
I found a very interesting article in LiveScience.com, reporting on a study conducted on hens at England’s University of Bristol. It seems the mother hens reacted in a rather extreme way if they felt their chicks were in distress.
It is believed the hens are showing empathy. The hens were separated from the chicks during the experiments but were in close proximity. When puffs of air were directed at the chicks, the hens “responded more intensely with a stress response equivalent to fight-or-flight behavior,” according to the article.