The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is crowing about a “Landmark Agreement to Help Millions of Hens”. The agreement made between HSUS and the United Egg Producers (UEP) was announced July 7th on the blog page of HSUS President and CEO, Wayne Pacelle and is a clear sign that HSUS is swimming with the sharks.
UEP is the egg industry’s powerful lobbying machine, otherwise called a “trade association”, and is akin to the great white shark in the pool that HSUS has taken a dive into.
Landmark agreement, indeed! All signs within this agreement are that HSUS has thrown in the towel in protecting egg laying hens in the United States. Previous positions of the organization have been to put an end to caged hens and their miserable life cranking out a steady supply of eggs.
Industrial egg production and the use of cages to strictly confine hens has been a major source of contention with animal welfare organizations for many years. Commonly known as “battery cages”, hens are forced to crank out eggs during a short life span (less than 2 years) spent confined in cages. Life for the hens in cages is one which prohibits natural behaviors of chickens such as spreading of wings, dust bathing, and freedom of walking or running. Over 90 percent of all eggs produced in the US come from caged hens.
With a twist of words, HSUS has changed its opposition from battery cages to “barren” battery cages and is supportive of industrial production utilizing “enriched colony caging”. Quite frankly, a cage is a cage. Call it what it is!
This new position by HSUS is seen by many as cozying up to the big boys of industrial agriculture and by all appearances is an agreement by lobbying professionals to put a pretty face on the ugly realities of egg production and the lack of welfare toward the hens producing.
Have 11 million members (membership claims by HSUS) decided that it’s okay to keep hens in cages? Clearly anyone concerned about the welfare standards of industrial egg laying hens would not see trading one cage for another as a great improvement or a landmark agreement to help millions of hens.
With its new posturing, HSUS has taken a giant stride backwards. By all intentions of the agreement made with UEP, landmark legislation banning battery cages will fall by the wayside. The professional lobbyist’s of HSUS and UEP will ask our illustrious politicians in Washington, DC to pass legislation for standards for egg laying hens and labeling of products for consumers which will supersede any state legislation.
HSUS President Pacelle is putting a face of HSUS and UEP being one big happy family working together to solve issues and Oregon’s 3rd District Congressman ,Earl Blumenauer, commends both organizations for their happy face and suggests that the Oregon Congress can learn from their example of compromise. What a crock!
Compromising an animals’ wellbeing is not an option for those who are advocating for animal welfare. HSUS should have the highest standards in mind for farm animal welfare however there appears to be a trend developing, by the organization, of the opposite in mind.
The trend is to find compromise of the highest degree where farm animals are concerned to allow for industrial production and distribution acceptable behavior which is not up to the highest animal welfare standards. Historically and traditionally, HSUS has been noted for its protection of animals and public perception has been of an organization concerned ONLY for an animal’s wellbeing.
Has the old dragon of animal protection been slain only to rise from the ashes as an advocate of acceptable standards which are not of the highest concerns of animal welfare? Regardless of the amount of “spin” HSUS puts on this issue let’s just say “if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck”!