The Senate Agriculture Committee heard arguments for and against a bill that would set uniform standards for the treatment of egg-laying hens and egg labeling. The measure is the product of an agreement between the United Egg Producers and the U.S. Humane Society. The provisions include phasing in larger cages for hens over the next 18 years. Farmers in favor of the bill described it as vital to the future stability of the industry, while a witness opposed to the measure said it would force many smaller egg farmers to leave the business.
The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 would require egg producers to house their hens in larger cages, which allows them space to nest and perch, and would prevent certain treatment aimed at increasing egg production that is considered inhumane.
The bill would also regulate the labeling of egg cartons to give consumers more information about the animals that produced their eggs.