Name: Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013
Number: HR 1731 and S 820
The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013 would change existing standards for housing, treating hens kept for the production of eggs, as well as providing truth in labeling for the sale of these eggs. These bills propose a phasing in of larger cage sizes and the use of cages with enrichment for the birds, including the provision of adequate perch space, dust bathing or scratching areas, and nest space. The standards would be based on the best available science, and not on customary agricultural practices. The legislation would allow egg producers 15 years before full compliance with the law, with the exception of labeling provisions, which would become effective immediately.
These provisions would provide significant reforms in the egg-producing industry which has resisted efforts to provide better living conditions for laying hens. These bills also provide penalties for noncompliance, which would be a key factor in ensuring that egg producers adopt these measures. The European Union has adopted similar provisions, though individual countries have been slow to comply with the new law.
While some states have already considered provisions for improving the conditions of laying hens, the economic disadvantage to any single state requiring better standards of care for its egg industry has been a serious deterrent to the passage of these bills. By adopting these provisions at the national level, egg producers will be on a level playing field in marketing eggs for hens living in better cages.
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