Three views of the flap over the proposed federal laying hen regulation

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  September 2012:

It is not surprising that the pork and beef industries are desperately trying to kill federal legislation-HR.3798/S.3239-to ban barren battery cages for egg-laying hens. What’s saddening-and disturbing-is that the Humane Farming Association is also trying to kill the bill.  Let’s be clear:  HFA has never passed a law to ban any farm animal confinement system anywhere.  HFA refused to support California’s Proposition Two in 2008, which mandated more space for various farm animals, and never endorsed either the Arizona or Florida farm animal ballot measures that set up the possibility of success in California. HFA also actively opposed legislation in California to ban the force-feeding of ducks to produce foie gras. Had HFA had its way and the bill not been enacted,  ducks in California would likely still be having pipes shoved down their throats daily.

As groups like HSUS, Farm Sanctuary, and Mercy For Animals continue to pass laws criminalizing various factory farming practices-including a new law we just passed in Rhode Island banning gestation and veal crates-HFA chooses not to support those campaigns.

You can’t just be against everything; you have to be for something.  In regards to the hundreds of millions of laying hens trapped in barren battery cages,  HFA offers no pragmatic solution to help them-only criticism. –Matthew Dominguez, Public Policy Manager Farm Animal Protection, Humane Society of the U.S. 2100 L Street NW. Washington,  DC 20037 Phone:  202-452-1100 <mdominguez@humanesociety.org> <www.hsus.org>

What’s wrong with HR 3798 has nothing to do with hens. As a Californian I am proud of the political ideals for which our state is famous.  Here’s one:   “As goes California, so goes the nation.”   We like being a forward state.  Many of us prefer state’s rights because we like having better pollution laws than any other state.  We resist having federal laws imposed on us that would diminish protection of our air, water and ocean.  We also respect voters’ rights.  Many people gave time, money and love to passing Proposition Two, and expected better results than have been delivered. In 1991, when a small group of us were drafting the best pet store bill ever written, Pet Industries Joint Advisory Council attorney Marshall Meyers asked me how big I wanted the puppies’ cages to be.  I said, “Big enough so that each individual can stand up, sit down, lie down, and turn around without head or body touching the top or sides of the cage.”  I also put all the power in the hands of law enforcement, with the possibility that any violation could be a wobbler [prosecutable as either a misdemeanor or a felony].  At that time, I represented the Contra Costa County SPCA.  We had 63 wobblers in one year from a Docktor’s Pet store in Concord, California.  In 2007, HSUS reduced that law to three warnings and an infraction.  One has to wonder why a humane society would do that, especially since many SPCAs opposed it, as did the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

Other assaults have been made on other excellent California laws through unholy alliances with the opposition. –Sherry E. DeBoer, Political Animals Carmel,  California <SherryDeBoer@aol.com>

I read “Another Chicken Activist’s Perspective on Federal Legal Protection for Hens” from your April 2012 edition on <www.animalpeoplenews.org>, and share your concern with how chickens are treated.  I’ve been raising chickens for six years and fortunately can let them roam free on acres of grass, garden, and woods.  I have great appreciation for these wonderful birds.

Two years ago while we were on vacation one of our hens began sitting on a clutch of eggs.  The eggs hatched soon after we returned.  Watching that hen raise her chicks was a transforming experience.  I had no idea that the bond between a hen and her chicks was so strong.  After observing more of my hens hatch and rear their young,  I came to the conclusion that every chick deserves a mother.

I realize that this extremely old-fashioned, slow way of raising chickens will never replace factory farms, but I still think it is important that people know how complex chickens actually are.

I published a book, Every Chicken Deserves a Mother, describing and illustrating the love and care that chickens are capable of. –-Daniel Voran, P.O. Box 186, Bow, WA  98232 <idv@me.com>

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