WA state Senate Bill 5487/House Bill 1813 would actually make it legal and acceptable for egg producers to keep egg laying hens crammed into battery or colony cages 24/7. Egg producers are pushing this bill to try to undermine 1130, the ballot initiative that would end this cruel practice and would require egg laying hens to be given room to flap their wings and turn freely. For more on the ballot initiative and how you can help get this measure on the 2011 ballot in WA state: http://www.animallawcoalition.com/farm-animals/article/1679
Please call on Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire to veto this bill. For more information about the bill: http://www.animallawcoalition.com/farm-animals/article/1680
S.B. 5487/H.B. 1813 would allow egg producers and dealers to obtain a license or a renewal of a license simply by showing by August 1, 2012 "current certification under the 2010 version of the United Egg Producers animal husbandry guidelines for United States egg laying flocks for conventional cage systems or cage-free systems as applicable, or a subsequent version".
The United Egg Producers is an industry trade group.
This means egg producers and dealers would be free to continue to keep egg laying hens crammed in battery cages with little or no room to move around.
Also, under the bill, only those cage systems installed after August 1, 2011 would be required to be approved by or convertible to the American Humane Association Facility System plan for "enriched colony housing". Battery cage systems installed prior to August 1, 2011 would not be affected.
And, American Humane Association's so-called "enriched colony housing" is not really much different than a battery cage.
The bill would exempt all egg producers with less than 3,000 birds from even these meager factory farming "standards" and allow them to continue to use any battery caging.
This bill is an effort to undermine a citizens' ballot initiative, 1130, that would require egg producers to give Washington's 6 million egg laying hens enough room to flap their wings and turn freely. Not much to ask. Just enough room to provide these animals with humane treatment.
Please veto S.B. 5487/H.B. 1813. Don't let factory farming become the legal standard in Washington.