|Since You've Been Asking...
Some of FARM's supporters have inquired about our position on HR 3798, the bill that would replace state laying hen welfare standards with national ones, including conversion from traditional to “enriched” battery cages. (Background on HR 3798)
After extensive reading and discussions, we have decided to favor passage of HR 3798, for these reasons
- Because HR 3798 is likely to lead to a substantial reduction in egg consumption, and therefore, to the number of hens used for food,
- Because HR 3798 will phase out state-wide cage-free campaigns that use large numbers of animal dollars and volunteer activists, and create the impression that it’s OK to eat eggs
- Because HR 3798 involves minimal movement resources in its enactment and does not engage the public enough to create the impression that it’s OK to eat eggs.
Industry sources estimate the long-term increase in production cost associated with introduction of “enriched” cages to be 15-17%. The increase is unlikely to affect individual consumption of shell eggs, because eggs will remain a cheap source of protein and no suitable alternative is available. On the other hand, the increase is likely to have a substantial effect on food processors and food servers (restaurants and food services) who are very sensitive to cost increases and are likely to have suitable alternatives. Pursuit of such initiatives with individual states and retailers, in lieu of a national standard, would not generate the desired price increase for food processors and servers, because these industries would continue to source their eggs from cheap out-of-state producers.
Some important notes:
- FARM believes that the only effective solution to the tragedy of animal agriculture is the promotion of veganism, along with reduction in the consumption of animal products.
- FARM favors welfare reforms only when they are likely to reduce the number of animals used for food, do not redirect resources that should be used for promotion of veganism and reduction of animal consumption, and do not create the impression that consumption of animals raised under improved conditions is acceptable.
- FARM is not signing on as an official supporter of this bill – we merely favor its passage as a more effective alternative to the status quo and to state initiatives in reducing the number of animals used for food.
For a detailed explanation of our strategy and preferred tactics, see FARM's Approach.