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July 08, 2011

Talk Back: Good News for Hens, Shelter for Displaced Pets

Yesterday, I announced details of a landmark agreement between The HSUS and the United Egg Producers to improve the welfare of laying hens in America. The response has been almost uniformly positive, and The New York Times and other press outlets throughout the nation have given serious coverage to the story. 

It’s the fifth major accord that The HSUS has recently reached on animal welfare issues with the agriculture industry. In 2008, we came to terms with Colorado’s agriculture leaders on a phase-out for veal and gestation crates; in 2009, we came to similar terms with Michigan and Maine’s agricultural leadership; and last year, we reached an eight-point animal welfare accord with the Ohio Farm Bureau and other agricultural commodity groups in that state. Yesterday’s announcement was the first comprehensive agreement with an entire sector of the animal agriculture industry.

White chicken

When two adversarial parties come together and find a way forward, it’s an advance for the nation, it provides security for industry, and it demonstrates progress on animal welfare. Who could be against such a thing?

Well, for the moment, the National Pork Producers Council, which called the agreement a “one-size-fits-all” approach and a “dangerous precedent.” Even though this legislation wouldn’t even affect the NPPC's members, it panned it regardless. Its statement basically said the pork industry has everything under its control, and it doesn’t need meddling from outsiders. Yet, the pork group has seen fit to meddle in the affairs of the egg industry, because it thinks it knows better than it does. It wants to throw the egg industry back into conflict with the animal welfare community by seeking to scuttle the accord. Riddle me that.

We’ve started hearing from blog readers about the announcement:

Wow! Thanks for all your efforts on behalf of farm animals and for collaborating with industries to improve their lives. —Karen Michael

Congratulations on this monumental achievement and thank you so much for the work that you do. I wouldn't have thought this could happen so soon, either—in fact I was floored when I read the news earlier today! This is a wonderful bonus to the agreement in Ohio, which doesn't include a phase-out of existing battery cage operations. Way to go, HSUS! Thanks again for all that you do for the animals. —Angela Huffman

So many folks in Washington worked so hard on the Yes to 1130 Campaign, Dan Paul, Jennifer Hillman, Kelsey B, and the countless volunteers like myself. This is a personal victory as well as that for the hens. We are truly overwhelmed with joy. Although I know the work is just beginning and public awareness is still growing, I am truly thankful for this agreement between us and them! Much admiration for the work you [do] every day. —Aliesha Alexandar

Congratulations, Wayne. This is wonderful news. Think they need much more space, but it is a start. —Barbara Fleming

I'm so astonished—and blessed!—to read this. In my opinion, this historic agreement speaks very much to the measured and strategic actions taken by HSUS with Wayne Pacelle at the helm. You've brought concern for animal welfare to mainstream America, brought it "home" to us and engaged us in a way not done before. Thank you, thank you. —Pamela Myers-Lewis

One small step for our feathered friends. Good work. —Gigi Barrett

You also had a few things to say about our Animal Rescue Team caring for pets in flooded Minot, N.D. Meanwhile, other HSUS rescuers and volunteers are caring for nearly 700 cats we rescued in Florida last month and for 20 dogs we helped rescue from a suspected dogfighting operation in Indiana yesterday. You were happy to hear that these pets affected by flooding are safe:

Thank you and God bless to ALL of the kind, compassionate rescuers/volunteers who are helping, housing, aiding, and loving the displaced fur flood victims of Minot, N.D.! —Laurie McRae

That is such wonderful happy news to hear about the rescue of these precious lives. I have been wondering how things were going in North Dakota since the flooding. This story is a wonderful example of all that the Humane Society does to make the world a better place. After reading so many stories of all the awful issues going on around the world, I feel so much better knowing that the wonderful people I just read about share the earth with me. It gives me hope for our planet. —Katrina Paschall

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