You might have heard about the recent agreement on a new federal law between The Humane Society of the United States and United Egg Producers, but in case you haven’t, I wanted to give a small breakdown on what the deal is, what it will do, and how it was reached.
In my opinion, there are two things that make this one of the single most significant moments in the history of animal welfare/rights. First, the agreed upon legislation, if passed, will directly better the lives of each the more than 250 million hens involved in egg production in the United States. It’s incredibly rare to see animal protection groups and the agriculture industry come to any agreement at all, but for the two sides to agree that every animal within a particular industry segment deserves better living conditions is nearly unprecedented. It’s a huge win for those of us who wish to see less animal cruelty in the world; it will result in there being less of it.
The second reason that this deal is so groundbreaking is that if the proposed law gets passed, it will be the first federal law ever to deal with the welfare of farm animals while they are living on farms. There are laws that deal with slaughter, transporting animals, etc., but this would be the first law to say “if you own a farm animal, you cannot treat it in these cruel ways.” And what happens when one part of the national agriculture industry finally agrees that the wellbeing of its animals matter? Well, hopefully the rest of the industry realizes it better get on board and do the same. I think this makes it possible to envision laws requiring better treatment of dairy cows, pregnant sows nursing their piglets, and other animals in the near future. Yes, this is just one step, but it’s the first step of its kind and it has the potential to lead to more victories for animals in the near future. Read the rest of this entry →