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Feinstein's Egg Bill Blasted By Animal Protection Organizations

SAN FRANCISCO, April 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  The Humane Farming Association (HFA) and a broad coalition of animal protection organizations today expressed outrage over Senator Feinstein's introduction of "The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013."  

"The egg industry wants to establish egg factory  cages as a national standard that could never be challenged or changed by state law or public vote,"  said Bradley Miller, National Director of the Humane Farming Association. "The American public overwhelmingly supports the banning of egg factory cages, not measures such as this which would ban the outlawing of cages.  This bill would clearly subvert the will of the people."

Widely referred to by opponents as the  Rotten Egg Bill,  Feinstein's measure would codify a controversial deal between the United Egg Producers (UEP) ­– the egg industry trade association recently sued for an alleged price-fixing scheme – and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which is now endorsing the exact same egg factory cages it previously opposed.

"This bill would be disastrous for laying hens who would be forever locked in cages — as well as for millions of Americans nationwide whose voting rights would be traded away," said Miller.  "It's appalling to see the cynical political interests of the egg industry placed ahead of those of the American public."

"According to the bill's own sponsor, this bill was introduced to protect the economic interests of the egg industry," said Miller.  "This bill would preempt state laws, such as California's Proposition 2, and is a direct assault upon egg laying hens, voters, and states' rights.

Price-Fixing, RICO Charges, Limit Prospects for Egg Bill

Last year, similar egg industry legislation failed to make it out of committee.  This was attributed, in part, to the reluctance of many legislators to associate themselves with the scandal-ridden United Egg Producers (UEP).   UEP and several of the egg companies it represents have been sued repeatedly for alleged illegal price fixing, paying $25 million to settle allegations that they illegally manipulated the price and supply of eggs under the guise of instituting standards for animal welfare.

Now, with active lawsuits still pending against them from companies such as General Mills and Kraft Foods — UEP and its co-defendants are again asking Congress to codify a set of standards that would, in effect, provide legal cover for the very activities of which they stand accused.

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