Senate OKs New Standards for Laying Hens
(SALEM) – The Oregon Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday in favor of a measure that will dramatically improve the welfare of laying hens without putting local Oregon egg producers at a competitive disadvantage with large, out-of-state corporations.
Senate Bill 805, sponsored by Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem/Gervais/Woodburn), passed the Senate on a 26-4 vote.
Courtney said SB 805 represents an “Oregon solution” supported by supported by the local and independent Oregon Humane Society and Oregon egg producers.
“This bill makes life better for the hens that lay the eggs we eat. It makes it possible for Oregon farmers to improve conditions and still compete with out-of-state producers. It meets the standards set by the American Humane Society,” Courtney said. “Other states are watching what’s happening here. Oregon is leading the way once again.”
“With this legislation Oregon will have sustainability for our family egg farms, and credit goes to their industry for leading this effort. We all want fair animal treatment, and we all want jobs in Oregon. This gives us both,” said Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), who carried the bill on the Senate floor.
Senate Bill 805 would require Oregon farmers and all farms which produce eggs for sale in Oregon to use of the “enriched colony cage system” which nearly doubles or triples the space for each hen depending on the egg product produced.
In the larger enclosures, hens would be able to perform normal behaviors like standing up, turning around, flapping their wings and perching.
Most eggs in Oregon and other states are now produced by hens kept in “barren battery cages,” which house up to eight hens with each having about 67-square inches in which to live their entire lives.
“This legislation will set a new bar for animal welfare by enacting, for the first time, comprehensive animal care standards for hens. Oregon is a national leader on this issue,” said Sharon Harmon, executive director of the Oregon Humane Society.
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