Chicken rights

Should chickens have the freedom to flap their wings?

That’s at the heart of a hearing in Washington today on whether there should be federal guidelines for the size of chicken coops and nests. The hearing was held on a California senator’s proposal for federal standards, even as states are imposing separate standards. That’s made it difficult for the egg industry, which frequently ships to many different states.

The proposed federal legislation is modeled after California, which passed a law that hens be able to stretch their wings and turn around.

The federal legislation initiative picked up a little steam after the Humane Society released this video — yes, it’s gross — detailing where a lot of your eggs come from.

A group representing big egg producers says it can live with a deal being cut. Smaller producers say it’ll drive them out of business.

A Republican on the panel cited a similar effort in Europe, where egg prices went up and the supply went down. But supporters say the legislation gives farmers 18 years to figure out how to design a coop that allows a hen to turn around.

That they would need 18 years to do it may speak to a larger problem.

  • John P.

    We in the US have about the cheapest food on the planet. It’s time we stopped compaining every time the price of eggs went up. You get cheap eggs because they way they raise them is “efficient”. You wouldn’t make your dog live a life in a box too small to turn in, why would you feel okay about doing it to a chicken? Oh yeah … cheaper eggs and dogs are not as tasty. Maybe if food costed more, we would eat less, type 2 diabetes would drop, and we’d all save money on health care in the end!

  • Kassie

    I pay something like $5 for a carton of eggs from my co-op and I’m still fat!

    But yeah, there are easy ways to make ethical decisions about where our food comes from, it just costs money. I make them when I can, but I’m not 100% committed. As they say, be the change you want to see…

  • Jim Shapiro

    How could minimizing the pain that we cause to a sentient being be a bad thing?

  • Kirk W

    @Jim– I’m in full agreement, even if I had to look up what sentient meant ;-)

  • Jeff

    How much will egg prices go up? $0.03 per doz.? Big whoop.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Kirk W – Good one, huh? That’s one a those words that can be used to make people think you’re a lot smarter/ more spiritual than you really are.

    I think I probably got it from a Star Trek episode. :-)