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Federal Egg Regulation Bill Pushed In Indiana

Last updated on Wednesday, August 15, 2012

(INDIANAPOLIS) - A national push to change the way eggs are produced across the nation has arrived in Indiana.

It's an addition to the federal Farm Bill that would essentially make cages bigger for hens and chickens in egg farms.

Indiana is the third largest egg producing state in the country.

Some commercial farmers here tell us passing a new federal bill is the only way to keep it that way.

"We have been really concerned about close confinement on these farms," said Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States. "There are six or eight birds in a cage, and they never get out."

As a national movement to change the way eggs are produced started, egg farmers say some states started making laws to ban caged egg production. They say that left an unlevel playing field for egg producers.

Chad Gregory, president elect for United Egg Producers, said, "That is putting egg farmers out of business. They don't know what their future is, they don't know how to invest, and they don't know what kind of equipment to use... they basically go out of business. "

So for the first time in memory, the humane society is teaming up with egg farmers.

"Right now, our industry has what we call conventional cages. We would transform egg farmers over the next 15, 18 years, from conventional cages, to eventually what we call enriched colony systems. Those enriched colony systems have nest boxes in there, bathing areas, and perches," added Gregory. "It's all about hen welfare, improving the hen welfare. "

The national leaders were in Indiana Tuesday morning. They held a press conference asking Indiana congressmen to also get on board with the plan.

The Indiana State Poultry Association says almost all Indiana egg farmers are on board with the plan.

But some people are against the bill, saying this is just the start of federal guidelines regulating agriculture more. Still others say this bill will make the price of your eggs - go up.

Bob Krouse is one of the commercial egg farmers in Indiana. He's the President of Midwest Poultry Services, and he says he supports this. "The problem we're faced with as an industry is that other states are coming up with their own rules and laws," he said. "Pretty soon our ability to export eggs to other states is going to be severely restricted. This is critical to us, for a smooth functioning egg business, to be able to move from state to state."

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