Lawmakers join livestock groups to oppose HSUS, UEP legislation

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2012 - Congressmen Adrian Smith, R-Neb., and Joe Courtney, D-Conn., hosted a briefing with animal agriculture representatives for congressional staff about their concerns with legislation introduced in the House that would codify an agreement between the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the United Egg Producers (UEP).

 Together we can feed the Bees

A coalition of agricultural organizations working to stop the legislation, H.R. 3798, hosted the briefing Wednesday. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the Egg Farmers of America, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Milk Producers Federation, the American Sheep Industry and the American Farm Bureau Federation are coalition members.

NCBA President J.D. Alexander joined Amon Baer, an egg farmer from Minnesota; Betsy Flores, director of regulatory affairs for the National Milk Producers Federation; and Bill Luckey, a hog producer from Nebraska to discuss H.R. 3798, which mandates production practices for the egg industry, particularly regarding housing and treatment standards.

“My biggest concern with H.R. 3798 is that outside groups with no knowledge of the industry will be dictating my livelihood and potentially compromising the welfare of my livestock,” Alexander said. “This legislation creates a slippery slope. Today, it's egg farmers but tomorrow it could be any other segment of animal agriculture and we're not going to let that happen.”

Congressman Smith said science must be the driving force behind public policy decisions and that “modernized health and nutrition products are the result of generations of investment and research into raising high quality animals.”

Alexander contrasted the HSUS-EUP agreement with the beef industry's Beef Quality Assurance (BQA), which is voluntary and producer-led.

“Unlike strict legislative mandates that would require an act of Congress to update, BQA standards are updated regularly to reflect the latest science,” Alexander said. “No one cares more about the health and well-being of animals than the men and women who work each day raising them.”


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