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Animal Welfare or Warfare: Debate over Cage or Non-Cage Eggs
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  1. Animal Welfare or Warfare:Debate over Cage or Non-Cage Eggs

  2. Animal Welfare or Warfare: Debate over Cage or Non-Cage Eggs • Animal agriculture is under fire • United Egg Producers Certified animal welfare program • Science-Based Guidelines for the Welfare of Laying Hens • Foodservice, retailers & consumer benefits

  3. Animal AgricultureIs Under Fire

  4. Activist Groups

  5. Activists are Advertising

  6. Activists in the Food Industry • Activists are targeting chefs and restaurants: • Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) • Wolfgang Puck • Red Lobster

  7. Activists in the Food Industry • Do the activists speak for everyone? • Activists spread misinformation, not facts

  8. Opposing Voices

  9. 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Price Taste Quality Organic Animal Care Health/Nutrition Brand Reputation Cleanliness/Safety Portion, Cut, Packaging Context is Everything for Consumers

  10. Hierarchy of Concerns

  11. How Do You Balancethe Information?

  12. United Egg Producers Certified Animal Welfare Program

  13. UEP And U.S. Egg Industry • UEP trade association with 95% of industry members • 290 million egg-laying hens in U.S • Per capita consumption – 255 eggs per year • 98% of eggs produced in cages

  14. Research When purchasing eggs, what are consumers choosing? 98%-- Eggs from cage production 2%--Eggs from Non-cage production 2% 13% 95% 98% 23%

  15. Why An Industry Animal Welfare Program? • Animal activists forced their agenda upon consumers, retailers and legislators in Europe • The European Union Directives were based more upon personal opinions or emotions than science • EU producers, retailers and consumers had no voice in the changes • Most EU poultry scientists did not support the directives

  16. UEP’s Animal Welfare Mission • Scientific approach to animal welfare • guidelines • Guidelines based upon scientific research instead of personal opinions or emotions • Guidelines that are driven by the industry rather than government mandates or legislation • Guidelines that create a level playing field for both egg producers and the marketplace (our customers)

  17. Scientific Committee For Animal Welfare Starting in 1999 • An independent Scientific Advisory Committee chaired by Dr. Jeff Armstrong, Dean of Agriculture & Natural Resources at Michigan State University • Dr. Armstrong selected: • Five (5) additional university representatives • One (1) private veterinarian • Two (2) USDA – ARS representatives • One (1) member of the American Humane Association

  18. Scientific Committee Assignment • Review all available scientific research papers • Visit egg production farms, cage manufacturers, breeder companies • Consider all production systems but primarily focus upon cages • Make recommendations for industry changes if needed • Recommend additional research projects if needed

  19. Respected Scientific Committee After working for UEP several members of the committee served on animal welfare committees for: McDonalds Burger King Food Marketing Institute National Council of Chain Restaurants

  20. Science-Based Guidelines for the Welfare of Laying Hens

  21. Process • Charge to the committee • A WELFARE PERSPECTIVE first and foremost! • Economics, food safety, ethics, & public perception • Measures of hen welfare • Behavior • Physiological stress • Immune function • Productivity& mortality

  22. http://www.uepcertified.com/docs/2005_UEPanimal_welfare_guidelines.pdfhttp://www.uepcertified.com/docs/2005_UEPanimal_welfare_guidelines.pdf

  23. UEP Animal Husbandry Guidelines • Housing & space allowance • Beak trimming • Molting • Handling, transportation, & slaughter

  24. Specific Recommendations • Space Allowance: 67 to 86 in2 of usable space/hen • Molting • Recent change – no feed withdrawal allowed • Guidelines have evolved to non-fasted molts only • Beak Trimming • Transportation/Handling & Slaughter

  25. Advantages of Traditional Cages • Improved livability • More disease free • Less bird aggression & cannibalism • Less stress with smaller group sizes • Less ammonia, dust, and microorganisms • Easier bird inspection • Cleaner eggs with less bacterial contamination • Economics

  26. Disadvantages of Traditional Cages • Expression of Behavior • Nesting • Dust bathing • Perching • Scratching • Wing flapping • Walking & running • Freedom of movement • Poorer feathering • Overgrown claws

  27. UEP Guidelines • Dynamic • Feed restriction to induce a molt is prohibited • Feeder space – research in progress • Cage height – research in progress • Beak trimming procedures • Continual research is needed • Behavior • Genetic selection • Interdisciplinary or systems approach • Bird welfare balanced with human health • Housing systems • Human health & bird behavior

  28. UEP Certified Companies Must • Implement guidelines on 100% of all company and contract houses regardless of where or how eggs are marketed • Not co-mingle eggs from certified and non-certified farms • File Monthly Compliance Reports • Be audited annually by an approved 3rd party

  29. Recognition By Others • USDA, FDA and FTC approve use of logo • Guidelines Supported By: • FMI (Food Marketing Institute) • NCCR (National Counsel of Chain Restaurants) • IEC (International Egg Commission)

  30. Industry Commitment To Animal Care • More than 200 companies with 230 million layers are committed to the program (80% of all U.S. egg-laying hens)

  31. Challenges and Activist Campaigns

  32. Humane Society Of the United States Campaigns • To force restaurants, retailers and universities to only purchase eggs from cage-free producers • Eliminate cage production • No animal products • Promote veganism

  33. The Activists Challenge • Farm Break-Ins • Created websites with distorted messages • Distributed videos and stories to TV stations • Lawsuits filed • Legislation introduced

  34. UEP’s Position • Support the right of consumers to choose • Members produce eggs in cage, cage-free, organic and free-range systems • That foodservice operations, retailers and consumers should not be forced to limit their egg purchases from only cage-free systems • Consumers should have right to purchase lowest cost egg product if that is their choice

  35. FOODSERVICE & CONSUMER BENEFITS

  36. Egg Production Trends • Specialty Eggs: • Organic • Omega 3 • Brown • Cage-free • Free range • What makes specialty eggs different?

  37. Retail Feature Prices(as reported by USDA)March 24, 2006 – 17,000 Retail Stores UEP Certified and other cage eggs = 87 cents per dozen Cage-Free Eggs = $2.28 per dozen Organic Eggs = $3.44 per dozen

  38. Egg Production Closed housing systems

  39. UEP CertifiedBenefits • Economical source of protein • Safe, quality product • Eggs purchased come from farms following strict guidelines • Farmers are audited for compliance to guidelines • Research shows that consumers prefer eggs • that are produced under animal welfare guidelines • Balanced program that includes the welfare of the hens and cost of production

  40. UEP Supports Consumer Choice While approximately 98% of all eggs are produced in cages, we do support consumers choice of purchasing cage-free, free-range, organic or any other specialty eggs. Many egg producers including UEP Certified companies produce eggs in all these systems.

  41. Thank You www.uepcertified.com United Egg Producers ™ UEP Hotline: 404.367.2761