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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
Activists in the Food Industry • Activists are targeting chefs and restaurants: • Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) • Wolfgang Puck • Red Lobster
Activists in the Food Industry • Do the activists speak for everyone? • Activists spread misinformation, not facts
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
United Egg Producers Certified Animal Welfare Program
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
Research When purchasing eggs, what are consumers choosing? 98%-- Eggs from cage production 2%--Eggs from Non-cage production 2% 13% 95% 98% 23%
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
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)
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
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
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
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
UEP Animal Husbandry Guidelines • Housing & space allowance • Beak trimming • Molting • Handling, transportation, & slaughter
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
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
Disadvantages of Traditional Cages • Expression of Behavior • Nesting • Dust bathing • Perching • Scratching • Wing flapping • Walking & running • Freedom of movement • Poorer feathering • Overgrown claws
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
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
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)
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)
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
The Activists Challenge • Farm Break-Ins • Created websites with distorted messages • Distributed videos and stories to TV stations • Lawsuits filed • Legislation introduced
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
Egg Production Trends • Specialty Eggs: • Organic • Omega 3 • Brown • Cage-free • Free range • What makes specialty eggs different?
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
Egg Production Closed housing systems
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
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.
Thank You www.uepcertified.com United Egg Producers ™ UEP Hotline: 404.367.2761