Heard on the Hill: An Egg-cellent Development

Posted July 8, 2011 at 5:09pm

Armchair philosophers took note last week when the Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers announced a “historic agreement” on chickens and eggs.

The heavy media blitz ahead of the announcement Thursday led some to believe that this might be a major development. Might we soon learn the answer to the age-old question of whether it was the chicken or the egg that came first?

Alas, those dreams were dashed because the big news was a change to regulations requiring larger cages for America’s chickens.

The new standards increase cage size from 67 square inches to a minimum of 124 square inches. The cages would also have to include things such as perches and nesting boxes, making them sound rather homey.

The transition to the roomy cages will cost farmers somewhere in the neighborhood of
$4 billion to implement, but the UEP’s feathers seem unruffled.

“A single national standard is better for everybody,” UEP spokesman Mitchell Head said.

Well, if a national cage standard frees up resources to help get to bottom of the chicken-or-egg quandary, then HOH is in full support.