Gene Gregory, President of the United Egg Producers, is quoted extensively in this article. This is a must-read, since he’s the main guy at the main organization seeking to preserve the use of battery cage eggs.
Two Gregory quotes merit a response:
Uninformed voters, voted for [California Proposition 2] that is due to become effective on 1 January 2015.
Actually, the voters were extremely well informed about the issues. They learned about the horrors of battery cages, veal crates, and gestation crates, and overwhelmingly rejected these systems. The fact that Gregory blames Prop 2’s passage on voters being “uninformed,” means that the United Egg Producers hasn’t learned their lesson from their defeat — and are not in a position to successfully fight future Prop 2 style initiatives.
Can we feed a nation of 300m people with non-cage eggs? We know that we cannot.
What a load of bullshit. Cost per egg would undoubtably increase, but we certainly have the land and the feed to raise America’s layer hens outside of cages. There’s nothing about cage-free production that requires prohibitive amounts of feed or space. The main reason egg farmers like battery cages is that they do away with nearly all labor requirements: hens can be fed and watered automatically, their waste drops into slurry pits, and their eggs can be gathered by conveyor belt. But these impressive labor efficiencies come at a gruesome price in terms of added animal suffering — a price many consumers will reject, once informed about the issues.
The reason the battery egg industry is in retreat is that its leaders are blaming their customers rather than listening to them. The industry needs to come to grips with the fact that factory farming practices are increasingly out of step with what most Americans view as civilized behavior. (Thanks, Mahi.) Link.