A new survey of Ohio voters, conducted by Columbus-based Saperstein Associates, reveals overwhelming support—by more than a three-to-one margin—for a federal bill to give more space to laying hens in the egg industry.
Ohio is the second-largest egg producing state in the nation, with nearly 28 million laying hens.
The survey reveals that more than seven out of 10 (71 percent) voters support H.R. 3798 in Congress to establish national standards for the treatment of egg-laying hens, while only 22 percent oppose the bill and 7 percent are undecided.
The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 would give each bird essentially twice the current amount of space and provide perches, nesting boxes, and other forms of environmental enrichment that allow hens to express natural behaviors.
H.R. 3798 would also prohibit excessive levels of ammonia in henhouses, ban inhumane methods of euthanasia, and require a national labeling program so egg cartons display more information about the conditions in which hens are raised.
“The Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers have been long-time adversaries, but have come together and identified a solution that balances animal welfare and the economic realities of the industry,” says Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “The nation needs this kind of problem solving, and the Ohio delegation in Congress should enthusiastically embrace a bill that has the support of all the key stakeholders and of Ohio voters.”
Additional survey findings include:
- By nearly a 10-to-one margin, voters are more likely to support the bill than oppose it when they learn it represents an agreement between The Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers, and is also supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Consumer Federation of America, and the Ohio Egg Processors Association.
- Nearly twice as many voters support the bill as oppose it when they learn some livestock organizations such as the National Pork Producers Council and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association are against the proposal, even though egg farmers support it and the proposed law deals only with eggs.
- By a more than four-to-one margin, voters are more likely to support the bill than oppose it when they learn that some states, such as California and Michigan, have different laws dealing with the treatment of egg-laying hens, and that a national standard would level the playing field for all egg farmers in all states.
Saperstein Associates conducted the survey of 804 voters during March 13-18, 2012, and the margin of error is +/- 3.5 percent. The full questions on egg-laying hens are below, and a complete copy of the survey results, which also included other animal welfare issues, is available here.