Farmscape for June 8, 2012
The National Pork Producers Council reports opposition to a bill being considered by congress that would force U.S. egg producers to meet minimum space requirements for laying hens or lose their access to markets is building.
Legislation being considered by Congress would require U.S. egg producers to replace conventional battery cages with new enriched cages that double the amount of space provided to laying hens.
Audrey Adamson, the National Pork Producers Council's vice president of domestic policy issues, says while pork producers are not opposed to groups wanting to set regulations in their own industries there is concern that this bill could become a template for other commodities.
Clip-Audrey Adamson-National Pork Producers Council:
Our concern is the precedent setting of having federal legislation setting on farm care standards, taking the producer, the farmer's right, the farmer's knowledge, the farmer's livelihood as the care taker for that animal being dictated from Capital Hill.
This is not a food safety issue.
This will not improve food safety.
This does nothing to verify that what you think you're getting in that box is what you're getting because there's nobody verifying the program.
One has to scratch one's head and say why do we need federal legislation to do this?
There are other avenues in place today.
There are process verified programs that can be pursued that require the industry to make an investment and a commitment to have a process verified so consumers know exactly what they're getting and people are willing to pay a premium for that.
USDA organic label demands a premium in the market place.
Consumers understand that label and they will pay more for it.
Adamson notes the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Turkey Federation, the National Milk Producers have all opposed the bill.
She says it takes away producers right and obligation to do the right thing.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council