Stabenow Says House Ag Farm Bill Amendment Highlights Need for Egg Bill

According to Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow - the House Ag Committee's approval of an amendment that would make it illegal for states to ban the sale of foods produced in other states because that state considers the production standards unacceptable shows the need for a national standard on the cages of egg-laying hens. Stabenow has backed an amendment sponsored by California Senator Dianne Feinstein and supported by United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States to develop a national standard for hen housing. She actually considered putting the amendment in the farm bill - but didn't have enough support to include it. Stabenow says Senator Feinstein will have to evaluate whether to try to attach her measure to the farm bill on the Senate floor.

Groups like the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and National Pork Producers Council - and some egg producers - oppose the measure because they fear it could set a dangerous precedent for the federal government to dictate their production methods.

As for that House amendment - United Egg Producers doesn't support it. UEP endorses the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendment - a House measure introduced by Oregon's Kirk Schrader and California's Jeff Denham that is similar to the Feinstein bill. UEP President Chad Gregory said the Schrader-Denham bill is a preferable solution to the interstate commerce calamity in eggs. He said the amendment added to the House Ag Committee's farm bill doesn't set a level playing field for farmers and could affect interstate commerce in a wide variety of agricultural products - noting as many as 150 different state laws could be preempted or affected by the amendment. Historically - when Congress preempts state laws - he said it replaces them with a uniform national standard like the egg bill that egg farmers nationwide support.

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