By Bob Stallman
One of America's favorite breakfast staples could soon become a lot more expensive, whether scrambled, poached or boiled. If the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 become law, consumers will have no choice but to pay the price.
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Conventionally produced eggs, the most popular type, represent more than 90% of eggs purchased by consumers. U.S. farmers produce eggs in a variety of hen housing systems, from humane, science-based conventional systems to more expensive and labor intensive options such as cage-free, free-range and organic eggs. Farmers who produce for these markets are already providing consumers a marketplace choice.
Eliminating conventionally produced eggs would needlessly raise the price for everyone and deny cost-conscious consumers the opportunity to purchase eggs that are not only humanely produced but also more affordable.
The measure would replace decades of science-based animal care with a strict mandate for on-farm egg production. The bill creates a precedent for pointless federal government intrusion on all livestock and poultry farms across the country, while pre-empting state law and regulation.
This bill is fueled by the ruthless political goals of an animal rights group. The overblown rhetoric deployed against conventional egg production is shameless.
The top priority of people who work with farm animals daily is to raise healthy animals, which results in healthy and affordable food for Americans. Publicly funded research has provided improved housing and animal care standards over the past several decades, and farmers have steadily adopted these improvements.
Heavy-handed government mandates will impose significant hardships on America's egg farmers and raise the cost of one of the most affordable and nutritious foods. There's just no way to put a sunny side on another bad idea from Washington.
Bob Stallman, a rice and cattle farmer in Colombus, Texas, is president of the American Farm Bureau Federation
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