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Agricultural News

NCBA and NPPC Blast Proposed Legislation Coming from UEP-HSUS Deal

Tue, 24 Jan 2012 07:58:25 CST

NCBA and NPPC Blast Proposed Legislation Coming from UEP-HSUS Deal Cattle and hog groups have issued rebukes of the proposed legislation that would make the concepts in the United Egg Producers agreement with HSUS federal law. Both the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council are highly critical of the proposed legislation, saying it would set a dangerous precedent and allow the federal government to dictate specific animal husbandry practices in a very rigid way.

Both groups released statements on Monday afternoon as news of the legislation surfaced. We have them both for you- first, comments from Bill Donald, President of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

NCBA President Bill Donald today criticized legislation introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) that would codify an agreement between the Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers establishing federally mandated egg production practices. Donald said the legislation would set a dangerous precedent for allowing the federal government to dictate on-farm production practices and disregards decades of work the cattle industry has undertaken to develop science-based, voluntary animal care programs. Donald issued the following statement:

"America's farm and ranch families are committed to raising healthy animals, which are the foundation of a safe, wholesome food supply. Decades ago, our farmers and ranchers voluntarily took it upon themselves to work with veterinarians, animal health specialists, university researchers and with each other to develop animal care practices and guidelines. That is why the programs have been so successful, certainly not because politicians in Washington, D.C., mandated them.

"This legislation, while currently only affecting egg producers, could set a dangerous precedent to allow government bureaucrats in Washington to mandate how farmers and ranchers across the nation raise and care for their animals. This ill-conceived legislation could set the model for a one-size-fits-all approach to cattle production. Unfortunately, one-size-fits all doesn't work with cattle producers, who are in diverse settings in all 50 states. This legislation won't improve animal health or care and will result in further costly and burdensome regulations being placed on America's food producers.

"America's cattle producers work day in and day out, in extreme weather and at all hours of the day and night to ensure your family and families around the world have a safe, wholesome and consistent supply of beef. Instead of mandating production practices and increasing regulatory burdens on America's farmers and ranchers, we urge members of Congress to reject this legislation and to work with food producers to empower and enable them to continue raising the healthiest, safest and most wholesome food supply in the world."


The National Pork Producers issued a news release with comments from Doug Wolfe, their current President who is a hog producer from Wisconsin. NPPC has dubbed H R 3978 the "Farm Takeover Bill."

Here is their News Release in full:

The National Pork Producers Council criticized congressional legislation introduced today that would prescribe cage sizes for egg-laying hens, saying it would set a "dangerous precedent" for allowing the federal government to regulate on-farm production practices, including animal housing.

The legislation seeks to codify an agreement the Humane Society of the United States came to with the egg industry. HSUS agreed to forego trying to pass state ballot initiatives that would dictate egg production practices and to stop 10 years of litigation against and undercover investigations of the egg industry in exchange for egg producers nearly doubling the size of their cages for laying hens. In addition to cage sizes, the bill, H.R. 3798, includes labeling requirements for eggs and new air-quality standards for hen houses.

"This HSUS-backed legislation would set a dangerous precedent that could let Washington bureaucrats dictate how livestock and poultry producers raise and care for their animals," said NPPC President Doug Wolf, a hog farmer from Lancaster, Wis. "We don't need or want the federal government and HSUS telling us how to do our jobs."

"This one-size-fits-all farm takeover bill is government intrusion on family farms at its worst and is unnecessary," he added. "If enacted, it would open Pandora's Box for special interest groups to pursue similar federal laws on pig farmers, dairy farmers and other family farming operations."

NPPC says the legislation would take away producers' freedom to operate in ways that are best for their animals, make it difficult to respond to consumer demands, raise retail food prices and take away consumer choice, devastate small and niche producers and, at a time of constrained budgets for agriculture, redirect valuable resources from enhancing food safety and maintaining the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture to regulating on-farm production practices for reasons other than public and animal health.

"Treating farm animals humanely is an age-old principle for American farmers, and it's a standard that doesn't require an act of Congress," said Wolf. "Unnecessary legislative mandates will only add financial burdens on American consumers and family-owned small businesses that are struggling in a fragile economy."

NPPC is urging congressional lawmakers to oppose the "Farm Takeover Bill."



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