A promising and unprecedented agreement has been reached that could improve the lives of hundreds of millions of hens across America.
Under the agreement, United Egg Producers (UEP), a cooperative representing the owners of approximately 80 percent of the nation’s egg-laying hens, and the Humane Society of the United States will jointly push for federal legislation to improve the welfare of all laying hens in the United States. The ASPCA and other animal welfare groups have also agreed to support this legislation. This could lead to the first federal law improving the treatment of chickens used for food, the first federal law improving the daily conditions for animals on factory farms, and the first federal farmed-animal protection legislation in more than 30 years.
The agreement came as two ballot campaigns aimed at improving conditions for egg-laying hens in Washington and Oregon—both of which were championed by the ASPCA and our citizen Advocacy Brigade—were gaining momentum. As a result of today’s news, the initiative drives will be suspended.
"This is a historic and ground-breaking proposal, and the ASPCA calls on Congress to swiftly enact legislation to protect hens from some of the most shocking abuses on factory farms,” states Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of Government Relations for the ASPCA. “The legislation and ballot initiatives on hen welfare already adopted in California and Michigan, and those pending in Washington and Oregon, prove the American public will no longer tolerate the mistreatment of animals anywhere.”
More than 90 percent of egg-laying hens in the United States are confined in enclosures called “battery cages.” The footprint of one of these cages is smaller than a single sheet of standard letter-size paper—they are so small that the hens within them can’t even extend their wings, and the discomfort and stress they experience manifests in constant self-mutilation and fighting. If enacted, the proposed language advocated by UEP and animal welfare groups would, among other improvements:
Require the nationwide elimination of barren battery cages over a phase-out period, replacing them with hen housing systems that provide birds with nearly double the amount of space;
Require environmental enrichments so birds can engage in important natural behaviors;
Mandate that all egg cartons be labeled to inform consumers of the method used to produce the eggs, such as “eggs from caged hens” or “eggs from cage-free hens.”
Are you daydreaming of a sandy beach and palm trees? Paradise, right? Not so fast, says Fido. Though palm trees evoke relaxation of the highest order, Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)—a stocky member of the Cycad family of plants—can be downright dangerous to our furry companions.
According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, Illinois, pet poisonings from the increasingly popular Sago Palm are on the rise. A native of Southern Japan, the plant is a common addition to outdoor landscaping in sunny climes, and in recent years, has emerged as a trendy houseplant in northern states. Though attractive with its dark green leaves and hairy trunk, Sago Palm is highly toxic to cats and dogs. Common signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, depression, seizures and liver failure.
Many pet parents may not be familiar with the toxic effects of Cycad Palms and assume only the seeds or nuts are poisonous—but all parts of the plant are toxic.
As always, pet parents should guard against any mishaps and place Sago Palm well out of the way of their animal companions. Or consider a non-toxic alternative—it will brighten your home and keep the dog days of summer cool and carefree.
It’s an ugly truth: More than 6 million egg-laying hens in Washington State can’t spread their wings. They are kept in cages so small and crowded that this instinctive movement is impossible. Proposed ballot Initiative 1130 will allow Washington’s voters to decide whether this cruel practice should be allowed to continue. We hope not.
If passed, the measure will completely phase out battery-cage confinement throughout the state and ensure that all whole eggs sold in Washington will come from cage-free birds. California passed very similar laws in 2009 and 2010.
Initiative 1130 is not yet guaranteed to appear on the November state ballot. In order for it to qualify, more Washingtonians need to sign paper petitions saying that they support it. We need your help!
Take Action! If you live in Washington State and want to make sure this basic animal welfare measure qualifies for the November ballot, please help us gather as many signatures of registered Washington voters as possible before the July 8 signature deadline.
Let’s get started! Visit the following link and sign up to gather signatures from your friends and neighbors: http://yeson1130.com. For more information on this initiative and other ways you can help in your state, visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center.
Can’t stand leaving your pet behind on vacation? You don’t have to! More people are choosing to include their companions in family vacations than ever before. Just keep in mind that a bit of extra planning—and packing—may be in order.
- Time for a check-up. A trip to the vet is a good idea. You want to make sure all vaccinations are up to date before you hit the open road.
- Location! Location! Location! It's essential to make sure your accommodations, be they hotel or apartment, are pet-friendly. Otherwise, you could be in for a really unpleasant surprise when you arrive at your destination.
- Prevention is key. Mistakes happen, so make sure your pet has a microchip and is wearing a collar and ID tag.
- Pack for your pup! Be sure to bring along all of the necessary supplies to care for your pet. Double check to make sure you have a crate, toys, plenty of food and a doggy seatbelt!
Hundreds of animal lovers were lined up outside the Joplin Humane Society this morning in anticipation of this weekend’s mega adopt-a-thon, which officially kicked off at 10:00 A.M. We opened our emergency shelter to a compassionate public, eager to provide homes for more than 600 animals affected by the tornado that devastated the area in late May.
The day’s very first adoption was a gorgeous Husky mix, who was more than pleased to be the top dog and, finally, on his way home. Check out this great photo of the “First Pooch,” and tell us, who is happier dog or mom?
By 11:30 A.M., an amazing 27 cats and 58 dogs were already adopted and on their way home.
Stay tuned to www.aspca.org/blog for all the event’s details, and don’t forget to follow @ASPCA on Twitter—we’re providing updates and pics all weekend!