This is in response to David Ottoson's article "Henhouse health cause for egg labels," which was published April 6. His comment that the United Egg Producers Certified label "doesn't mean much, because it includes chickens raised in battery cages with barely enough room to turn around" could not be further from the truth.
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The UEP, which represents almost all U.S. egg companies, was instrumental in developing the UEP Certified program for cage egg production, the most comprehensive and progressive animal care program in the nation. This program was developed out of guidelines established by an independent advisory committee of some of the top animal welfare experts in the United States and is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. In addition, the Food Marketing Institute and the National Council of Chain Restaurants support these guidelines. Adherence to these guidelines is audited by independent inspectors from the USDA and other authorities.
Consumers purchasing eggs with the UEP Certified logo can be assured that the hens were not treated as described by the Humane Society of the United States. American egg farmers care about treating hens properly and protecting them from disease and injury. This is part of our ongoing commitment to providing American consumers the safest, best quality and most economical eggs in the world. UEP Certified eggs produced in cage systems are the only U.S. eggs produced under science-based guidelines.
The cage system provides greater assurance that hens receive adequate food and water daily, and hen houses protect hens from inclement weather. The cage system allows farm caretakers to visually inspect each hen each day. The cage system has virtually eliminated the need to administer medicine or drugs to the hens and provides for better overall bird health and welfare of any production system. In fact, 98 percent of all eggs in the United States, and more than 90 percent throughout the world, are produced in cage systems.
I also encourage readers to visit www.uepcertified.com to learn more about this important issue. I know readers of the Juneau Empire pride themselves on making decisions based on the most accurate information possible.
President, United Egg Producers