OLYMPIA, Wash., April 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Humane Association officials are hailing Monday's ground-breaking vote in the Washington state House of Representatives approving Senate Bill 5487 – a historic piece of legislation that will significantly improve animal welfare in commercial egg-laying chicken operations.
Passage of this significant legislation will create the nation's most rigorous program, based on guidelines developed by the scientific panel at American Humane Association, creator of the oldest and largest farm animal welfare certification program – American Humane Certified.
The legislation will phase out the use of "battery cage" housing for egg-laying hens and instead mandate use of an approved American Humane Association housing system, requiring more space and the use of what is known as the enriched colony model. Enriched colony housing allows hens to exhibit natural behaviors such as spreading their wings and turning around, as well as offering elements such as nests, perches and scratching areas, which are necessary to ensuring a humane environment.
"We salute the legislators in Washington state for their proactive work," said Tim Amlaw, vice president of American Humane Certified animal welfare program. "Extensive research shows that the welfare program they have approved for commercial egg-laying chicken operations will most certainly significantly improve animal welfare."
Monday's vote in the House follows previous approval in the State Senate, where the legislation will now return for concurrence, before moving to the desk of Gov. Chris Gregoire for final approval.
The American Humane Certified program is supported by the most comprehensive science-based standards and third-party audits ever created. Certified producers must meet the standards created by animal scientists and veterinarians and reviewed frequently by a scientific advisory panel that includes world-renowned expert Dr. Temple Grandin. They also must continue to comply in annual reviews.
North America's first and largest farm animal welfare program began a decade ago and currently certifies food producers representing over 60 million farm animals and more than 90% of North American "cage-free" egg production.
About American Humane Association
Since 1877, the historic American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting children, pets and farm animals from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we're also leading the way in understanding human-animal interaction and its role in society. As the nation's voice for the protection of children and animals, American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org. For information about American Humane Association's Farm Animal Program and a list of American Humane Certified producers, visit www.thehumanetouch.org. To meet the chefs who support farm animal welfare, visit the Humane Table at: http://thehumanetouch.org/thehumanetable/