Obligation or Opportunity
January 17-18, 2007
United Egg Producers
“Obligation or Opportunity”
Egg Producer, Valley Fresh
Chair, UEP Animal Welfare
Why An Industry Animal
Animal activists forced their agenda upon
consumers, retailers and legislators in
The European Union Directives were based
more upon personal opinions or emotions
EU producers, retailers and consumers had
no voice in the changes. (or chose to ignore)
Most EU poultry scientists did not support
Why You Should Care
Your customers care.
To avoid government mandates or
Because animal activists want to be the
voice of animal agriculture.
Because activists want to eliminate animal
Because activists want to create a vegan
UEP’s Animal Welfare Mission
Scientific approach to animal welfare
Guidelines based upon scientific research
instead of personal opinions or emotions.
Guidelines that are driven by the industry
rather than government mandates or
Guidelines that create a level playing field for
both egg producers and the marketplace (our
Met with Dr. Jeffrey Armstrong and asked if he would select and
chair a scientific committee.
Scientific Advisory Committee
Dr. Jeffrey Armstrong – Michigan State University
Donald Bell – University of California/Riverside
Dr. Bill Chase – Private Veterinarian
Dr. Patricia Hester – Purdue University
Dr. Joy Mench – University of California/Davis
Dr. Margaret Shea-Moore – USDA-ARS
Dr. Ruth Newberry – Washington State University
Dr. Larry Stanker – USDA-ARS-WRRC
Dr. Janice Swanson – Kansas State University
Dr. Paul Thompson – Michigan State University
Dr. Gail Golab – American Veterinary Medical
Respected Scientific Committee
After working for UEP several members of
the committee served on animal welfare
Food Marketing Institute (FMI)
National Council of Chain Restaurants
Scientific Committee Assignment
Review all available scientific research
Visit egg production farms, cage
manufacturers, breeder companies.
Consider all production systems, but
primarily focus upon cages.
Make recommendations for industry changes
Recommend additional research projects if
Areas Of Review By Scientific
Do conventional cages provide for
humane care of egg laying hens?
Cage space per bird
Handling, transportation and slaughter
Committee completed their project and published its report in
September 2000. UEP Board endorsed recommendations.
UEP’s Animal Husbandry
Cage configuration Biosecurity
Space per bird Beak trimming
Feeder and water Molting
space Handling and
Air quality transportation
Lighting Backfilling cages
All guidelines are for layers kept in cages.
Reason For Phase-In Plan Of
The guidelines for beak trimming, molting, handling
and transportation were required to be implemented
by July 1, 2002 on all flocks regardless of their hatch
The guidelines for cage space began in April 2002
and will be phased-in over a 6-year period. Had this
phase-in not been allowed, it would have required
the depopulation of 21% of the nation’s flock (57
million hens). This would have caused major market
disruptions and a disservice to our customers.
The phase-in allows time for producers to build new houses to
replace the lost hens in existing houses.
Space Allowance To Meet UEP
White Egg Brown Egg
Hatch Date Date @ 18 Wks. Leghorn Space Allowance*
April 1, 2002 August 5, 2002 56 Inches 62 Inches
October 1, 2003 February 4, 2004 59 Inches 66 Inches
April 1, 2005 August 5, 2005 61 Inches 68 Inches
October 1, 2006 February 4, 2007 64 Inches 72 Inches
April 1, 2008 August 5, 2008 67 Inches 76 Inches
* Prior to the UEP Certified program, more than 62% of all layers were provided with less than
53 square inches per bird with many at 48 square inches or less.
Until only recently, the only known way to
successfully induce a molt was with feed withdrawal.
Research of non-feed withdrawal molt programs
University of Illinois
University of Nebraska
North Carolina State University
Field tested at several egg production farms.
Results of non-feed withdrawal appears to be equal
to feed withdrawn in terms of hen performance.
Molting by new method requires change in producer
Significantly more challenging to manage
A UEP Certified Company Must
Implement guidelines on 100% of all company
owned or controlled houses regardless of where or
how eggs are marketed.
Not co-mingle eggs from certified and non-certified
File Monthly Compliance Reports.
Be audited annually by an approved 3rd party. (keep
Pay fair share of administrative costs and public
Use only non-feed withdrawal molt programs after
January 1, 2006.
In 2007, must manage for not more than 25 ppm
ammonia (prior has been 50 ppm)
Who Performs Audits?
UEP does not audit. USDA-AMS or Validus
conducted all audits.
The auditing firms jointly wrote the documents as
guidelines for conducting an audit. (Audit
The audit requires an inspection of all company
UEP plays no role in the selection of company
facilities to be audited or the scoring of the results.
All houses must be audited during first year.
Thereafter 50% of facilities will be randomly selected
Audit Points Breakdown
Points allocated for the key components of UEP’s Animal
Housing and Space Allowance = 110 Points
(includes: air, feed, water, etc.)
Beak Trimming = 30 Points
Molting = 30 Points
Handling & Transportation = 30 Points
Failure to meet required points of Housing and Space
Allowance is automatic failure of the audit as well as if there is
evidence of backfilling cages, commingling of Certified and
Non-Certified eggs or use on feed withdrawal molting.
UEP’s Role In The Audit
Upon completion of the audit, UEP
informs the company of their future
status as an “United Egg Producer
170 to 200 total points must be
achieved in order to maintain “Certified”
Steps Taken To Support
United Egg Producers Certified
Trademarked United Egg Producers Certified logo.
Copyrighted the program guidelines
Created website: www.uepcertified.com
USDA, FDA and FTC approve use of logo
Endorsed by FMI and NCCR
Employee Training Video (updating this year)
Molt, Feeder Space and Cage Configuration Research
Audit Procedures and Auditing
Monthly Compliance Reports
Endorsed by International Egg Commission
United Egg Producers Certified
Companies owning 241 million layers have
made commitments to implement the “UEP
Certified” program. (Voluntary)
85% of all layers are enrolled in the “UEP
Currently, only 12 major size companies are
not enrolled in the “UEP Certified” program.
Pressure for certified egg products;
To respond to negative press
Assist producers with local media
To educate customers and consumers.
To promote UEP Certified eggs
Public Relations provided by Golin
Public Relations budget of ~$600,000
Support the right of consumers to choose
Members produce eggs in cage, non-cage,
organic and free-range systems
That retailers and consumers should not be
forced to limit their egg purchases from only
Consumers should have right to purchase
lowest cost egg product if that is their choice
Obligation or Opportunity?
Both if you want to proactively face the
challenges all animal agriculture will
continue to be faced with
An opportunity to use science to
support production practices; take
emotion out of the debate