The president and CEO of United Egg Producers (UEP), Gene Gregory, has taken a lot of heat in recent months—mostly from other segments of animal agriculture—for UEP’s decision to compromise with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) on the issue of cage size for egg-laying hens.
But Gregory continues to defend the compromise—and the so-called “egg bill” now pending in Congress—saying that federal standards are necessary to ensure the future survivability of the U.S. egg industry.
Many livestock organizations are still not convinced that HSUS can be trusted–but Gregory says, to this point, it’s been a good partnership.
“Our dealings with them through this process have been surprising to me. It’s been far better than we dreamed it would be—and they have been excellent partners,” Gregory says. “So hopefully—hopefully—that will carry on.”
Can the egg bill make it through Congress? Gregory acknowledges that opposition to the egg bill by the beef and pork industries is going to make it more difficult.
“Were it not for their lobbying efforts against us, we would have lots more co-sponsors. So if we don’t pass the legislation, it will be primarily because of that livestock—or other agricultural opposition—I think.”
Gregory says they had originally hoped to see a vote on the egg bill by this summer, but admits that is not likely to happen in this election year.
Gregory’s comments came in an interview with Brownfield at the National Institute for Animal Agriculture conference in Denver.