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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words letters@seattletimes.com.

April 19, 2011 at 4:00 PM

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Senate bill asks for bigger hen cages

Posted by Letters editor

An iPad and catering for the hens

It’s unfortunate that animal-rights groups, like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), are putting ideology ahead of animal welfare in opposing a bill to require larger cages for egg-laying hens [“Foes of bill say bigger hen cages not enough,” NWSaturday, April 16.]

The enriched cages opposed by HSUS will be standard equipment in Europe next year. The American Humane Association approves of their use.

In contrast, the American Veterinary Medical Association reports that hens housed in the cage-free systems HSUS demands have higher rates of disease and death. That’s hardly a “humane” outcome.

HSUS and other animal-rights groups don’t want people to eat any kind of eggs (or meat, or cheese). Every egg-laying chicken could have an iPad and catering from Wolfgang Puck, and animal-rights ideologues would still oppose egg farms.

Let’s listen to animal-welfare scientists, not animal-rights activists.

— Rick Berman, executive director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, Washington, D.C.

The least we can do

I was appalled to read the story by Queenie Wong about Senate Bill 5487. I am one of those “foes” and also one of the hundreds of volunteers collecting signatures for the initiative, I-1130, for a November vote; we need to get these egg-laying hens out of their awful, cramped cages.

The public will learn from us that it is time to reduce the cruelty involved for these poor hens. When Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, who introduced the Senate bill is saying “he opposes an entirely cage-free system because it would increase the cost of eggs for consumers,” he forgot to add that our anti-cruelty initiative would only add 1 cent per egg to the consumer.

The chickens would have some relief, not in 2026, but in 2018. Still not soon enough!

I must call my own Sen. Maralyn Chase to to reject the Senate bill hoping it shall not become law. I’ll keep on collecting signatures for I-1130 for a win in the November election, which is the least we can do for these poorly and horribly treated chickens.

— Claudine Erlandson, Shoreline

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