Continuing its commitment to promoting the highest level of science-based care for egg laying hens, the United Egg Producers (UEP) held its first national Animal Welfare Conference for grocery and foodservice executives at a conference hotel in Phoenix on April 11-12.

“The activists continue to target the egg industry and our customers with misinformation,” said Gene Gregory, president of the United Egg Producers. “This conference was an opportunity for our customers to learn about the United Egg Producers Certified program and hear the science-based facts from independent animal welfare and behavior experts.”

Over 40 retail executives and foodservice professionals attended the two-day event receiving information on the history of UEP Certified as well as the science behind this progressive program. Conference topics also included validating compliance on animal welfare programs; producing eggs to meet consumers’ varied demands; legal, legislative, regulatory and marketing challenges in the egg industry and communicating animal welfare issues to customers.

Additionally, attendees were treated to a tour of Hickman's Family Farms, a modern cage production egg facility owned and operated by the Hickman family since 1944. The Hickman's farms, along with about 85 percent of U.S. family egg farmers, comply with the UEP Certified animal welfare guidelines which ensure hens receive adequate space, continuous access to nutritious food and clean water, proper lighting and fresh air daily. UEP Certified farmers must implement these guidelines on 100% of all their production farms and are audited for compliance by the USDA and the independent firm Validus. Representatives of USDA and Validus were on-hand to discuss their auditing procedures.