U.S. animal welfare and egg supply groups have stepped forward to comment on the recent federal layer legislation agreement between the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States.

The potential legislation, which would set national animal welfare standards for hens involved in U.S. egg production, would bring the U.S. in line with the European Union position on laying hens, according to international farm animal welfare charity Compassion in World Farming. "We welcome the news of an agreement that could see an end to barren battery cages in the U.S.," said Philip Lymbery, the organization's chief executive. "This new development...is a step in the right direction."  

According to the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply, the agreement between the UEP and the HSUS reinforces the need for research, which will provide evidence on the best housing systems for laying hens to create a sustainable egg supply. The American Humane Association has also announced its support for the direction of the agreement. "Overall, we are pleased with the intentions of the egg-producing industry," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, association president and CEO. "We haven't seen their proposal, but if they adopt enriched colonies, Americans will have a safe and affordable egg supply that improves the welfare of laying hens. The American public has been demanding better treatment of farm animals, and we support any significant move in that direction."