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Jared Kushner finally granted his security clearance. Also on our nationwide rundown: a new lawsuit seeks the release of a gay man from ICE Detention in Pennsylvania; and protecting an Arizona water source for millions near Phoenix.

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Farm Bill: Eggs-cellent Opportunity to Boost Animal Welfare in VA

PHOTO: The U.S. House of Representatives votes on an amendment to the Farm Bill that would double the size of cages housing millions of hens. Photo credit: HSUS
PHOTO: The U.S. House of Representatives votes on an amendment to the Farm Bill that would double the size of cages housing millions of hens. Photo credit: HSUS
June 19, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. - Amid the debate about food stamps and farm subsidies, animal welfare also is becoming a polarizing part of the Farm Bill, which is up for a vote as early as today in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Laura Donahue, Virginia state director of the Humane Society of the United States, is especially concerned about an amendment from Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. She said it essentially would undo all state-level protections for animals involved in agriculture production.

"I think it would certainly tie the hands of states like Virginia that like to be leaders and have constituencies that really want to set higher standards for animal protection," she said.

In a statement about his amendment, King said it would shut down groups such as the Humane Society from creating what he calls "a network of restrictive state laws that will slowly push agriculture production towards the demise." Donahue countered that Virginians overwhelmingly support basic protections for animals on farms and in factories.

Donahue is trying to rally support for the Denham-Schrader amendment, which would set a national standard for more space for tens of millions of egg-laying hens that now live in cramped cages.

"These cages are so small that most of these hens cannot even fully spread their wings," she said.

The amendment also would require labels on egg cartons to let buyers know how the hens were raised.

Alison Burns, Public News Service - VA