A new bill introduced in the U.S. house would require the federal government to purchase meat, dairy and egg products from producers who meet specific animal-welfare standards. The bill, known as the "Farm Animal Stewardship Purchasing Act (H.R.-1726), was presented by Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Chris Shays (R-Conn.).

As currently outlined, the bill would require animals to be:

  • Provided adequate space to stand, lie down, move his or her head freely, turn around completely and fully extend all limbs or wings without touching any part of an enclosure or another animal;
  • Provided daily access to adequate food and water sufficient to ensure the health and well-being of the covered animal without forced feeding or feed withdrawal;
  • Provided adequate veterinary care, including prompt treatment or humane euthanasia of a sick or injured covered animal; and
  • In the case of a covered animal that is a mammal, there are additional details outlined for the requirements of the dam and offspring interaction (as noted in paragraphs 1 through 3, relating to requirements during the pregnancy yielding such offspring.)

As it appears, a "covered" animal relates to enclosed or confinement rearing.
In introducing the bill, DeFazio said, "Increasingly, Americans are demanding we curb the most abusive factory farming practices. As a significant buyer of farm animal products, the federal government can and should help lead the way, encouraging better practices within the industry."

With this, the legislation would address meat and egg purchases for federal programs such as school lunch, school breakfast, prisons and military.