7/14/2011 AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

Egg-laying hens across the nation could be protected under a new deal.

The Humane Society and United Egg Producers plan to ask congress for legislation requiring egg producers to phase in greater bird space over the next 15 to 18 years. It would be the first federal law addressing the treatment of animals on farms.

Currently, most egg-laying hens live in cages with 67 square inches of space. The new proposal would give hens double that.

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The federal government is moving to open up large portions of the coast to fish farming.

The government is attempting to decrease Americans' dependence on imports and satisfy their growing appetite for seafood. More than four-fifths of the seafood Americans ate in 2009 was imported.

Officials issued new policies last month to open up federal waters to fish and shellfish farms and boost U.S. production.

Conservationists worry that expanding fish farms far offshore will threaten the oceans' health.

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