Two Congressmen from opposite sides of the aisle joined have forces this week to create the nation’s first congressional “chicken caucus.”
Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) and Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) created the caucus, an all-things-chicken committee that has made it its mission to educate and engage Congress on economic, food safety, and environmental issues related to poultry.
“The poultry industry plays a critical role in the economy of California’s 16th Congressional District and the greater San Joaquin Valley,” Costa said in a statement. “We are home to the largest poultry processor in the West and the 5th largest in the country, which provides nearly 5,000 district jobs. As such, I am honored to be Co-Chair of the Congressional Chicken Caucus.”
“We look forward to growing the caucus’ membership, working together to educate members, and advancing the issues that are important to the U.S. chicken industry,” Womack added.
According to the Fresno Bee, there are over 250 caucuses in the 114th Congress, including a Potato Caucus, a Motorcycle Caucus, a Tennis Caucus and a Shellfish Caucus. Last year, Costa joined with Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) to form a three-member Congressional Rodeo Caucus. In addition to serving as co-chair on the newly-established Chicken Caucus, Costa reportedly co-chairs seven other caucuses, including committees on victims’ rights and Portuguese.
The Chicken Caucus has its work cut out for it: in January, farmers were mandated to increase the space available to each egg-laying hen to 116 square inches so that each bird could spread its wings. The legislation, approved by voters as Proposition 2 in 2008, has caused egg prices to soar in California as farmers reduce the number of chickens they raise or else build expensive new pens to comply with the rules.