Information was sought from consumers on-line and face to face with customers at Farmers' Markets attended by members of the Free Range Farmers Association Inc. during July and August 2010.
The responses were to the statement:
The Australian Egg Corporation has revealed plans to change 'free range' standards to allow egg farms to beak trim their hens and to increase the maximum farm stocking density to 20,000 chickens per hectare. We believe that the maximum stocking density should remain at 1500 chickens per hectare and that beak trimming should be prohibited in free range flocks.
As sponsor of the on-line survey, FRFA also had the following statement on the survey site:
Free Range Farmers Association Inc. We are a group of free range egg farmers with strict standards - such as a stocking density of just 750 chickens per hectare, a maximum of 1000 birds per shed and de-beaking (or beak trimming) is prohibited.
On-line and paper-based survey results
On-line survey signatories 2396
Paper survey signatories 1141
All signatories agreed that the AECL draft standard did not reflect their views of the term 'free range' and believed that the proposal was unacceptable
We do not have precise information about all participants in the survey but the overwhelming majority are regular purchasers of free range eggs. More than 1000 responded to the survey at Farmers' Markets while they were purchasing eggs.
Approx 36 are believed to be involved in the egg industry and about 90 of the signatories in the online survey appeared to be from overseas.
The results of the consumer survey have been sent to the new Federal Minister for Agriculture, Senator Joe Ludwig.