Sunday, September 26, 2010
This is what the Australian Egg Corporation calls 'free range'
The Australian Egg Corporation currently allows beak trimming on all its Egg Corp Assured farms - even if they are called 'free range'. The hens in this photo are on an ECA accredited free range farm and they show the extent of the beak trimming undertaken.
The industry tries to argue that it is now normal practice for a light laser tipping of the upper beak - but this shot, and others, show that claim to be untrue. Consumer research shows clearly that beak trimmng is not acceptable on farms which claim to be 'free range'.
If the Egg Corporation gets away with its plan to change standards for 'free range' egg production, de-beaking will become even more common. Currently, according to the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals - Domestic Poultry, farms are required to find alternative methods to beak trimming which is designed to limit feather-picking and cannibalism in flocks. But the Egg Corporation does nothing to ensure that the Model Code is enforced and allows beak-trimming of hens as a first option. The hens are usually beak-trimmed at day old or soon after.
Beak trimming is completely unnecessary on a genuine free range farm and is prohibited by the Free Range Farmers Association.