Sunday, January 09, 2011

Canberra Times joins the fight

An article in today's Canberra Sunday Times highlights the greed and stupidity of the Australian Egg Corporation's plans to change egg farming standards that will turn barn systems into "free range".

The article by Frances Stewart says : 'The current voluntary standards allow free-range egg farmers to keep up to 1500 chickens per hectare, but the industry body wants to increase this to 20,000 laying hens per hectare.

Australian Egg Corporation Limited proposed that free-range hens should be locked inside sheds for the first 25 weeks of their lives, despite the fact that they begin to lay at around 18 weeks. Currently they are able to access the outdoors from around six weeks of age. It says eggs produced under these intensive conditions should be called "free range" to attract premium prices.

And since only the ACT has laws regulating the labelling of eggs, the majority of Australians would be none the wiser.

There is no uniform mandatory labelling scheme for eggs in Australia, which means that there is no national, legally enforceable definition for "free range" eggs.

Producers can engage in practices such as de-beaking and still call their eggs "free range", while others use terms such as "fresh", "vegetarian fed", "environmentally friendly", "omega 3" or "especially for kids" to confuse consumers.'
It's great to see this sort of artice featured in a major newspaper and we need more of it to send the message home to the Federal Minister for Agriculture, the Hon Joe Ludwig that he must step in to stop the AECL from destroying the free range egg industry and deliberately misleading consumers.

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