Monday, April 25, 2011
RSPCA standard not much better than the Egg Corp
The RSCPA's free range egg standards are almost as much of a consumer con as the current standards of the Egg Corp Assured program and the new standards being proposed by the Australian Egg Corporation.
At least the RSPCA imposes a maximum outdoor stocking density of 2,500 hens per hectare, if a rotational grazing system is able to maintain fodder cover.
The AECL acknowledges that under its current system, some farms are running up to 50,000 chickens per hectare.
Under the new version of the Egg Corporation standards, it proposes to limit stocking density to a maximum of 20,000 birds per hectare.
Both the AECL and the RSPCA allow beak trimming of birds.
The standards of the Free Range Farmers Association limit outdoor stocking density to 750 birds per hectare and beak trimming or de-beaking is prohibited.
The Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – Domestic Poultry only allows beak trimming as a last resort if other management methods have failed to prevent feather pecking or cannibalism in a flock. It imposes a maximum outdoor stocking density of 1500 birds per hectare, but does allow a higher level if pasture growth can be maintained. It doesn't specify an upper limit and it's that loophole which is exploited by some intensive farms and allows them to get away with massive overstocking. No-one enforces the requirements.