Thursday, April 19, 2012

What is the stocking density for free range hens?

An article in today's Brisbane Courier Mail puts the Egg Corp's proposals into clear perspective and explodes the arguments used for intensive stocking rates.
The Australian Egg Corp says the current recommendation of 1500 birds per hectare is unsustainable and that, if it is enforced, Australia will soon be forced to import eggs from nations that have animal welfare laws worse than ours.
This is from a corporation that claims chooks that deliver cage eggs are happy and healthy, and that anyone who claims otherwise is alarmist and extremist.
It warns that without greater stock density allowances, egg prices are set to rocket. Who is using scare tactics now?
So how is it that the rules on how chooks are housed and what "free range" means can be so flexible? Because apart from some basic animal welfare laws, there is no federal legislation on safe, sustainable and humane stock densities. The Government opts for self-regulation and recommended codes of practice, in this area at least.
But if the official egg industry service body can't manage labelling honesty, maybe it is time to legislate and give that legislation teeth. Consumers would also get certainty about what they are buying.
Queensland is a trailblazer as the only state with mandated 1500 birds per hectare. But that is only for eggs produced in the Sunshine State. Eggs on our supermarket shelves come from far and wide.
Several Queensland egg companies remain financially successful under the decade-old laws, flying in the face of AEC warnings about soaring prices if the 1500-bird recommendation is retained.
Read it all at:

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