It contains the mix of half truths and distortions which we have come to expect. Unfortunately some people believe them - thankfully not many in the industry and we hope that the ACCC won't be swayed like the Federal Minister for Agriculture and Government Ministers in NSW, Victoria and WA. Have a look at the document here The AECL Statement has a number of inaccuracies.
- AECL did carry out some consultation with the industry, but it ignored recommendations and proposals which did not fit its agenda.
- The development process has not led to a well researched Quality Assurance program - there is little actual research which backs some of the proposed standards.
- It is more than lobby groups which are opposed to the implementation of Egg Standards Australia, it is also individual farmers working in the free range sector of the egg industry across Australia. The proposed stocking density is not the only aspect of the standard which is unacceptable to farmers. Other issues which are enshrined in the current Model Code are also ignored in the new standards – such as allowing free range chicks to range in the open once they are fully feathered and not permitting hens to be beak trimmed as a first option.
- There is no science behind the development of these standards for free range egg production. AECL has been unable to produce any evidence to show that its proposed stocking density is sustainable, that chicks should be locked in sheds until they are 25 weeks old (when currently they must have outdoor access from six weeks old) or the beak-trimming at day old is an essential stock management tool.
- The proposed standards have been designed simply to meet the requirements of the supermarket chains and maximise the profits of major corporations. If allowed to be implemented, they will mislead consumers and bring the industry into disrepute.