Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Queensland decision ridiculed

This was published today in the Canberra Times and the Brisbane Times and perhaps other newspapers across the country.  It is a comment piece written by John Birmingham and it paints an accurate picture of the Queensland Government decision to cave in to big business.

It’s hard to imagine anyone getting excited over the prospect of squeezing 10,000 chickens into something like a suburban block.

But the local minister for chickens, John McVeigh, seems very excited indeed at the prospect. As no doubt are the giant egg producers who’ve been lobbying for years redefine ‘free range’ eggs as ‘free to make enormous sodding profits from a lot of gullible punters and even grumpier chickens’.

If the industry could only sell millions more tasteless pale little yellow eggs from sad old cluckers imprisoned in closely packed sheds for the same price those free range hippies are selling their bloated inconveniently tasty golden eggs of goodness, why, the giant industrial farming companies which make up most of membership of the Australian Egg Corporation Limited would make a lot more money.

You can see why a state government with close ties to an industrial agribusiness like factory-scale egg producers would want to give them a free ticket to cash in on people’s desire for a half decent goog into which to dip their Vegemite toast soldiers. But I can’t see why we’d let them get away with it. This is such a blatant shakedown.

For some people, including most genuine free range farmers, it’s a matter of ethics, of not treating the chooks poorly. But even if you don’t much care about that, you should totally care that these bastards are trying to sell you a vastly inferior product at a grotesque mark up simply because their mates in the government have tipped them the nod to get away with it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Queensland stocking density decision is pathetic

The Queensland Government's decision to amend the Animal Care and Protection Regulation 2012 to allow and allow greater stocking densities for free range layer hens is a complete cave-in to Coles supermarket and corporate egg preoducers.

The regulation previously limited stocking density to 1,500 birds per hectare a step taken some years ago to enforce a major provision of the Model Code. It argues that  other states allow higher densities and this placed Queensland egg farmers at a disadvantage.

They've done OK for the past ten years or so and there are plenty of free range egg farms across Australia operating very successfully with maximum stocking rates under 1500 hens per hectare.

The consumer group Choice has a petition running aimed at getting the Queensland Government to revert to its previous regulation.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Chicken challenge

From the WeeklyTimes:

PETA has written a letter to an egg producer offering to give charity up to $3400 if he confines himself to cage.The animal welfare group’s proposal has been made to egg producer Andrew Postregna who owns Tamarix Egg Farm in Dandenong South and states that PETA will donate $100 per hour to charity if Mr Postregna confines himself to a cage of similar proportions to his body, as the chickens' cages are to theirs for 34 hours, the time it takes a chicken to produce an egg.

PETA's Australia campaigns director Jason Baker said the group made the proposal to Mr Postregna after a statement he made on the Australian Egg Corporation Limited website.

Mr Baker said that Mr Postregna wrote on the website: "When there's a few birds in a cage they tend to know each other. They're happy. Their stress levels seem to be a lot less than what it is in free-range [chickens]".

Mr Baker said maybe after Mr Postregna gets a real feel for being caged, he'll stop claiming that caged hens are "happy".

Mr Postregna had not received any letter from PETA when the Weekly Times Now contacted him.

PETA's campaign co-ordinator Claire Fryer said the letter had been faxed and posted.

She said it was the first time PETA had made such a proposal. 

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Environmental Management on egg farms

Environmental Management Systems have become essential tools for maintaining the sustainability of farms and other rural enterprises. Many egg producers have already implemented full EMS procedures on their farms.

An EMS is a flexible business management system that helps farmers develop their own strategies for integrating environmental considerations into the daily operations of a farm. An EMS builds on existing management strategies, such as emergency, pest, or nutrient management plans.

It can be critical in improving environmental performance, reducing livestock health risks, assisting with regulatory compliance and improving the farm's reputation and community relationships.
An initial part of the EMS process is to clarify the farm environmental policy — how the farm identifies and addresses environmental concerns. Once an environmental policy is in place it helps to influence the development of a management system for on-farm activities. The policy guides the business through planning, implementing and reviewing farm management decisions that affect the environment, as well as the bottom line.

It allows for improved farm management and continual improvement of an operation.

Contact us if you want more info or help in developing an EMS for your farm.