Tuesday, June 24, 2014
More free range farms needed in Australian egg industry
Once there is a clear national definition of the term 'free range' which brings some honesty back into the egg in dustry there will be even greater incentives for more people to set up free range farms -which is exactly what's needed to meet consumer demand. We agree totally with leading poultry industry vet Dr Peter Scott that more small-scale free range farms must be established rather than the intensive systems which are often add-ons to existing cage or barn facilities.
Moves to introduce a clear definition for free range eggs have been welcomed. State Ministers responsible for consumer affairs will consider endorsing a legal definition at their next meeting which is expected to be in April. The NSW Minister for Fair Trading Matthew Mason-Cox has been selected to prepare a draft standard.
We need a clear definition if consumer confidence is to be restored.The next step will be to get more producers involved in genuine free range production which is where our already popular eBook on setting up a free range farm comes in - as well as the workshops we run at Grantville.
The outbreak of avian influenza at an intensive farm near Young in NSW last year demonstrated the problems which can be generated by intensive production methods - as did salmonella issues in Victoria earlier this year.
Land sustainability, food safety, animal welfare and truth in labelling are key components of an effective free range industry and we hope that the Australian Egg Corporation will support the establishment of hundreds more free range egg farms.