Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Egg Standards Australia delayed

The Australian Egg Corporation is still plugging away, trying to get its discredited Egg Standards Australia program up and running - but its timeline is now very short.
The AECL Board has missed every deadline set for introducing the new standard, and it doesn't look like it will meet its latest September deadline!
It will make for an interesting Annual Meeting in Sydney in November if the program isn't in operation before then.
As all egg producers know, the Scottish Agricultural College denied claims by the Australian Egg Corporation that its research backed Egg Corp plans for free range stocking densities to be lifted to 20,000 hens per hectare.

Dr Victoria Sandilands, head of the SAC's Avian Science Research Centre said: “If AECL think that 20,000 hens/hectare is acceptable outdoors, then it would be too far a stretch to say this is based on our work. This alteration would need considerable research on what is acceptable outdoors to back it up.

The research involved placing different numbers of hens in pens inside a windowless room to check on patterns of behaviour.

It concluded that any space allowance of less than about 5000 cm2 per hen imposed at least some
constraint on free expression of behaviour.

Far from suggesting that this meant that 2 birds per square metre was an acceptable outdoor density – it meant that stocking density in cages and sheds should be no more than 2 birds per square metre instead of the currently allowed 14 - 15 birds per square metre.
If the Egg Corp interprets the Scottish research accurately, it will throw the industry into chaos.

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