Friday, November 16, 2012

More publicity against intensive egg plans

Here's part of an article about the ACCC decision published  in the South Gippsland Sentinel Times - our local newspaper:

A PRELIMINARY decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been welcomed by the free range sector of the Australian Egg Industry led by Phil Westwood of Freeranger Eggs at Grantville.

The ACCC says it plans to reject AECL’s application for a trade mark for new standards for egg production as it did not believe they would meet Consumer expectations.

Standards proposed by the Australian Egg Corporation were designed to decieve consumers and boost the profits of corporate egg businesses, while decimating family farms throughout the country Mr Westwood said.

He said this decision (by the ACCC) demonstrates the strength of opposition to the Egg Corporation's plans from within the industry and is likely to spark strong debate at the Egg Corp’s annual meeting in Sydney on November 29.

Of 1700 direct submissions only 7 supported the AECL plan.

Most of the proposed standards were acceptable to the industry and simply retlected existing production methods.

But the purpose of several of the standards which related specifically to the free range sector of the industry, was to allow intensive production facilities to lable the eggs they produce as free range in order to obtain a price premium from unsuspecting consumers.

Mr Westwood said the fundamental elements of the proposal allowed a maximum stocking density of up to two hens per square metre (20.000 hens per hectare), to keep young hens locked in sheds until they are about 25 weeks old (even though they usually start laying at 16 to 20 weeks of age). to have no restrictions on the beak trimming of hens and to keep the hens locked up if the weather its too hot, too windy, too wet or in any other way adverse’.

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