Major egg producers are using the recent avian influenza outbreaks in Victoria as an opportunity to kill off genuine free range production. They want all hens to be locked in sheds.
The Victorian Farmers Federation Egg Group president Brian Ahmed speculated that the strains of AI travelled between wild and farmed birds due to heavy rainfall this winter.
"The extra rainfall and water accumulated around farms, and of course wild birds being the known carriers of this virus — you could say all the ducks have lined up in a row," Mr Ahmed” told the ABC.
"If we keep letting them out during this high risk time, it'll keep spreading.
"The only way is to lock up every bird" he added. In the interview, Mr Ahmed acknowledgeed that the definition of free range should limit the number of hens on a farm to less than 1000.
His commentrs ignore the reality that in many cases the outbreaks of Various diseases are spread by management practices on intensive production facilities, particularloy the movement of products and staff between many sites. With small flocks and good biosecurity, outbreaks would be very limited and widespread culling would not be necessary.