Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Extremist animal rights terrorist may become a Senator

 

Disgraced animal activist Chris Delforce is being endorsed as a senate candidate by the Animal Justice Party. He launched the Aussie Farms website which defamed many farmers (including freerange egg producers) and published their contact details. The site included an interactive map which purported to show factory farms, slaughterhouses and other 'animal exploitation' facilities across Australia.

Even fellow activist vegetarians and vegans are appalled by the extreme antics of Chris Delforce.

An article by ‘Vegan Police’ paints a poor picture of the man. It says:

Whilst Mr Delforce is gleefully enjoying his 15 minutes of fame thanks to an eager media, it appears that he is paying very little attention to the damage that his comments and websites are doing to ‘the movement’.

Unfortunately, the more that Mr Delforce and his Aussie Farms website(s) appear in agricultural media, the more that animal advocates are being demonised, and the harder things will become in the future.

Mr Delforce is another one of a growing number of people who have labelled themselves as ‘Animal Rights Activists’, andhave paid very little thought to what that actually means. Maybe ‘animal rights’ is the new black.

In a deleted facebook discussion the question was asked on the Aussie Farms fan page how they envisioned these ‘rights’ being granted. Would it be through the granting of a type of personhood or via legislated rights, and would it apply to all animals, or only those used for food?

Their response was we’re more interested in achieving a paradigm shift (as discussed in the interview) in the way animals are viewed, so that people view them not as stock or property, but as living, sentient animals who have a desire and a right to not be abused, exploited or killed. Laws prohibiting the killing of animals can only come as a result of this.

This appears to be contradictory to the footage and images that are on the Aussie Farms website. All I have been able to find are images and footage of other animals as they are used in the animal agricultural system. There are no scientific reports of the sentience of other animals, evidence of their desire to live or anything for that matter that would lead the viewer/reader to believe that they are anything else than property.

If it is Mr Delforce and Aussie Farms’ true intent to ‘convert’ people to veganism, they appear to have gone about it the wrong way.

Gruesome footage doesn’t get people to change their minds or create a paradigm shift. If it did, then the government wouldn’t have resorted to plain paper packaging for cigarettes after the ‘shocking’ photos, and we would be seeing ‘shocking’ images on TV in an attempt to improve the road toll.

If Aussie Farms has the network of supporters that Mr Delforce claims, then I am sure there would have been at least one person who would have been able to do some research into alternative uses for farm land.

We need to be mindful that as it is ‘us’ who are instigating the change, ‘we’ need to be able to present alternatives. Not stomping our feet on the ground like a child throwing a tantrum.

Maybe they could contactHarold Brown at Farm Kind and have a chat to him before they talk to the media again.

Honestly, I am surprised that no one advised Mr Delforce to have his answers prepared BEFORE the media contacted him.”Vegan Police



Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Two thirds of eggs in UK now freerange

 

Free range now officially accounts for nearly two thirds of egg production in the UK, according to the latest figures released by the Department of Environmentr, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Eggs described as Free range eggs made up 62 percent of all production to go through packing stations between July and September 2021.

This is up from 58 percent in the second quarter of this year and 55 percent in the third quarter of 2020.

Enriched cage production has fallen from 39 percent to 33 percent. All major retailers in the UK have committed to abandoning cage production of eggs, by 2025.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Food regulator allowing more GM food

 

Friends of the Earth in Melbourne has alerted consumers that Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is proposing changes to food regulations. It will allow companies to commercialise genetically modified, animals, plants and microbes, allowing a wide range of new genetically modified (GM) foods into our food chain -with no regulation or labelling. This could pose potential health risks and would seriously undermine our right to know how our food is produced.

These would include meat and milk from some genetically modified animals and substances like vanilla and stevia produced by genetically modified microbes in factory vats.

The companies that gave us Agent Orange, paraquat, RoundUp and other toxins will be allowed to self-assess the safety and hazards of these new foods and ingredients, and to sell them without regulation or labelling.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Poultry industry may face another bird flu outbreak

 Australian poultry farmers are bracing for the possibility of another round of infections from avian influenza (bird flu).

Flocks are being affected in many parts of the world with outbreaks of severe bird flu reported in Europe and Asia. Relaxation of border controls and the expected resumption of international travel pose a real risk of infectionThe spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza, has alerted the poultry industry after previous outbreaks led to the culling of tens of millions of birds.Seven outbreaks occurred in Australia between 1976 and 1997. China has reported 21 human infections with the H5N6 subtype of avian influenza so far this year, more than the previous year. South Korea reported an outbreak at a farm of around 770,000 poultry. All chickens were slaughtered. Japan reported its first outbreak of the 2021 winter season, at a poultry farm in the northeast of the country. In Europe, Norway has reported an H5N1 bird flu outbreak in the Rogaland region in a flock of 7,000 birds The Belgian government put the country on increased risk for bird flu, ordering poultry to be kept indoors after a highly pathogenic variant of bird flu was identified in a wild goose near Antwerp.

The last serious outbreaks in Australia affected intensive egg producers with large flocks, but the financial implications hit even small producers.All Australian egg producers had to pay a levy totalling$ 395,000 to the Australian Government for the egg industry’s share of costs incurred for the responses associated with an outbreak among ducks during January 2012, an outbreak among laying hens in November 2012; and another outbreak in October 2013. Outbreaks here have generally been spread by contaminated staff and products travelling between intensive facilities housing many thousands of birds.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

What freerange means

 

We still get heaps a questions from people asking what freerange actually means. They often say “We only buy freerange eggs.” When they further say that their eggs are from a major supermarket they are less than happy when I tell them that the eggs are almost certainly not freerange – they are simply labelled that way to rip off customers. The reality is that only intensive producers with many thousands of hens in sheds have enough eggs available to meet supermarket delivery requirements. Even big producers are forced to buy eggs from others businesses to keep up supplies. Eggs are trucked around the country to be stamped and packaged in many different locations and with different labels –  claiming to be freerange.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission tried to fix the problem by taking various firms to the Federal Court for deceptive conduct. The ACCC says“use of the descriptor ‘free range’ requires, at least, that the hens are able to move about freely on an open range on most days, and that most of the hens do so. the ACCC rejects claims by some that it is OK to tell consumers that the eggs are from free range hens when the outdoor range is not regularly used and the farming practices mean that the hens stay indoors all or most of the time. Some of those hens never leave the sheds.

Producers do not have to use the label ‘free range’. Producers choose to describe their eggs as free range to promote their products and obtain higher prices as consumers are generally willing to pay a premium for free range eggs. Unfortunately, after heavy lobbying by the corporate industry, politicians stepped in to protect intensive egg producers by allowing a high density code.

Academic researchers often produce theories and reports designed to demonstrate what 'free range' means in the egg industry. Celebrity chefs usually confine themselves to mistaken comments that bright yolk colour defines whether or not an egg is free range. Yolk colour varies, depending on the hen’s diet. If the yolk colour is always a bright, golden almost orange colour, the hens have almost certainly been fed colouring additives. Academic findings are usually based on carefully arranged criteria set by an organisation which funded the research and expects specific outcomes. Far better to rely on the experience of those in the industry actually running free range egg farms. Some people are fixated on the issue of animal welfare and they lose sight of matters like food safety and land sustainability. Outdoor stocking density is a key example. Academics found it easy to come up with results from research on small scale or short term projects to demonstrate that stocking densities had little or no impact on hen welfare. But it has been impossible for them to demonstrate that high densities have no detrimental impact on pasture quality, pollution of waterways, groundwater and the long term productivity of the land as a result of excessive nutrient loads. The maximum sustainable stocking density for poultry has been established at 1500 hens per hectare to minimise land degredation and ensure the long-term viability of the land.

Laying hens, like most if not all other animals, perform best when they are able to follow their natural behaviour. They clearly need shelter, food and water but they also need to wander around freely to forage, scratch, dust bathe and interact socially with others in the flock.

There is growing evidence that eggs from hens raised on pasture have nutritional benefits over the factory farm versions.

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Plans shelved for Mega dodgy farm in UK

A major egg producer in Yorkshire is revamping plans to expand hen numbers by almost 200,000 following opposition from the community.to introduce 192,000 hens in three 9,500sq m buildings on 237 acres of  land near Northallerton. The mega farm was set to cost £10m in a bid to help major supermarkets meet their ‘cage-free’ commitments by 2025.

There are plenty of similar egg producing facilities in Australia which claim to supply freerange eggs. They meet the slack requirements of Federal and State Governments. 

Thursday, November 04, 2021

New system to eliminate hatching male chicks

 An Israeli research organisation, the VolcaniCenter has developed a new process which manipulates the chicken genome to eliminate the hatching of male chicks at hatcheries. If adopted by industry worldwide, this could save the culling of 7 billion male chicks every year.


Dr. Yuval Cinnamon, principle researcher at the Center announced that his team developed a molecular approach to regulate the Z chromosome with an optogenetic system using a blue light that shines through the eggshell at the incubator.

The males have two Z chromosomes, and the females have one Z chromosome and one W chromosome. In chickens, the female is the one that determines the gender of the offspring. If the Z chromosome segregates from the mother hen to the chick, it will develop into a male. If a W chromosome segregates, it will develop into a female,” Dr.Cinnamon said.

The new approach follows developments in Canada and Germany enabling the identification of male embryos which would allow eggs to be destroyed prior to incubation. None of the developments has yet been adopted by the industry but we have urged hatcheries to do so without delay once commercial viability has been established.France and Germany have undertaken to ban he culling unwanted male chicks by the end of 2021, as part of animal welfare reforms. T is expected that chicken hatcheries throughout Australia will also end the practice of euthanising day old male chicks, removing one of the key objections to poultry farms by animal activist groups.



Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Free range farming helps fight climate change

 

With the current focus on climate change and the COP26 talkfest in Glasgow, more people have begun to think about the real issues of food production. Sustainable farm practices are better for the planet than the broad-scale intensive production systems which have been adopted world-wide. Monocultures are destructive.

Farms utilizing regenerative agriculture— techniques to cultivate rich soils that trap greenhouse gases are the way of a real future. The eggs we produce can be marketed as helping to fight climate change.

Regenerative agriculture increases organic matter in the soil, It is nutritious for plants and locks up carbon dioxide. With healthier soil, crops can grow using less energy and without chemical fertilizers. See more on our website: www.freeranger.com.au




Monday, October 11, 2021

Isa Browns as backyard layers

 

Families who want a few hens to give them fresh eggs, first need to decide which hens to buy. Some heritage breeds look terrific but they may not be prolific layers – or they might have cranky temperaments which make them unsuitable around children. Choosing the right hens for your backyard can be a simple process once you have sorted out a suitable roaming area, coop and laying boxes.

ISA Brown hens have exceptional feed conversion and lay up to 300 eggs a year. The ISA Browns are docile, adapt well to different climates and are ideal as free range layers or for backyards where they make great pets as well as providing nutritious food for the family.

They are the hens we run at Freeranger Eggs and we often have some fully vaccinated hens available for backyarders. Give us a call to arrange pick-up.


Monday, October 04, 2021

Victoria loses control of COVID pandemic

 

The Victorian State Government has lost control of the Covid19 outbreak with record numbers of infections despite extreme lockdowns and a major jump in the vaccine rate. 1,143 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths were reported in the latest24 hours. The development may result in more calls to remove emergency powers from the Chif Health Officer - a bureaucrat and hand the decision-making responsibility to the Health Minister and Premier. After all it's politicians who are elected to make decisions - they are supposed to govern us, not the bureaucrats.

The results came from 62,883 tests and takes the total number of active cases in the state to 10,944. The figures seem to suggest that vaccines are not the silver bullet asserted by politicians and senior bureaucrats. It also seems likely that the infection is spread as a result of queuing at Covid testing sites and that lockdowns and compulsory vaccinations are not as effective as claimed. It seems that lockdowns and curfews are more damaging to people than the coronavirus.

Saturday, October 02, 2021

Daylight Saving nonsense

 

It’s that time of year, time for the absurd ritual of Daylight Saving. Clocks in Victoria, New South Wales South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory will go forward one hour from 2am Sunday. The Governments of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have the sense to ignore the stupidity of Daylight Saving, particularly this year with all the disruption caused by Government panic lockdowns during the Covid19 pandemic.1220 new Covid cases in Victiria in last 24 hours despite big vaccine rollout.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Point of Point of Lay pullets available now

 We have pont of Lay Isa Brown pullets available for pick up at the farm at Grantville  this weekend. ISA Browns are ideal backyard hens.  Details here. https://www.freeranger.com.au/products.html .  200 pullets were delivered to us yesterday, and already two have started laying. The hens are ideal freerange birds and are suitable as pets and backyard egg layers.



Monday, September 27, 2021

NBN connection OK

 The farm is now back on line. An NBN technician arrived this morning, set up a new antenna and attached our existing modem, so we are now back to our usual email and internet activity. Just as well we no longer bother with social media because our Facebok contacts would have wondered where we had gone!


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Moving on the same property. National Broadband Network complaint


 At Freeranger Eggs, we are in the process of moving from the main house on the farm to a smaller home towards the front of the property. This is causing total disruption to our telephone and internet services as we have to reorganise the NBN connection. This follows chaos caused by high winds which knocked out power here for a few days. That left us without any communications as the landline now relies on the internet connection and mobile towers were not functioning. The main advantage of the other house is that it is more compact and easier to heat. We have transferred our Stanley slow combustion stove to the new location.We have no idea how long it will take to get everything finalised - one  piece  of advice was to buy a Nighthawk2 modem to provide internet asnd phone services for both houses. Our ISP said that probably won't work and we need a second NBN connection,   But now NBN say they won't install a second connection on the property! Our ISP tells us thast we could revert to the old copperwire system We have lodged a complaint witrh the Minister for Communications. Paul Fletcher, and the Ombudsman. Since being contacted by the Ombudsman, our ISP, Swoop Broadband has got itself into gear and is talking to NBN.Hopefully the Minister will help because the Telecommunications Ombudsman isn't able to deal with complaints against NBN. We have bow contacted Telstra to see if they can help, An added complication is our adress. Some time ago, incompetent bureaucrats in Canberra decided that our address should be changed from Grantville to Glen Forbes . Chaos has ensued since then! Mail has gone missing and people using satellite navigation have got lost. 



Monday, July 12, 2021

Intensive egg production lobby

 Corporate egg producers are still trying to convince consumers that internsive production systems are good for hen welfare. Lobby group, Australian Eggs, is funding research aimed at countering views that confing chickens in sheds is detrimental for poultry. CCTV monitoring and artificial intelligence systems are being developed to track hen behaviour in sheds.

Researchers from the University of Technology, Sydney, a Victorian veterinary epiidemiologist and a Queensland Vet are developing the monitoring system which is expected to be ready by the end of this year.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Community research on egg industry demonstrates benefits ofpublic relations and advertising

 A community survey to explore the impacts of the egg industry was undertaken by CSIRO between April 27 and June 5, 2020. Funded by Australian Eggs, the research was part of a three-year program examining the relationship between the egg industry and the Australian community.

key findings from the 2019 survey are that trust in the egg industry and acceptance of it among the Australian public has improved. This is likely the product of improvements in how responsive the industry is perceived to be to community interest in sustainability issues, a belief that the industry is governed effectively and maintains strong standards, and retains very strong positive values. It demonstrated that an extensive advertising and public relations program can succeed in altering community views.

Animal welfare remained a priority issue for the egg industry, with a large proportion of participants feeling that egg farmers need to do more to improve poultry living conditions. While the public indicated they may be willing to pay more for eggs to ensure that health standards in egg production are strictly audited, they do not feel the same about paying extra to support egg farmers investing in higher welfare standards.

The 2019 findings also indicated shifting perceptions about the environmental aspects of sustainability in the egg industry. There was a substantial increase in the number of Australians who felt that egg farming was a good use of land, and lower in environmental impact than other industries. As global interest in environmental sustainability continues to rise, this feature of the egg industry may come to play an increasingly prominent role in its value proposition to Australians.

The 2019 community survey showed that Australians that hold critical views about the egg industry can change their perspective over time. The comparison of those people that completed the survey in 2018 and 2019 demonstrated that sentiment toward an industry can improve with industry action on its core challenges and the way that it engages the public in its work to be more sustainable.



Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Victoria's COVID lockdown chaos

 Frequent lockdowns by the Victorian Government have created massive problems for individuals and businesses of all types. The worst effects are felt by small enterprises such as Freeranger Eggs which had to cut production. We normally run four or five flocks of about 200 hens each, but are now reduced to just one flock.

Politicians and bureaucrats have no idea abourt the chaos their decisions create – they are insulated from everyday issues by their inflated salaries and employment packages.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Australian Eggs blocked from lobbying

 

The Federal Government has listened to egg farmers and turned down a push by industry marketing and research body Australian Eggs to allow it to broaden activities by taking on industry representation activities

Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud rejected the idea following results of an electronic poll of levy-paying egg producers to gauge opinions.

Friday, April 02, 2021

Vaccines for chickens, pigs and people

 Vaccines are creating news all over the world. Covid 19, Avian Influenza and African Swine Fever are all on the agendas of the world’s pharmaceutical companies. Ma Xiangjie, A senior executive from a major Chinese group said the use of illegal vaccines for African swine fever (ASF) reduced the output of pigs and eventually killed them. using  unapproved vaccines has been widespread as farmers tried to save their animals.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Facebook promoting Identity Theft

 

We are no longer able to maintain the Freeranger Eggs Facebook page because Facebook demanded we change our password and before approving a new password, required us to send an official photo ID document, such as a drivers licence. That is a clear identity theft issue.. We have tried to resolve the matter but there has been no response, however, we still receive emails from Facebook about notifactions made sin ce the last time we were able to log on.  Links to our Facebook page have been removed from this blog and from our website.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Scientists findings ways to boost production

 As chickens grow larger and produce more eggs, growth-related issues in laying hens and broilers have become more common. Researchers at the University of Georgia are finding ways to combat these issues, which can affect animal welfare and lead to production losses.

A recent journal article published in Poultry Science studied the effect of 20(S)-hydroxycholesterol, a naturally occurring bioactive compound, on satellite cell proliferation and differentiation of broilers and laying hens. Satellite cells are muscle-specific stem cells that are responsible for the post-hatch growth of skeletal muscles by increasing protein synthesis levels in muscle cells and resulting in muscle growth.

Led by Woo Kim and Yuguo Tompkins with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, in collaboration with Sandra Velleman, professor at The Ohio State University, the study examined the use of the compound to potentially improve both bone health and muscle growth. The study found that 20S has a positive effect on bone health in birds.

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Help to set up freerange farms

 There is still strong demand for information about setting up a freerange farm.

Our eBook on how to establish a sustainable freerange farm is even more vital now the clear consumer demand for free range eggs has increased  the number of people thinking about starting their own free range egg businesses.

Small, ethical and sustainable farm businesses can be established to service local communities.

A good starting point is reading our eBook on starting a free range farm available on the Freeranger Eggs website

Detailed information is available on the Freeranger Club downloads page about things like shed requirements, food safety, egg packaging and labelling.

When deciding to set up a free range egg farm, take the time to plan it properly. Find out the zoning of the land and talk to your local Council planning department about their requirements. It’s also worth contacting the State Department of Agriculture. You can find on-line resources in most states. Once that is sorted, talk to your Council Environmental Health Department about any specific requirements they have before you get underway.

Details:www.freeranger.com.au



Saturday, January 23, 2021

Rescued Roosters

 

People can be very strange, but the more strange thing is that authorities listen to them. A rooster crowing at first light for example is a natural event, but if neighbours complain, Council’s often move in to kill the offending animal – even though those people may host loud late night parties and disturb weekends with noisy trailbikes. We received two pleas from residents of Bass Coast Shire asking if we would rehome roosters which Council said would have to go. One is a Cochin with feathery feet and the other is a Cream Legbar. We will certainly find places for these proud creatures.



Thursday, January 21, 2021

Agriculture aims to be most trusted industry by 2030

 

The National Farmers Federation says it wants agriculture to be Australia’s most trusted industry by 2030. It is developing a national framework for building community trust although it acknowledges that the industry faces issues that may erode community trust and support. Some sectors, such as the egg industry already have a credibility problem with many examples of deceptive labelling in recent years which led to hefty fines following prosecutions by the ACCC. Many big producers make millions in extra profits each year by simply adding the words free range to labels . For them, fines are just a cost of doing business.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-25/egg-producer-snowdale-holdings-fined-over-free-range-claims/8741706

The NFF said Australian agriculture requires $159.5 billion in new capital to fund its growth ambitions. Traditionally, farm businesses have relied almost exclusively on debt financing for capital.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Freeranger Facebook posts reach over 4000 people in January

 

Freeranger Eggs Facebook page had 4,068 visitors in January, the highest monthly figure for some time. One of the most popular posts was about the importance of rodent control and the threats posed by mice and rats.

Rodents are a major concern on many poultry farms due to spreading diseases, damage and feed loss. This is a major reason for keeping hens in mobile houses which are usually easier to keep rodent-free. Unless steps are taken to prevent their presence, the house mouse (Mus musculus), and black rat (Rattus rattus) may become unwanted (and frequently unnoticed) guests. Sheds are attractive to these freeloaders because they provide a home, food, and water. Both rats and mice only need a hole large enough to pass their head through, as small as a quarter-inch for mice or a half-inch for rats. Once inside the house, they can easily burrow into poultry litter, under nests, into dirt floors, and into insulation in the walls and ceilings. This may go unnoticed, because rodents are active mainly at night when farmers often are not present. Rodents are seldom seen during the day until their numbers reach epidemic proportions. However, even a small population of rodents can cause significant problems that cost money. Possibly, the most obvious problem with rodents is the feed they consume and contaminate. All rodents will eat poultry feed, and they contaminate and ruin much more than they eat. An adult rat eats up to 10% of its bodyweight in feed each day, so a large rodent population may eat several tonnes of feed each year.

Rodent control is also needed in grading rooms and carton storage areas to limit contamination.
We no longer have a Facebook page.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Chickens on collectable cigarette cards

 

In days gone by, cigarette cards were all the rage. There are still avid collectors for cards on all sorts of subjects. One popular selection in the 1930’s and ‘40’s was poultry cards,from John Player and Sons, depicting a wide variety of chickens.


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Intensive food production systems meet fluctuating consumer demand


Quantity over quality is the rationale behind intensive production techniques in the food industry, whether it's eggs. meat, grains or vegetables.

Balancing supply with demand has always been as issue for small egg producers like us – particularly in an area which is a holiday destination. A boom in demand as holidaymakers descend on the region, followed by a slump when they return home has been a natural cycle of business since we started producing eggs. But now, we have the added problem of fluctuating Government travel restrictions in response to the Covid19 pandemic. Big producers with coolrooms full of stockpiled eggs, are able to cope without missing a beat – just load up the trucks and send eggs off to the stupidmarkets.

However, selling quality, fresh eggs, is rather more challenging as we have no stockpiles to plunder when customers need extra supplies. Theres is no question that intensive egg producers are better able to supply fluctuating market demands compared with boutique egg farms meeting niche market requirements.