|John Kaye meets chook at the Bellingen Growers' Market|
Media release: 7 October 2012
Until there is a legislated definition of 'free-range', millions of NSW egg consumers will continue to be ripped off by unscrupulous producers who are hiding behind the absence of a single enforceable standard, according to
Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
(''Free range egg scam" Sunday Telegraph, 7 October 2012, page 7,
Dr Kaye said: "Yet another egg producer has been caught selling eggs as
free range when the chickens that laid them are clearly not able to enjoy
generous amounts of outdoor space.
"This is just one more piece of evidence that the standards are in a mess.
The producer claimed ignorance about the need for openings to allow his
chickens to access the outdoor space.
"Only a legislated definition of free-range will remove the uncertainty
consumers face when they want to avoid being part of the treatment of
animals that they see as cruel and unnecessary.
"The NSW government is trying to hide its inaction on producing a single
standard behind a so-called crackdown that only catches a handful of the
most obvious rorters.
"Without legislation, the Egg Corporation's free-range definition will
dominate the industry. Those chickens that can access their outdoor area
will have only a half a square metre to themselves. This is not much better
than the caged standards.
"Liberal and national MPs are threatening to block the Greens legislation
in the NSW Lower House to limit free-range stocking densities to 1,500
birds per hectare rather than the Egg Corporation's 20,000.
"The O'Farrell government is refusing to resolve the gaping differences
between the different definitions of free range where unscrupulous producer
can hide the reality of the cruelty they inflict on their birds.
Even if a few more openings are cut in the barn wall, there is no guarantee
that there will be adequate outdoor space for the birds . If the producer
relies on the Egg Corporation's definition of free range, each chicken will
be lucky to have one half a square metre.
"This is not what consumers expect when they pay a premium to avoid the
over-crowding, beak mutilation and other cruelties of the caged and barn
laid industries," Dr Kaye said.