Truth-in-labelling activists gathered in the Sydney Domain to undertake a larger-than-life demonstration of what 'free-range' egg production would look like under the Egg Corporation's plans to increase stocking densities from 1,500 to 20,000 birds per hectare, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
Dr Kaye said: "The industrial caged-egg producers are trying to con consumers into thinking they are buying an animal-welfare-friendly product. The reality is a level of overcrowding that means their hens are anything but free-range.
"As the Greens' Truth in Labelling Bill goes before the NSW Lower House, we want the Coalition MPs to know that their constituents are tired of the term 'free range' being abused to fatten up the profits of the egg industry.
"Two million NSW residents who purchase free-range eggs want to know that the chickens lived a reasonable life.
"By scaling up to human size the area allocated to hens under the different standards, we are demonstrating that 'free-range' is meaningless under the Egg Corporation's 20,000 birds per hectare standard.
"Consumers are paying more for their eggs to avoid the cruelty of cramming chickens into less than half a square metre each and the horror of systematic beak 'trimming' that become unavoidable in these conditions.
"Consumers are sick of being mislead by the big industrial producers who are more interested in boosting their profits then meeting the needs of customers who value animal welfare.
"The O'Farrell government has underestimated community anger with the misuse of the free-range label.
"Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts should stand up to his National Party colleague Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson and make it clear that consumer rights take precedence over the profits of industrial egg producers.
"Enshrining free-range standards in legislation is the only way to stop the free-range label being misused to exploit consumers.
"The activists in the Domain today are sending a strong message to the O'Farrell government to stop the Egg Corporation's sham free-range standard and support the Greens' Truth in Labelling for Free-range eggs bill," Dr Kaye said.