August 2, 2011


Australia mulls over free range egg processing definition



The Australian government is now working on a national definition for free range egg production, and submissions are being made to the federal government to impose a standard.


The Free Range Farmers Association in Victoria and the national industry body, Free Range Egg and Poultry Association of Australia have been pushing for many years that a national definition should be established for free range production systems which meets consumer expectations.


Now the Australian Egg Corporation's managing director, James Kellaway has agreed. He has called for the definitions of egg-production processes should be enshrined in law and said: "We have definitions that are enforced by the industry but we want to make such definitions more robust and definitive; what we'd like to see is a definition that is clearly enunciated and enforced."


This means that there is now broad agreement in the egg industry that clear, legal definitions need to be established for different methods of production.


Phil Westwood, President of the Free Range Egg and Poultry Association of Australia Inc. welcomed the announcement by AECL.


"Now that we have industry agreement that there needs to be legal definition, the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Joe Ludwig, really has no more excuses for delaying a start on developing that definition. We have argued that the starting point should be the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals - Domestic Poultry. The definition should require a maximum outdoor stocking density of 1,500 hens per hectare and prohibit the beak trimming or de-beaking of birds," Westwood said.

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