Kangaroo Island free range egg producers attended a Parliamentary Forum held in Adelaide recently about the industry’s production standards.
The Australian Egg Corporation (AEC) has proposed new standards for free range eggs to define “free range” as covering all production up to 20,000 hens per hectare, an increase from the current standard of 1500 hens per hectare.
KI Free Range Eggs Tom and Fiona Fryar and Kathy Barrett of Katham Springs Bio-Dynamic Free Range Eggs, along with Humane Choice chief operating officer Lee McCosker attended the Parliamentary Forum in South Australia's Parliament House in Adelaide on June 27.
Humane Choice was invited to attend the forum and speak on behalf of free range egg producers and put forward its case, expressing its concerns about current definitions for free range eggs.
Mr Fryar said until now, the majority of information put forward had been from AEC in support of large, intensive producers and the promotion of their egg standard allowing an increase in stocking rates for outdoor layer hens to 20,000 hens per hectare.
Mr Fryar had an opportunity to explain the differences between the proposed 20,000 hen density and the current 1500 hen density.
The Fryar’s were then able to answer questions put to them by the Members of Parliament hoping to give them a better understanding of what the real outcomes will be if the 1500 density was not enforced.
Mr Fryar said there were currently two identical Bills before Parliament, one introduced by Tammy Franks of the Greens party and the other by Member for Finniss Michael Pengilly.
Both Bills seek to cap stocking densities for free range layer hens at 1500 per hectare.
He said support for the Bills was strong and attendance and interest at the forum was very encouraging.
“We still have a long way to go and we predict that this debate will soon become a national issue as the awareness grows about the truth behind labelling of free range eggs,” Mr Fryar said.
He said the results of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) call for comment would weigh heavily on any decisions government would make.
The public is encouraged to send emails about the issue to the State Agriculture Minister Gail Gago at firstname.lastname@example.org and Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig at email@example.com.
back to top