ACCC Calls for public comment on free range chicken & turkey meat standards
In June, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) called for public comment on the proposed Egg Standard Australia, the controversial industry standard that would allow massive increases to the stocking densities of free range layer hens and change how we farm free range eggs in Australia. Your feedback to the ACCC was extraordinary and we believe your efforts will effect real change in the egg industry.
The ACCC is calling on you again to give your input into the definition of free range, but this time in relation to free range chickens and turkeys raised for meat.
At HSI we don't believe free range birds should be treated any differently to layer hens. However, the APIA Free Range Standard (Australian Poultry Industries Association) could mean that chickens are only given the same space outdoors on the range as they are given inside the shed. This could mean huge stocking densities of 6 turkeys per sq metre or up to 60,000 turkeys per hectare and 14 chickens per sq metre or up to 140,000 birds per hectare! APIA wants to label this as free range! Read the ACCC letter here.
This is a rare opportunity to put an end to the industrialization of free range chicken meat production, so don't miss it! Click here for an Example Letter, or simply send an instant email using this link Email Form Letter . Comments are due to the ACCC by Friday 3rd August 2012.
your guide to writing a submission or letter to the Accc
Under the Trade Marks Act, an application for a Certification Trademark must first have its Rules and Standards examined by the ACCC to satisfy them that the applicant meets the technical requirements of the Act and does not raise consumer protection, competition or associated concerns.
You will have to show the ACCC on what grounds they should deny this application. To do this, you will need to describe how APIA would affect consumer and producer rights and perhaps considerations of the Trade Marks Act.
Animal welfare will not come into this discussion. This is purely about what effect the proposed standards may have on consumer expectations and whether producers or other parties may be disadvantaged by these standards.
As a consumer, you could simply explain to the ACCC what your expectations are when you purchase free range chicken or turkey and perhaps your concerns that this product will become unavailable if this new standard defines free range for the entire industry and puts small producers out of business. Tell the ACCC the picture you have in your mind of what free range means and what you expect when you buy a chicken labelled as free range. An Example Letter can be found here, or simply send an instant email here Email Form Letter .
Producers, you need to discuss issues relating to the standards that you believe would be detrimental to the public. For example, would a consumer confusion over this new standard lead a consumer into error? Would a consumer buy APIA certified chicken or turkey with an expectation of what free range means? Would that expectation be based on the Model Code of Practice? Does APIA have any justification for increasing stocking rates?
Will this new standard mean unfair competition? APIA is owned by Inghams, Baiada, Turi Foods, Cordina Chicken Farms, Golden Cockeral, Hazeldenes and Red Lea.
You can download a copy of the APIA Free Range Certification Program here.
True free range producers need all the help they can muster to help stop the intensification of the free range industry for them, for you and most importantly, for the hens.
Send your comments to:
The General Manager
GPO Box 3131
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Or by email to: CTMs@accc.gov.au quoting reference CTM 1435347 in the subject line.
Closing Date: Friday 3rd August 2012