An article on Sydney Morning Herald’s website about impending amendments to the definition of “Free Range” egg production reveals some worrisome changes, but comes as no surprise to most animal advocates. It represents a shining example of what animal protection groups already know – that Animal Ag. industry guidelines will always be amended and manipulated (yes, even free range) to allow for more intensive production rates.
“Egg labeling has become a contentious issue after the Australian Egg Corporation, which represents most egg producers, devised a new standard that would allow a free-range egg farms to have as many as 20,000 chickens per hectare.
Free-range farmers and animal welfare groups are outraged by the new standard, which they say is unethical and will not give consumers any confidence in the free-range industry. The present model code allows 1500 chickens per hectare.”
This is happening because the bottom line is – free range production cannot adequately meet the immense demand of “product” from the buying public. So producers have to find ways to increase yields to meet market demands. These changes will often happen without consumers knowledge, and can mean ongoing suffering for millions of Australian hens every single year.
“Our main concern is that consumers’ voices will not be heard and without any consumer representation at this forum, it will be very hard for the minister to get an idea of what consumers expect when purchasing free-range,” Ms Just said.”
If we want to help put an end to factory farming, the answer cannot lie in purchasing Free Range eggs due to the inherent volatility of the industry standards. We need to take a leaf out of the vegans book, and stop purchasing egg products all together – it’s the only way to ensure that these animals are protected from ongoing exploitation. At the end of the day, leaving eggs out of your diet is relatively easy – so it’s certainly worth a thought.