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.
Many of us are disgusted and indignant when we learn about animal abuse – as we have seen from the recent outcry over the conditions of animals in the Live Export trade. Most of us are dismayed by unnecessary harm.. and if cruelty is being inflicted, we outcry and condemn the perpetrators and demand that things should change. Yet many of us don’t realise that simply by purchasing that leg of lamb, a feather doona, or those Italian leather boots you’ve been lusting after – you are financing cruelties that you would never dream of supporting, if you knew they were happening. This pamphlet from Boston Vegan Association explains what happens behind the closed doors of agribusiness and other common animal exploitative industries, and why going vegan is the most effective thing you can do to put an end to animal suffering.
After the expose on factory farmed pigs on 60 minutes last night, I decided to write a letter to Coles & Woolworths:
Dear Decision Maker,
It is a no brainer that the industrialised abuse of farmed animals will not be tolerated by an informed society – and that your patrons will be looking to you to support “humanely raised” animal products. Whilst this is, of course – an essential step for a retailer such as yours to take – I sincerely hope you will also increase your stocks of meat alternatives (vege meats). The simple fact is that free range and organic are again just “labels” and “guidelines” that can be manipulated and abused – at the end of the day producers will “do what it takes” to meet demand and this very fact is what has created this mess in the first place. If we significantly decrease our meat demand the production levels can be scaled down – removing the supply/demand “need” for intensive farming. When you consider too the environmental implications of animal agriculture, the reasons to reduce meat are more compelling than ever. We look to you to please fill this growing need for alternatives.
I hope the terrible realities of intensive farming gives us all reason to think deeply about the role we play and the effect our purchasing choices have. It’s all very well to demand that producers change their methods but we have to remember that they are doing what they have to do to keep up with heavy demand. So it is up to us to reduce that demand – and reduce it significantly!
As you already know – I decided to remove myself from the “consumer chain” completely two years ago and became a vegan. I did this because it suddenly became clear to me that every time I purchased an animal product, I was saying “I’m ok with whatever the producers are doing to these animals, I support it”. I could see that no amount of “labeling” (ie; freerange) will ever be a guarantee that the animals I eat will be treated well. I came to this conclusion as I considered a society that starts to put heavy demand on these labels … How could this industry ever really change if the demand is so high? There will be an ever increasing population of people, increased competition, fewer resources and dwindling unoccupied land …. It just doesn’t pan out. I then started to investigate the health & environmental impacts of a meat versus vegan diet. Everything started to make sense – all of these very important issues were linked – so it was an easy decision for me to make, and a decision I have been very happy with ever since – no regrets. (yes, there is life after cheese!! 🙂
I’m not asking you to become a vegan (although that would surely make my heart sing with hope) … I’m just laying out the situation as I see it and inviting you – dear reader – to consider these points and to think about what you can do.
We are all responsible for our world, and in these troubling times we have much to consider. The writing is on the wall for the animals, our environment and our health – it really is up to us to take a stand and demand change.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Will you be making any changes to tackle the issues that are important to you? Please share your thoughts with us, I would love to read your point of view!
Peace & love – from Mars xxx
A sow confined to gestation crate