Free range eggs should mean one bird, one sqm

NSW Farmers’ Egg Producer Committee today reiterated its call for national consistency regarding free range egg farm stocking density. It comes in response to Choice’s decision to make a super-complaint to NSW Fair Trading about the labelling of free range eggs.

The association‘s Egg Committee Chair Bede Burke said “there is currently no cap on outdoor free range stocking density, that is why the Committee in April this year established a self imposed cap of one bird per one square metre as a sustainable outdoor free range stocking density.”

“This cap means there will be 10,000 birds in an area slightly bigger than the size of this weekend’s Grand Final playing field. In contrast, there will be 84,000 people in the stands around it and around half of those Roosters.”

“Given that New South Wales producers account for just under half of all eggs produced in Australia, it was important to make a stand by imposing this cap,” Mr Burke said.

Moving toward one bird per one square metre stocking density also removes the ambiguity of the current regulations. “The Model Code of Practice for Poultry applies across Australia,” Mr Burke said. “It indicates is it permissible to have more than 1,500 birds per hectare if management of the range areas occur. A point that is often misreported.”
It is also why the Queensland government in July this year gazetted the upper cap of one bird per one square metre.

“I would invite Choice to visit our member farms and see how this management is possible for themselves,” Mr Burke said.

“It is important to ensure that high animal welfare standards in the industry are maintained. This level reflects consumer expectations, commercial realities and the best scientific information available,” Mr Burke said.

Contact: Jennifer Brown

Phone: 1300 794 000

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