Help needed for South Australia to set free range egg code
26th June 2013
Following the lack of action by the Federal Government to set a national definition for ‘free range’ eggs, South Australia has taken the lead and proposed a new industry code to end the confusion. South Australian Minister for Business Services and Consumers, John Rau, took the initiative and announced last week that this new code would settle the debate.If passed, those that adhere to the new voluntary code will warrant a label on their egg cartons saying ‘South Australian Laid, Free Range Egg Code Compliant’.
Currently, with no federal legislative or regulatory definition in place, larger egg producers have been cashing in on free range demand by stocking as many as 20,000 hens per hectare, despite the Model Code recommendation capping the density at 1,500 birds.South Australia’s new proposal would bring much needed clarity for consumers, allowing them to make an informed choice.It would also allow the free range egg producers who are meeting consumers’ expectations stand out from the crowd.
In the meantime, consumers across Australia continue to be misled as their expectations of what free range means are still ignored, and the ability to choose true free range eggs is almost impossible.The only state to have passed a law setting a maximum outdoor stocking density of 1,500 hens/hectare so far is Queensland.
ACTION:The South Australian Government has called for public comment on this proposal and we really need your support to help get it through.Submissions can be made by Email or by Post.To help you, below we have provided some suggested points to include in an email submission, or if you prefer you can click here to use our draft letter, ready for you to complete and post.Of course you are free to add your own comments or tailor it as you wish.
Submissions close on Friday 19th July 2013.
Suggested points to include in an email submission:
Subject: Submission to support proposed industry code for Free Range Eggs in South Australia
As a consumer, I am writing to show my full support for the proposed voluntary industry code that will provide standards for production of free range eggs in South Australia.I would like to offer the following points for consideration:
•I fully support the proposed voluntary industry code for Free Range Eggs in South Australia as it is consistent with my expectations of free range.It offers many benefits to me, as a consumer, helping to end the confusion and offering certainty when buying free range eggs.
•This new code will ensure that the free range hens are provided appropriate outdoor access, allowing them to live happier, more natural and healthier lives.
•The Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals (Domestic Poultry) recommends layer hens to be stocked no higher than 1,500 birds per hectare, so the proposed industry code specifying the same conditions is clearly in the best interest of hen welfare.
•The proposed code acts as a call to supermarkets to offer eggs with the new label displayed that are true to consumer expectations, rather than offering only intensively produced free range eggs.
•I congratulate the South Australian Government’s decision to promote egg producers who adhere to the proposed code, supporting an ethical approach and enhancing hen welfare.
•I support the use of clear labelling so consumers can quickly and easily identify which products do comply with the South Australian Free Range Egg Industry Code.
•The new industry code labelling will create real value for South Australian grown eggs that comply, continuing to establish South Australia as one of the best food producers in the country.
•One condition that is missing from the proposed industry code concerns the debeaking of hens.I am concerned about this cruel practice and request for it to be added as a prohibited practice – the additional condition should read, ‘Debeaking of hens is not permitted.’Debeaking has a life-long effect on the welfare of hens and in a true free range environment, where there is no overcrowding, it is simply unnecessary.
SUBMISSIONS TO BE SENT…
Or by Post:
Closing Date:Submissions are due by Friday 19th July 2013.
Thank you so much for helping us with this issue and for making your voice heard!