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27th November - Animal welfare compromised in proposed Poultry Standards      



27th November, 2017

Animal protection charity Humane Society International warns Australian consumers that the government’s draft Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry, released this week, would severely compromise bird welfare. The draft, set to replace the existing Model Code of Practice, is being project managed by Animal Health Australia (AHA) who claim they will enhance poultry welfare throughout Australia. Humane Society International disagrees.

Incredibly, the standards propose Australia continuing with battery cages for egg laying hens despite the global movement away from such systems. There is a wealth of science that shows the negative physical and psychological effects of caged systems. A growing number of countries, including those in the European Union, have already banned battery cages. It is inconceivable that Australia will ignore scientific evidence and consumer concerns.

Recent RSPCA research showed that 84% of Australians want to ban battery cages in Australia. Nicola Beynon, Head of Campaigns for Humane Society International said, “Perhaps the government should conduct a postal vote before locking in cruel battery cages for another decade!”

Ms Beynon continued, “The Poultry Standards represent a key opportunity to advance animal welfare, but instead they are set for monumental failure prolonging the suffering and misery of hundreds of millions of animals. Once adopted, the Standards will be set for at least the next 10 years, so it is critical that they are unbiased and focus on the welfare of the birds, and are not full of concessions for big business.”

The corporate world is moving away from caged cruelty and Humane Society International welcomed the recent announcement by global conglomerate Nestlé for their complete transition to cage-free eggs in Latin America, Oceania, Middle East and Africa by 2025. As the world’s largest food company, Nestlé is setting an important benchmark in the global move towards improving animal welfare. Australia risks getting left behind.

Ms Beynon concludes, “Despite these advances across the globe, the Australian government remains stuck in the cruel past. Earlier this year the government announced a free range egg standard that ignored consumer calls and caved in to big business. This time they need to listen and make the right call.”

The ninety-day public consultation on the draft Poultry Standards is now underway with comments due by 26th February 2018.


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