From the Australian Food News website 16 April 2012:
Almost a third of eggs labelled as “free range” in Australia are produced in conditions that breach the egg industry’s own regulations, according to new figures published by the Australian Egg Corporation Limited (AECL).
A media statement published on the AECL’s website states that 29 per cent of free range egg production in Australia is sourced from farms that stock free range hens at densities greater than two birds per square metre (20,000 per hectare).
However, the current Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals only allows for a maximum of 1,500 hens per hectare (but states “any higher bird density is acceptable only where regular rotation of birds onto fresh range areas occurs and close management is undertaken which provides some continuing fodder cover”).
The AECL said it does not consider this to be appropriate and that it wishes to draw a ‘line in the sand’ at a “responsible and transparent maximum outdoor or range density”.
The AECL believes the free range outdoor stocking density cap should be lifted 20,000 hens per hectare to meet growing consumer demand.
Click here to read the full article on the Australian Food News website.