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Australian Egg Industry Supports Consumer Choice

by 5m Editor
27 November 2008, at 7:25a.m.

AUSTRALIA - Australian Egg Corporation Limited (AECL) continues to support consumer choice in response to a magazine article apparently casting doubt on the definition of term 'free-range'.

James Kellaway, managing director of the Australian Egg Corporation Limited (AECL) has rejected the claims made by Choice magazine, saying "Choice has belittled all Australian egg farmers by trivializing the uncertainty of the definition of free-range farming as shonky [dubious; underhanded] in what is a very complex issue.

"AECL's Egg Corp Assured program is a voluntary program that is based around the 4th Edition of the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Domestic Poultry, as recognized by Choice magazine in July 2008.

"The national industry quality assurance scheme – Egg Corp Assured (ECA) was initially developed under a research project leading to the National Egg Quality Assurance Program. This was revised and presented as a national scheme by the Australian Egg Corporation Limited (AECL) in December 2004.

"While AECL has taken action to define consumer expectations in free-range eggs, it is unaware of any research done by Choice in this area, to define their assertion of 'true free-range'. AECL encourages, and fully supports the regulation and enforcement of standards within the egg industry, as long as those standards are meaningful and take into account available and reliable science, as well as consumer preferences.

"AECL strongly believes all egg production systems have their own advantages and disadvantages in relation to hen welfare, and fully supports the right of all consumers to exercise freedom of choice when they are presented with the vast array of choice at the supermarket.

"Best practice in hen welfare is largely determined by the animal husbandry practices of egg farmers, rather than the production systems that they use."

5m Editor