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Free Range Egg Production in South Australia

by 5m Editor
26 June 2012, at 11:41am

AUSTRALIA - The Australian Egg Corporation Ltd (AECL) is concerned about two identical Bills currently before the South Australian Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament.

The AECL is concerned that the Houses will:

  • Result in South Australian egg farmers becoming extremely uncompetitive. As it is, the South Australian egg industry only supplies less than 40 per cent of eggs sold in that state with more than 60 per cent being sourced from interstate in 2010. If these Bills were passed, South Australia could be flooded with eggs from States that comply with the Model Code of Practice that allows higher densities.

  • Result in current egg production levels being significantly reduced, driving egg prices to higher levels. According to independently commissioned research undertaken by the Centre for International Economics, free range egg prices will rise to between $10.60 to $12.80 per dozen if all free range farms were stocked at 1500 hens per hectare.

  • Result in more pressure for the importation of eggs from other countries that have lesser animal welfare standards, dubious food safety laws and animal health protection or quarantine issues. As a result, they have witnessed outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza over recent years and outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis or SE which is endemic in a number of these countries.

  • Result in a large number of households who keep hens in their backyard suddenly not complying with this reduced stocking density (which equates to one hen per 6.7m2).

  • However, AECL fully supports truth in labelling, transparency of product definitions and animal welfare and science-based standards.

  • As AECL sets evidence-based standards, it is happy to consider any science or evidence that suggests that 1500 hens per hectare is a better maximum density.