ATTENTION AUSSIES: Please write to ACCC to save free range hens from 20,000 stocking density!

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by Gold Coaster, May 29, 2012.

  1. Gold Coaster

    Gold Coaster In the Brooder

    Hello fellow Aussies,

    I feel quite strongly about this topic and wanted to share it with you, especially since it will affect us all in this country if it is implemented.

    To put it briefly, the current free range standard stipulates that a maximum of 1500 chickens can be kept on 1 hectare of land. 1 hectare is equivalent to 2.471 acres or 10,000 square metres to put this in perspective for you. The changes proposed are that this maximum number should be increased to 20,000 chickens per 1 hectare of land. To me it's just totally unacceptable. That is roughly 13 times the current number! I doubt there would be a blade of grass or a bug to find, let alone sufficient space for them to move on.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the HSI because if these new standards are implemented, these eggs will no longer be free-range quality.

    If any of you are concerned and willing to take action, please write in to the address/email provided.

    I will copy-paste the reference here from the Humane Society International:

    ACTION ALERT

    Write to ACCC today to save free range hens from 20,000 stocking density

    29th of May 2012

    The ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) has called for public comment on the proposed Egg Standard Australia, the controversial industry standard that would allow massive increases to the stocking densities of free range layer hens and change how we farm free range eggs in Australia.

    This is a one off opportunity to put an end to the industrialization of free range egg production! Don't miss it.

    You can download the ACCC letter here: http://www.hsi.org.au/editor/assets...sted parties re consultation - 23.05.2012.pdf

    Your Guide to Writing a Submission or Letter to the ACCC

    Under the Trade Marks Act, an application for a Certification Trademark must first have its Rules and Standards examined by the ACCC to satisfy them that the applicant meets the technical requirements of the Act and not raise consumer protection, competition or associated concerns.

    You will have to show the ACCC on what grounds that they should deny this application. To do this, you will need to describe how AECL (Australian Egg Corporation Limited) would affect consumer and producer rights and perhaps considerations of the Trade Marks Act.

    Animal welfare will not come into this discussion. This is purely about what effect the proposed standards may have on consumer expectations and whether producers or other parties may be disadvantaged by these standards.

    Consumers

    As a consumer, you could simply explain to the ACCC what your expectations are when you purchase free range eggs and perhaps your concerns that these eggs will become unavailable if this new standard defines free range for the entire industry and puts small producers out of business. Tell the ACCC the picture you have in your mind of what free range means and what you expect when you buy a carton of eggs labelled as free range.

    You can download an example of a letter here: http://www.hsi.org.au/editor/assets/ACCC comment consumer example.pdf

    Producers

    AECL is the peak industry body that is supposed to represent all egg producers. Unfortunately the organization is structured so that the biggest producers have all the voting rights and control of AECL. The smaller true free range producer has no real input to industry decisions.

    True free range producers need all the help they can muster to help stop the intensification of the free range industry for them, for you and most importantly, for the hens.

    Send your comments to:

    The General Manager Adjudication Branch
    ACCC
    GPO Box 3131
    CANBERRA ACT 2601

    or send an email to: [email protected]

    Closing Date: 20th June 2012

    Cheers,
    Gold Coaster
     
  2. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Songster

    938
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    May 26, 2011
    Roanoke County, Virginia
    I live in the US so my opinion will not pull any weight. I just wanted to say good for you for speaking up and taking action! If this is not being reported by major news outlets, ask one for an interview, or ask lots of local news outlets to cover the story. Educate the consumers about what they are about to lose...

    Good luck!
     
  3. Gold Coaster

    Gold Coaster In the Brooder

    Hello Kikiriki,

    Thanks for the encouragement and support. [​IMG] I will definitely act on this and I hope many others in Australia will too.

    Cheers,
    Gold Coaster
     
  4. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Songster

    938
    64
    186
    May 26, 2011
    Roanoke County, Virginia
    Just had a thought on an angle that could be useful: in indoor chicken factories the chicken waste is collected and strickly controlled because in such bulk it is a contaminant.

    In pasture, the waste from fewer chickens in rotational pastures can incorporate into the soil and act as fertilizer. How are they going to deal with the waste from that many chickens in an outdoor pasture? What happens when it rains and it all runs into streams or contaminates groundwater? It seems like an unmanageable situation to me... Force them to produce studies and statistics and waste management plans! It buys you time to rally the public to fight on grounds of loss of nutrients and poor chicken well being that is implied by claiming pastured poultry.

    Ha ha! Guess my two brain cells bumped into one another! :lol:

    Hope this helps...
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  5. Gold Coaster

    Gold Coaster In the Brooder

    Hello Kikiriki,

    A little off topic I know, but did you know that in the Serbo-Croatian language, Kikiriki means peanuts? [​IMG]

    Thank you for bringing up these ideas. I have used your sentiments (which are also shared by me), in my letter to the ACCC. The waste management situation you brought up was definitely spot on. I never considered how it might impact on adjacent streams and groundwater, but I did realise that 20,000 chickens would be treading through their own excrement all day. I doubt that even the grass could grow with that many chickens around.

    I posted this same article in the Australian Thread: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...and-that-funny-little-island/730#post_9059929 and one of the members mentioned that most references stipulate 1 square metre per chook for a coop. So imagine 20,000 chickens with each chicken having only 1/2 a square metre for free-ranging. It's ludicrous!

    I first heard about this through the ABC news online and there is already rumblings of discontent on the web, but I do believe it needs more media coverage to gain momentum. I will try forwarding this article to a few talk shows and if it does gain coverage I'm sure the Humane Society International (HSI) would love the opportunity to speak. The thing is, its probably the same here as it is everywhere else; the media is usually in league with big business. My feelings are, that the caged-egg producers seeing that their sales are declining, are now trying to revert to "free-ranging", which to them means having the equal amount of chickens outdoors that they previously kept in cages or barns.

    Cheers,
    Gold Coaster
     

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