Free Range: Good for Egg Farmers, Bad for Chickens
Yesterday, state and federal ministers signed off on a new national code deciding which eggs can be labelled “free range”.
Unfortunately for chickens, an agreement was reached stating that 10,000 hens can be confined per hectare on so called “free range” farms.
Consumer group Choice has slammed this decision, with spokesperson Tom Godfrey saying:
The new free-range rules clearly reflect the commercial interests of the big industrialised egg producers, allowing stockings densities up to 10,000 hens per hectare and no requirement that hens actually go outdoors.
Previously, the industry’s code of practice advised no more than 1,500 hens per hectare – however, many “free range” brands did not adhere to this, as there is currently no law in place to enforce these guidelines.
Raising the number from 1,500 to 10,000 means that even more hens will suffer on Australia’s egg farms – and consumers will continue to be misled.
Compassionate Australians do not wish to support cruelty, and this is why many opt to buy “free-range” eggs, having been mistakenly led to believe that this is a cruelty-free option.
In addition to being crammed by the thousands in filthy sheds and pastures and denied everything that is natural and important to them, chickens on so-called “free range” farms suffer in many other ways.
Chickens have the ends of their sensitive beaks sliced off with a hot blade, millions of unwanted male chicks are gassed to death or ground up alive, and when their worn out bodies can no longer produce enough eggs, hens are sent to slaughter.
As long as animals are treated like commodities, they will continue to be abused. The best way to help them is to vote with your dollars and stop supporting these money-hungry industries.
Please, leave eggs and other animal-derived foods off your plate and choose healthy plant-based meals instead.
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