01.Greens MLC introduces bill
Western Australia is the latest state to have free range egg legislation introduced with a Greens member of the upper house introducing a bill that limits free range claims to eggs from operations with a maximum of 1500 birds per hectare outdoors.
Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren introduced the Free-Range Eggs Labelling Bill which she says complies with the Western Australian Code of Practice for Poultry. The state code reflects the maximum outdoor stocking density for free range egg laying hens set in the national Model Code of Practice, which is 1500 birds per hectare.
The Australian Egg Corporation is currently trying to introduce a maximum outdoor stocking density of 20,000 birds per hectare, which is 13 times the Model Code limit and their proposal is currently before the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. CHOICE’s submission called for the ACCC to reject the proposal on the grounds that the considerable inconsistency could mislead consumers.
The only state to have passed legislation setting a maximum stocking density is Queensland, which sets the limit at 1500 birds per hectare in line with the national Model Code. However, a bill introduced by NSW Greens member John Kaye is due to be debated in parliament in November.
What CHOICE wants
CHOICE welcomes efforts to legislate to protect consumers against dodgy free range claims and we are pleased to see the WA Greens taking on this issue. We would also like to see the development of a nationally consistent standard that reflects consumer expectations and is based on independent animal welfare research.
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