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Free to choose Cage Eggs

By Kramer 15 September 2009 69

The ABC reports that Labor will attempt to block the ACT Greens bill to ban the production of cage eggs in the ACT. Jon “Sensible” Stanhope claims that banning their production in the ACT will just see imports of cheap cage eggs flooding over the border from NSW, and he would rather see a system to more clearly identify cage eggs. Meanwhile the Greens are up in arms (surprise surprise).

How about we forget saving the chickens, and concentrate on saving (and serving) the people of the ACT? Then I can get back to my battery hen omelette, knowing the ACT health system will be able to unclog my arteries.

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69 Responses to
Free to choose Cage Eggs
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j from the block 3:19 pm 18 Sep 09

I trusted my chooks (I will have them again, as soon as I get around to finding the rules of council, and building a sturdy run) to produce me free range eggs, even if they used to hide them in strange places. Having said that, for those of you who buy free range:

Gobbo 12:25 pm 18 Sep 09

Granny said :

The European Union are phasing out the barbarism of caged battery hens by 2012. The Australian Capital Territory should do no less.

The EU is greater than one jurisdiction.

If a ban is to be effective here, it would need to be effective Austraila wide, just like proposed in the EU. Otherwise, the ban in the ACT would not change consumers buying habits as they will purchase the imported caged eggs.

Also, the EU has given a 14 years for the implementation of their directive. I will be interested to see how it goes in the coming 3 years.

Granny 11:37 am 18 Sep 09

I have witnessed first hand the effects of what happens to a body when it cannot be used the way it was intended. It is cruel beyond belief.

Science actually backs up what common sense already knows – that if you restrict a living creature from movement it suffers physically and emotionally.

The European Union are phasing out the barbarism of caged battery hens by 2012. The Australian Capital Territory should do no less.

sepi 9:06 am 18 Sep 09

Just because you see the free-range egg production process as imperfect is no reason to support battery cage production, which is infinitely worse.

There is a gorgeous egg farm just outside of canberra – a visit to that, and a visit to the PACE (except they don’t allow visitors) would be more convincing than all the swedish studies in the world.

turtle 11:48 pm 17 Sep 09

Skidbladnir said :

You might be disgusted at the US industry, but there is no equivalent book for Australian industrialised food (and we do things differently in myriad ways)…

“The Ethics of What We Eat” by Peter Singer does a decent job of talking about food production in Australia (and also in America).

Pandanus 8:52 pm 17 Sep 09

We gave our kids chooks for Christmas last year and they thought they were great. Went to all the trouble to name them, checked them for eggs each day and helped change the chooks water and feed them daily. You’ve got to give credit where crdit is due because these days the modern breed of layer chook sure does lay. I can’t imagine that back before intensive breeding took place chooks layed as well as these girls did.

A couple of things we did notice that reminded me of when I was a kid and we kept chooks

1.If they are not happy they will not lay, full stop not arguing, it just is. An unhappy/not content chook just wont lay it doesn’t matter if they are in a cage, barn or free range.

2. The pecking order is an amazing thing and offers an insight into just how viscious chooks can be. Two of our chooks looked like they might have been caged chooks and one looked magnificent. Guess which one was at the top of the pecking order. The two crap looking chooks were also the most prolific layers.

3. If your chook wanders into the next door neighbours yard, the dog will eat it.

4. If a fox finds its way into your chook yard it will kill your chooks.

5. When your 8 year old goes to feed the chooks in the morning she will find the dead chooks and your 6 year old will probably suggest that ‘we could cut off their legs, pluck their feathers and eat them’. Kids are just so sensible about these things.

We’re now back to buying our eggs, and price is the determinant. Cage eggs rule!!

Skidbladnir 5:32 pm 17 Sep 09

To start with, dogs do not lay eggs, dogs never have laid eggs, and will not lay eggs.
Instead, they produce baby dogs.
Australians don’t eat baby dogs, so there is no need to commercially farm them.
By extension, is no competitive commercial drive to factory farm baby dogs.
Stop comparing eggs to baby dogs, the comparison is just too easy to cut down.

According to the Australian Egg Corporation statistics:
A bit over a third of the eggs produced in Australia go to grocery\supermarkets retail (37.6% of total production).

Australians spend $436,100,000 on 1,405,260,000 (117,105,000 dozen) retail eggs last year.
This gives an average retail egg a value of about $0.31, or $3.72/dozen.
For every thousand eggs sold in grocery supermarkets, 732 are cage eggs (1,028,650,320 in total), 43 are barn eggs (60,426,180 in total), and 225 (316,183,500 in total) are free range.
For every thousand dollars spent on eggs, $610 are spent on cage eggs ($266,021,000 in total), $57 on barn eggs ($24,857,700 in total), and $333 ($145,221,300 in total) is spent on free range.

Working with those figures, you get for 2009:
a cage egg sells for $0.25 ($3.10/doz)
a barn egg sells for $0.41 ($4.94/doz)
a free range egg sells for $0.46 ($5.51/doz)

These are roughly in line what the BestPrice directory gives.

Growth for the last few years has been in the free-range end of the market, especially when the economy was booming.
If I was a farmer who could market a premium (ie: almost double the price) product to a market segment who thought they were being perfectly ethical while continuing to partake in an industry that alters the basic social structures, reproductive cycles, and natural genetic selection of domestic animals, I’d probably promote that end of the market too.
People like that could believe almost anything they’re told, even if they were unemployed for a year and had families to feed in a recession. Heck, they’d probably even drink free-trade coffee, thinking that its good for the coffee labourers to have a minimum standard price floor inflicted on their market segment.

PS: Jamie Oliver is no saint when it comes to buying free-range. Apparently the nearest-to-hand eggs are acceptable at short notice, even if it means burning your ethics.
PPS: If you want to see how bad industrialised food production -can- get, check out Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, ISBN 0-06-083858-2. You might be disgusted at the US industry, but there is no equivalent book for Australian industrialised food (and we do things differently in myriad ways)…

Granny 1:32 pm 17 Sep 09

“You can enjoy eating eggs and still care for the welfare of hens.” – Jamie Oliver

According to the RSPCA, the space that each cage bird is allowed is less than a sheet of A4 paper.

“The small size of cages means that birds are unable to turn around easily, stretch out, flap their wings or exercise.

“Importantly, cages do not satisfy the hen’s behavioural need to perch, dust bathe, forage, and lay their eggs in a secluded nest.”

Egg production systems

Imagine caging a dog like that … “The small size of cages means that dogs are unable to turn around easily, stretch out … or exercise.”

Sickeningly inhumane.

I’m with you, Jamie, and with the RSPCA also.

bohemian 9:48 am 17 Sep 09

cantanga said :

bohemian said :

Killing animals for food is cruel.

At least animals have some chance of fighting back unlike plants. Therefore I say it is the meat eater who have the moral high ground as at least their food had a chance. Meat eaters are the equivilant of the kid who takes on the school bully, as opposed to vegetarians who are like the year 10 kid who takes on the smallest weakest year 1 girl.

See #51. I was just being sarcastic. I’m not a vegetarian but that’s quite a lame analogy of school bully. Just because a chicken flaps around in distress when you catch and kill it means it’s morally acceptable to eat it? I can perhaps argue that I’m saving the plants from disease, pests, torrential weathers that potentially destroy the crops.

Back to eggs, I echoe Skidbladnir’s comments in #60, on the proposal of a legitimate alternative. And remember, the call to close down a business will also mean the loss of jobs.

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