RSPCA queries poultry proposal

AUSTRALIA - Terang's proposed $6.4 million poultry farm is not the RSPCA's idea of a free-range facility. "It suits the Victorian Government's definition of free-range but doesn't suit the RSPCA's definition," national president Dr Hugh Wirth said yesterday.

On Wednesday The Standard revealed Farm Pride Foods had lodged a planning application for a free-range egg farm on a 30-hectare site on Spring Dam Road.

The company wants to construct three 130x30-metre sheds, extensive fencing, a packing shed, coolroom, manager's dwelling, feed silos, water treatment facilities and water tanks.

Under the planning proposal, hens would be able to roam outdoors during the day and access the sheds to lay eggs and feed in a high-tech environment designed for mass egg production.

Dr Wirth said such a facility was not what the RSPCA considered free-range.

He said only two free-range egg farms in Australia were RSPCA -accredited Ð both because the birds were herded outdoors during the day feed.

"Regardless of the term free-range, it depends entirely on how the birds are managed," he said.

"If they are going to manage the birds in sheds and put the hatches up every day to let the birds out Ð we wouldn't call that free-range."

calendar icon 10 October 2005
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