Bad Batch: Salmonella Eggs And Welfare

AUSTRALIA - The Tasmanian Greens, who claim to be the world's first Green party, today released a report commissioned by Deputy Leader and Consumer Affairs spokesperson Nick McKim MP, and authored by veterinary pathologist Dr David Obendorf, which links unsatisfactory animal welfare standards with the entry of salmonella contaminated eggs into the foodstream.
calendar icon 21 February 2008
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Nick McKim MP

Mr McKim said that Dr Obendorf has found that ‘The unsatisfactory animal welfare standards applying at the battery egg farm identified as the source of Salmonella-contaminated eggs are, in my view, directly responsible for entry of contaminated eggs into foods destined for human consumption.’[1]

Mr McKim said that Dr Obendorf has also found that ‘In situations where birds are exhibiting signs of intercurrent disease, debilitation or stress and corpses of decomposing birds are allowed to remain within the closest proximity of egg-laying birds (such as were identified at the battery-cage farm identified as the source of all six Tasmanian egg-associated Salmonella food-poisoning incidents in 2005-06) then, in my view, there is an increased likelihood for even intact eggs to become contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.’[2]

“The report links the Government’s failure to ensure adequate animal welfare standards in Tasmania, evidenced by the shocking images obtained by animal welfare activists at a battery farm last year, with the entry of Salmonella-contaminated eggs from that farm into the foodstream.”

Mr McKim said that Dr Obendorf’s report made many recommendations to protect human health, which he said should be considered as part of an independent review.

“The report strengthens the case for an independent review of the Tasmanian government’s regulatory response to the series of Salmonella outbreaks in recent times.”

“We know that the government’s regulatory regime has failed to ensure adequate animal welfare outcomes, and there is now a clear link between this failure and the serious of salmonella outbreaks.”

“The best way to protect public health would be for the government to enact legislation to ban battery hen farming. This would have significant animal welfare benefits as well as improved public health outcomes.”

Mr McKim said that Primary Industries Minister David Llewellyn has previously expressed personal concern about battery hen farming, but typically had done nothing as a result.

Dr Obendorf previously worked for the state government as a veterinary pathologist, was for 10 years a member of the Scientific Advisory Board to the Office International des Epizooties (the International Animal Health Body based in Paris), and was commissioned by the State Government in 2002 to report on Tasmania’s preparedness for major animal disease outbreaks.

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