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Greens Urge Reform of Hen and Pig Laws

by 5m Editor
2 February 2011, at 8:40am

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - The Australian Capital Territory's Greens want the territory to pursue national reform of hen and pig welfare, despite the Territory having no piggeries and just one chicken farm.

Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur wants the ACT Government to push for a national ban on sow stalls and to campaign for national, legally binding definitions of what constitutes a free-range egg.

According to The Canberra Times, the Government says it shares the Greens' concerns about farm animals but the complete lack of piggeries in the jurisdiction leaves little room for action on the controversial issues of sow stalls and farrowing crates.

There is one intensive egg production farm at West Belconnen. The Greens say that the current definition of free-range eggs, those produced on farms with 1500 or fewer chickens per hectare, is not legally binding and that industry moves to allow eggs produced on farms with 20,000 chickens per hectare to be sold as free range should be resisted.

"As there is no enforceable, high-quality standard, so called 'free range' eggs can actually be produced in large-scale, intensive production systems where animal welfare is of minimal concern," Ms Le Couteur wrote to Chief Minister Jon Stanhope.

"The lack of enforceability also contributes to 'substitution' problems, where eggs produced in a cage are marketed as free range."

She wants the ACT Government to push at the Council of Australian Government meetings for laws to regulate free-range eggs and ban what the Greens regard as "inhumane" treatment of pigs.

Mr Stanhope said yesterday his Government's support for the shelf signage laws, designed to cut down on confusion around the packaging of free-range eggs, was evidence of its animal welfare credentials.