Good Eggs?

On Sunday I was up at our local IGA.  I didn’t have time – it was 7.30pm and I was popping in to get the basics for the next few days of meals and lunches. Even though our local IGA is exy, it’s a better option to takeaways…

I digress.  Already…

 

Anyway, I was buying eggs because they’re involved in at least a couple of midweek meals when I stopped in my tracks…

I’d seen a battery hen scene in something I watched the night before and the shelf of egg options suddenly made me uncomfortable.

 

Quickly I scanned the carton prices…  They ranged from $2.50 through to $7.35

 

I looked for the words “Free Range” and two brands popped out.

 

Pirovic Family Farms and Pace Farm.

 

Pirovic Family Farms had a lovely image on the carton and words saying something like, ‘our hens get to roam the grounds by day but they sleep in a barn at night’.

The Pace Farm carton said that their hens got to roam free as well – but it made no mention of a barn to sleep in….

 

I was confused.

 

I bought the Pace Farm Eggs because frankly, the Pirovic description was a bit fluffy for my liking.

 

 

My parents keep chickens.  I would call them free range because their three chooks are kept in a very spacious and safe part in their yard, with a ‘barn’ that has its door left permanently open.  My Dad calls out their pet name, ‘Bibi’ and they scurry over to him for feed.

 

 

I thought about the ‘barn’ I had seen in the documentary and to say the least, it was not the red wooden, bale of hay and windmill kind of barn.

 

 

Later that night, I read this on the Pirovic website in relation to Barn Laid eggs:

“Barn-Laid (Cage Free) eggs are from hens that live in large barns and are not raised in cages, but on floor systems usually in an open barn. The hens on the floor have access to perches and nest boxes to lay their eggs. However, they may still be at close quarters with many other hens, just not in cages.”

 

Close quarters hey?

 

For me to stop my regular Sunday and Monday night television viewing to research chickens and eggs meant this issue struck a chord.

I kept researching…

 

 

I found a major body concerned with the eggs we eat:  The Australian Egg Corporation (AECL) – a producer owned company.

One of the Directors of this body is Frank Pace, of Pace Farm.

 

 

Upon doing a little more research I found that standards exist for these Free Range Farmers, that is how many chickens they can keep per hectare in their Free Range fields.  Standards.

 

 

Another item of interest I read on the Animal’s Australia website was this:

“AECL wants to increase this to allow a staggering 20,000 laying hens per hectare and to call eggs produced under these intense conditions ‘free range’,  to attract a premium price.”

 

 

Now, I’m not an alarmist, nor do I wish to upset or offend any of the organisations mentioned.  I don’t claim to be an expert in this area either.

I’m just a concerned citizen and a mum who thinks that the treatment of these fateful animals should be on our moral responsibility radar.

 

 

Pace Farm and Pirovic Family Farms, your marketing looks great, and from what you say, your chooks seem happy but…

 

WILL YOU PLEASE PROVIDE ME AND ANYONE WHO CARES WITH CURRENT IMAGES AND CURRENT FACTS ABOUT YOUR BARNS, HENS, NUMBERS AND FREE RANGE AREAS?

 

I want to know that Free Range is as Free Range sounds.

 

 

Thanks,

Robo X

 

Pace Farm and Pirovic Family Farms do not seem to be on Twitter so in fairness, I will email them a link to my post.  I will also tweet this to Animals Australia.

 

Hooking up today with #IBOT

About Robomum

I blog after my kids go to sleep. It takes a while. View all posts by Robomum

35 responses to “Good Eggs?

  • Rhianna @ A Parenting Life

    Awesome post!!! I am forever harping on about free range eggs. I buy rather expensive eggs that are supposed to be free range, they are also the only ones locally which is another reasons I buy them. I has no idea though the whole free range thing was based on the area. Thanks for sharing

  • leighleigh22

    I try to buy “free range” eggs as well. But like you, am not completely sure of what it actually means. Would love to know what a farmers version of “free range” is and how close this is to the idea in my head. Great post!

  • Kim

    Great post – I’d love some answers to this too – I’ve spend FAR too long staring at the egg section trying to make an ethical choice, but weighing it up against the dollar since ‘ethical’ is wrapped up in so much marketing jargon… it does my head in each and every time. I do know that ‘free range’ is not ‘free range’. And they can at times be more cramped than other conditions if barn numbers are higher. I’d love to get ABC or SBS interested in a program on this… it’s been done before, but still no great answers it seems.

    • robomum

      It has been done a bit hasn’t it.
      It seems that the industry is kind of self-regulated in terms of their ‘standards’.
      Trouble is that standards differ, depending on who you ask.
      I’m glad you feel the same way. X

  • Mrs D

    How weird that I am talking about the same issue in my post today. My hens & 1 rooster have about 1/8 of an acre…I have 6 birds..& a sheep sharing the same area. I hate buying eggs from the supermarket, its fraught with confusing labels & misleading claims.

  • coloursofsunset

    We recently started buying free range eggs from aldi. in saying that, i couldn’t tell you what brand/company they are from or anything about them, but now i’m going to investigate. before that we bought caged eggs simply for the price. 😦 -Aroha #teamIBOT

    • robomum

      Let me know what you find.
      I agree that price is an issue.
      When you can pick up a carton for $2, the ‘free range’ are very expensive.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  • EvieMeenyMineyMo

    I buy Manning Valley… I have a feeling one of those companies, is in Horsley Park off Ferrers Rd. I drive by daily & there are no chickens roaming outside of the enormous metal barnhouse.

  • Eleise (A very Blended Family)

    It is so scary! It seems that free range means very little these days. Better to buy from a neighbour or raise your own. I wish hubby would let me!

    • robomum

      It opens a can of worms doesn’t it?
      It’s not a nice thought, but finding a good healthy farm to buy meats from is probably a good idea.
      Can’t trust anyone.

  • Rachel

    Hmmm. I’m not a fan of cruelty to animals but I’m probably just as outraged at the deliberately misleading marketing ploys. Well done for not being fobbed off by fluffy words and chirpy looking chicken pictures! I would love to hear if anyone has the balls (or eggs!) to provide you with the items you’ve asked for.

  • EssentiallyJess

    It’s a tough debate. I would love to buy free range eggs, but the price always puts me off. Plus I wonder how much they are actually free range, like you say? And there is a huge discrepancy between prices; I just don’t think eggs should be that expensive

  • SarahMac

    I hear you RoboMum. i’ve noticed as well that for a while, there were mostly only free range egss available at Woolies etc. and a smaller range of cage eggs, but the cost issue seems to have resulted in heaps more cage eggs at my local Woolies and less free range. Saddens me. I always buy free range (or what I think is free range) no matter what the cost. I wish they’d ensure their marketing was correct.

  • Jodi

    I watched a documentary with hubby a few years ago, Jamie Oliver was the host of the show…..ever since then FREE RANGE all the way. The eggs I now buy are damn expensive but well worth it. However I do often wonder too about now free range is free range. 😦

  • Have a laugh on me

    I only ever buy free range eggs, we don’t eat that many and so I can suck it up price wise. To me it’s like veal – I WILL NEVER EVER EVER BUY IT xxx Great and thought provoking post 🙂

    • Kyla @ Three Quarters Full

      The thing with veal is that male calves from dairy herds are slaughtered regardless – there is no use for them. If you can find free range or certified organic (better) veal you at least know that the animal has had a good life (albeit a short one) then it’s worth eating – the meat is relatively good for you and then the animal has had a purpose, not just been born then slaughtered.

      I buy certified organic eggs where I can because Free Range is a bit of an ambiguous term – hope you get some answers from the company.

      • robomum

        I hope so too. The ambiguity is ridiculous. Veal is another issue altogether. I’ve seen those images – heartbreaking. I can’t remember the last time I bought veal.

    • robomum

      Thank you. Lots of readers seem to agree.

  • Robyn (@slightly_deep)

    Interesting. I buy ‘cage free barn laid’ eggs. But now you’ve got me thinking about this! Maybe I will check to make sure they are really and truly free range!

  • Alicia - One Mother Hen

    I would be skeptical too. I am sure there is lots about ‘free range’ or barn laid’ that they wouldn’t want you to see 🙂

  • Nathan

    I drive past a large poultry farm every day on the way to work. It is a huge white shed in the middle of a big paddock. I seriously doubt the chickens in the shed ever get to spend time on the allotment of land that the company claims for purposes of their chickens per hectare. I, personally, am tired of feeling guilty about what I am / am not buying when I get to the egg aisle in the super market. I don’t trust the marketing as it is full of buzz words and manipulative packaging that reveals very little factual information. We eat a lot of eggs in a week, so price is a factor. If I can buy cheap “free range” or “organic” eggs (which I don’t think are necessarily the same thing), I will, but otherwise I will buy what I can afford. It is a tough situation – I’ve seen those documentaries – but when the industry is self regulated and the terminology is so ambiguous, and facts are not forthcoming it begins to smell a little like rotten eggs.
    I think I know where I can get a regular source of small holder produced eggs, so might try them in the future. Thanks for the post, it has made me think!

    • robomum

      I completely agree with you. I think ‘organic’ has something to do with what they’re fed. This industry is too big for self-regulation. It isn’t fair and it isn’t humane. Marketing buzz needs to be backed up with the goods.

    • robomum

      A neighbour with a few chooks is the best option. Go for it.

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