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.
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