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  • 21 Oct 2010 12:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Humane Choice certified producers allow their animals to graze on open paddocks.  This includes pigs and poultry.

    Consumer concerns for animal welfare, as well as their own health and welfare, have driven the meat and egg industries into this current scramble for the right to use the term ‘free range’.  Consumer research has shown that free range to most people means that the animals spend their lives on pastures.

    With big industry calling for free range standards that fit in with their commercial reality, we will begin to witness the intensification of free range production systems.  How do you intensify free range?  By using small areas of land that are denuded very quickly by large numbers of grazing animals transforming the area into dirt lots with not one blade of grass to be seen.  While we would like to assume the pigs will be happier in these conditions as opposed to being kept indoors in stalls and pens, intensified free range raises concerns about animal health and environmental sustainability.  It also makes any claims of a better flavoured meat questionable as the animals are unable to forage or graze. 

    Pasture raised animals are able to obtain a lot of their nutrition from grazing.  Just how much will depend of the type of pastured provided.   Farm animal dietary needs will also differ.  While sheep and cattle may gain all their needs from pasture, pigs and poultry are omnivores (single stomach just like us) and grubs, worms, small animals and insects form a natural part of their diet. Vitamins, minerals, trace elements and amino acids can be obtained by all grazing animals from a diet that includes pasture.

    Green forage and pasture is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, along with the insects and grubs that may be consumed, therefore the meat and eggs from pasture raised animals may provide Omega-3 in your diet.

    Pigs and chickens on pasture also benefit from spending their days in the sunshine!  Being able to exercise naturally and extensively means that, pigs in particular, will develop muscle without the need for hormones and growth promoters.

    Disease is minimal in well managed pastured raised systems so this means there is little need for the use of antibiotics.  Overuse of these drugs in the intensive farming industry is a major human health concern.

    Finally, but most importantly, well managed,  pasture raised animals live a happier life without the stress that is induced by overcrowding and the inability to carry out natural behaviours.  Combined with a more natural diet and environment, this translates to a superior quality product.

    So if you imagine pigs and poultry roaming in grassed paddocks when you picture free range, think pasture raised and seek out a Humane Choice true free range producer or supplier.

  • 02 Sep 2010 1:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In the wake of the largest egg recall in United States history and consensus of animal rights groups worldwide, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has issued an official statement to Humane Society International (HSI) condemning the egg industry’s cruel treatment of hens and urging consumers to switch to cage-free eggs:

    “The abuse we inflict on hens has always been particularly disturbing to me, and I have always been particularly concerned toward how these animals are treated in industrial food production.  I was troubled to learn from my friends at the Humane Society about the practice of confining egg-laying hens in tiny cages.”

    Several countries have already banned battery hen cages, including Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Norway, with remaining European Union nations in the process phasing cages out as a total ban on the farming practice by 2012 looms.

    “In these cages, birds cannot engage in their natural behaviours such as spreading their wings, laying eggs in a nesting area, perching, scratching at the ground, and even standing on a solid surface.  Each hen has less space to live in than the very sheet of paper I have written this letter on.  Turning these defenceless animals into egg-producing machines with no consideration for their welfare whatsoever is a degradation of our own humanity.  Switching to cage free eggs would reduce the suffering of these animals.  Tibetans have a rich history of protecting the most vulnerable in society and opposing cruelty, which is why it is natural for me to encourage the change to cage free eggs.  Following in this tradition, I hope compassion and kindness will prevail in this very serious matter.” the Dalai Lama continued.

    HSI director Verna Simpson said, “The fact that the Dalai Lama, an internationally respected spiritual leader and ethicist, has spoken out against the production of cage eggs speaks volumes about the severity of the situation.  Humane Society International has long supported natural living conditions for all farm animals, and consumer trends show that animal welfare has become a decisive factor influencing the food we eat.”

  • 25 Aug 2010 1:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Australian Egg Corporation Ltd (AECL), Australia’s leading egg industry producer owned company, has reported on the recent egg recall across the U.S. due to Salmonella enteritidis contamination from an intensive egg production farm in Iowa. The U.S. outbreak has now reported nearly 2000 cases of human infection, with the recall occurring across up to 14 states and recalling up to 380 million eggs. 

    Whilst the AECL recognised concern for the outbreak, as S. enteritidis bacteria transferred from hens develops within eggs and has the potential to affect humans through egg consumption, what was not addressed by them was the potential for a similar outbreak to occur in Australia.

    Reason for concern should not be isolated to the U.S.  Earlier this month Humane Society International’s U.S. partners, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), released a white paper addressing the threat that cage confinement of laying hens can pose to food safety.  The paper revealed that there were 43% lower odds of S. enteritidis contamination in cage-free barns, where hens are raised indoors, than in cage production.

    S. enteritidis is present on the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s (DAFF) most recent National Notifiable Animal Diseases List, and has been recognized by the Queensland Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries as …a notifiable disease of poultry with public health significance.  It has been specifically noted by the Department of Health as a serious concern for primary industry due to risks of infections in egg-laying poultry.  In 2004, there was a reported S. enteritidis outbreak in Queensland. 

    Regular monitoring of S. enteritidis by OzFoodNet, a State and Territory collaborative initiative run by the Department of Health and Ageing, reported that in 2008 all states and territories (except the ACT) reported locally acquired cases, of which 16% (81/511) of all  reported S. Enteritidis infections were locally-acquired, which was higher than previous years.  The years between 2003 and 2007 reported an average of 44 locally-acquired cases per year. 

    With previous cases being reported in Australia, and new reports to prove that intensive farming increases the chance of Salmonella outbreaks, there is reason for concern.

    To add, with the Heart Foundation very recently increasing the weekly recommended intake of eggs, there is even more cause for concern for future intensive egg production in Australia and the health risks it will have.

    “To continue to intensively produce eggs when we are fully aware of the risks would be irresponsible.  Stricter standards must be put in place to prevent potential outbreaks amongst both poultry and human populations.” said HSI director, Verna Simpson. “At the very least, method of production labeling for eggs should be mandatory, so consumers can assess the health risks themselves.”

    Phil Westwood, spokesman for the Free Range Egg and Poultry Association of Australia Inc.

    (FREPAA), highlights that "True free range egg production provides a healthy and sustainable farm environment, which together with good flock management and handling procedures ensures food safety for consumers”.

  • 20 Aug 2010 1:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A multi-state recall for eggs across the U.S. has just been voluntarily announced by egg producing giant, Wright County Egg Farm.  Their official media release stated that “There have been confirmed Salmonella enteritidis illnesses relating to the shell eggs and trace back investigations are ongoing”.   

    The company holds more than 7.5 million egg laying hens.  The number of hens affected has not been officially reported.  However, over 1000 cases of intestinal illness have been reported; the official egg recall extends over 19 brands; and the actual number of eggs being recalled is reported to be in the millions and increasing. 

    Salmonella enteritidis is a bacterium pathogenic to humans.  Animal Health Australia notes that it is an egg-transmitted disease of poultry that also has human health implications through the consumption of contaminated eggs. 

    Phil Westwood, spokesman for the Free Range Egg and Poultry Association of Australia Inc (FREPAA), commented that “The egg recall in the United States demonstrates the potential health problems associated with intensive farming. High flock densities generate major contamination issues for chickens and these can be transferred to humans in the food chain.”

    Earlier this month Humane Society International’s U.S. partners, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), released a white paper addressing the threat that cage confinement of laying hens can pose to food safety.  It included an assessment on the probabilities of Salmonella contamination among different housing systems.  The paper revealed that there were 43% lower odds of Salmonella enteritidis contamination in cage-free barns, where hens are raised indoors, than in cage production.

    It also reported that every single scientific study published in recent years comparing Salmonella contamination between cage and cage-free operations has found that confining hens in cages significantly increases Salmonella risk –


    2010: 7.77 times greater odds of Salmonella in operations caging hens

    2009: Significantly more risk of Salmonella in caged flocks

    2008: 7.88 to 21.52 times greater odds of Salmonella in operations caging hens

    2008: More than twice the prevalence of Salmonella in operations caging hens

    2007: 1.8 to 25 times greater odds of Salmonella in operations caging hens

    2007: 3.7 times greater prevalence of Salmonella in operations caging hens

    2006: More than twice the prevalence of Salmonella in operations caging hens


    Reason for concern should not be isolated to the U.S.  In 2004, there was a reported Salmonella enteritidis outbreak in Queensland. It has been specifically noted by the Department of Health as a serious concern for primary industry due to risks of infections in egg-laying poultry.

    “It is unfortunate that we have to wait for such significant epidemics until it is recognised that there are real health risks associated with intensive farming.  Not only are such epidemics detrimental to hundreds of birds who live in unacceptable conditions, but impacts are directly affecting human populations.” said HSI director, Verna Simpson.  “It is widely acknowledged that cage confinement of laying hens is inhumane.  The fact that such major health risks are associated shows this method of production has to end. Intensive farming needs to be recognised as a significant risk to human health.” 

    True free range egg production is an alternative method of production which is becoming more and more popular in Australia for consumers.  Not only because it means better animal welfare standards for poultry, but also because it provides a healthier environment for egg production and therefore poses less of a risk to humans. 

    Phil Westwood, FREPAA, highlights that "True free range egg production provides a healthy and sustainable farm environment, which together with good flock management and handling procedures ensures food safety for consumers”.

  • 04 Aug 2010 12:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As free range becomes a much more familiar word in the consumer's vocabulary it is becoming harder to to work out just what is and isn't genuine free range.  With the lack of a legal definition that leads to misleading labelling, we wanted to make sure there was no mistake about products carrying the Humane Choice logo.

    Our standards are clear and precise and available to all.  Our audits are carried out by an independent, registered audit provider.  You can be sure its true free range when you see our logo.

  • 24 Apr 2010 12:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Over the past 2 years HSI has been corresponding with David Jones over the misrepresentation of pork products sold through their flagship Sydney store.  David Jones is continuing to brand pork as ‘free range’ knowing full well that they are misrepresenting production method.

    Although we have repeatedly approached David Jones and sought intervention by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for false and misleading representation of products, they continue to deceive consumers.  David Jones is taking advantage of the growing number of consumers who are seeking welfare friendly food and are prepared to pay extra.  They have obviously identified that consumers are looking for free range product, but rather than finding the real McCoy, they are just mislabelling existing non free range product and charging the extra.

    In a surprising response to media enquiries about the mislabelling of  it’s ‘free range’ pork in their flagship Sydney store, David Jones has responded with the following:

    "As there is no law or standard governing the use of the terms "free range" or "bred free range", David Jones is fully compliant with its legal obligations.   This is a matter for the regulators."
    Best wishes, 
    (name withheld)
    General Manager - Public Relations
    David Jones

    This is certainly an eye opener for their customers!  David Jones acknowledges that as there is no law governing terms used for meat production they can and will continue to deceive. And they are certainly not shy at charging premium prices with pork costing up to twice as much as the local supermarket.

    “Consumers want and have the right to make informed decisions about the animal-derived food products that they are purchasing,” said HSI Director, Verna Simpson. “However, instead they are met with a suite of confusing, poorly defined and unregulated terms which producers and retailers are able to use and misuse at will.

    A labelling overhaul is overdue. HSI is calling for a national and mandatory labelling scheme for the method of production of all meat, eggs and dairy products, that only permits the use of a limited number of legally defined and regulated animal-welfare descriptors.

    The Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council, comprising Ministers responsible for food and health issues are currently reviewing food labelling laws and policy.  They have already had over 6000 written submissions and a series of public consultations, and the message is loud and clear.  The Australian public has the right and the desire to know what they are buying.  They are intelligent enough to decide their own ethics and make purchasing decisions on that basis.

    Without Truth in Labelling it is not possible to make these informed purchasing decisions and it is time for Government and industry to catch up. 

    Contact: Verna Simpson, HSI Director, 02 9973 1728

  • 06 Jun 2009 12:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Humane Society InternationalExtinction Denied Program

    Action Alert


    Demand the suspension of pork industry executive charged with animal cruelty


    Sydney, 3 June 2009


    Act as soon as possible


    The manager ofWestern Australia’s largest piggery, Neil Ferguson, is still on the board of the pork industry’s peak body despite being charged with an animal cruelty offence.


    In yet another disturbing case of animal cruelty on a pig farm, an investigation and raid were first carried out at the Westpork facility at Gingin in 2007 following the release of footage showing it was so full of waste and excrement that the pigs were struggling to walk. It has also been alleged that pigs were left to die lingering deaths once they had succumbed to illnesses, and that some pigs had eaten others that had died and were left in the pens.


    The explicit footage taken at the Gingin piggery can be viewed online at:


    The treatment of pigs at the Westpork Gingin piggery is unacceptable, yet despite the animal cruelty charge against him, Mr Ferguson has maintained his position on the APL (Australia Pork Limited) Board. In fact, it is not the only executive position in the pork industry maintained by Mr Ferguson – he is also involved in the training of pork producers through his position on the Pork Industry Training Committee in WA, and is the Chair of the WA Agriculture Produce Commission’s Pork Committee.


    It is wholly inappropriate for a person charged with an animal cruelty offense to continue to hold a Board position with APL. Likewise, he should not be permitted a role in the training of pork producers.


    It is essential that the APL, the Pork Industry Training Committee in WA, and the WA Agriculture Produce Commission revoke the positions held by Mr Ferguson until the case is resolved in court, and suspend him permanently if he is convicted. The hearing is scheduled to take place on the 1stJuly 2009.




    Write to each member of the APL Board, urging them to immediately suspend Mr Ferguson from his position on the Board until the animal cruelty charge is heard in court, and that he is removed permanently if found guilty. Ask that APL also makes a recommendation to the WA Pork Industry Training Committee and the WA Agricultural Produce Commission that his position is reviewed in light of the animal cruelty charge, and that further action is taken to revoke these positions if Mr Ferguson is convicted.


    The members of theAPL Boardare:Mr Enzo Allara (Chairman),Mr Aeger Kingma, Mr Kenneth Cameron, Mr Paul Pattison,Mrs Kathy Grigg, Mrs Kay Carey, and Mrs Christine Quick.


    Send your letters for each member to:

    Australian Pork Limited

    PO Box148

    Deakin West ACT 2600


    Write to theWest Australian Pork Producers’ Associationwho facilitates the Pork Industry Training (WA) committee, noting that Mr Ferguson has been charged with an animal cruelty offence and should therefore not be allowed a training role in the pork industry until the case is heard in court. Highlight your concern about Mr Ferguson’s involvement in the development and facilitation of training courses on stockpersonship and production given the charge against him.



    Mr Russell Cox

    Executive Officer

    West Australian Pork Producers’ Association

    277 Great Eastern Highway



    Write to theAgricultural Produce Commission, stressing that a person charged with an animal cruelty offense must not be permitted to continue to be on the Board of a government committee supporting the pork industry until the case is resolved.



    Ingrid Smith

    Executive Officer

    Agricultural Produce Commission

    3 Baron-Hay Court

    South PerthWA6151


    Please send us copies of any responses you receive.


    Further information at


    HSI concentrates on the preservation of endangered animals and ecosystems and works to ensure quality of life for all animals, both domestic and wild. HSI is the largest animal protection not-for-profit organisation in the world, with over 10 million supporters globally and has been established in Australia since 1994.





    Humane Society International Inc - Australian Office

    PO Box 439 Avalon NSW 2107 Australia

    Ph: 02 9973 1728 Fax: 02 9973

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