Latest News

  • 09 Dec 2014 1:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On the back of HSI's complaint to the ACCC, and their thorough investigations of Snowdale Holdings, Coles and Woolworths are again being urged to discontinue the stocking of contentious produce from the egg producer. 

    Snowdale, who trades as Swan Valley and Free Range Eggs by Ellah, is being taken to court by the ACCC over allegations of falsely labelled free range eggs. New evidence has emerged since investigations began in 2012, by both HSI and ACCC, of unsanitary conditions and animal cruelty. 

    Fairfax media reports that the egg producer was stocking up to 100 times the recommended number of laying hens, with 165,441 hens per hectare in one of its barns.

    Read more in the Fairfax article: http://goo.gl/50qJKB, and HSI's Media Release: http://goo.gl/JfPTpl 


  • 25 Nov 2014 1:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Good news this week with Brazil announcing its plans to end gestation crates.  Brazil, the largest pork producer in Latin America now joins the EU, New Zealand, Australia and Canada who have either already phased out gestation crates, or are planning to do so in coming years.  


    The move by Brazil is expected to affect over 300,000  breeding sows and will eliminate their lifelong confinement in crates to more humane groupd housing systems.

    Read more at HSUS: http://goo.gl/IHpvVH

    Photo credit: Happy Valley Free Range

     


  • 13 Nov 2014 1:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The ACCC are urging the egg industry to review their free range egg claims using the recent example of the $300,000 penalty taken against Pirovic. The ACCC have expressed the need for egg producers to monitor their transparency to consumers, and the use of advertising and free range labels.

    http://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/accc-urges-egg-industry-to-review-free-range-claims


  • 13 Nov 2014 1:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our Humane Choice producers, Rhodavale Pork, will be served at G20 conference lunches as delegates descend on Brisbane and surrounding areas. Congratulations Rhodavale!

    http://www.gympietimes.com.au/news/exodus-slickers-hit-the-bush/2451460/


  • 30 Oct 2014 1:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    South Melbourne Market have decided to ban caged eggs in a move that will be highly beneficial for small egg producers. The markets will not only ban traders from selling caged eggs, but food vendors will no longer be able to use them. 

    All produce available at the markets will be sign posted and display the number of hens per hectare at each farm. Congratulations to our Humane Choice farm, Kangaroo Island Free Range Eggs, featured in the photo!
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/executive-living/food-drink/south-melbourne-market-not-chicken-to-ban-caged-eggs/story-e6frg8jo-1227106209391

  • 29 Oct 2014 2:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Consumers are driving the growth in free range eggs with demand for free range having jumped 15% in the past five years. While it is great news that consumer demand is such a driving force for change in the industry, there is still much confusion about what is true free range. 

    Read the article here: http://www.farmweekly.com.au/news/agriculture/livestock/general-news/cracking-demand-for-freerange/2715544.aspx?storypage=0


  • 10 Sep 2014 12:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Happy Valley Free Range has won the 2014 Farmer of the Year Award!

    Joanne Stritch never dreamed of being a farmer, but her passion to deliver to the public pork that was raised in a natural caring environment lead her to create the Happy Valley Free Range farm.  This passion has paid off with her being named Livestock Producer of the Year for Farmer of the Year 2014.  Located in the Yarra Valley in Victoria, Happy Valley is proud about its open farming methods.



    Happy Valley has been a certified Humane Choice farm for almost 3 years, and Joanne says it was important for her to be part of such a valued accreditation scheme.  “Being certified with such a high level true free range certifier says to my customers that we are very serious about raising our pigs properly on pasture, “ Joanne says, “I love to spoil the sows with their piglets and make sure they are well fed, watered, warm and dry.” 

    At the moment, Happy Valley farm has 21 sows.  Joanne is very careful about how she manages her pasture, and encourages and invites visitors to come and see their pigs.  “We’ve had a lot of visitors to see the pigs and took part in the Yarra Valley Food & Wine Festival, with sold out pig tours on both days. People just love coming to see the pigs in the paddocks, playing and grazing as they do.”

    Regular paddock rotations occur, and long spelling of paddocks has ensured the grass cover at the farm has stayed at optimum levels.  The breeding program ensures the wellbeing of sows and piglets at all stages of the process.   “Our breeding program is very natural. The boar and sows all live together in one paddock and the sow is moved to her own private paddock within two weeks of her farrowing date. She lives in her own paddock until the piglets are six to eight weeks old.”

    Happy Valley Free Range is an innovative small producer and the pigs are predominantly sold at Farmers Markets within Victoria.  They have become a part of the Yarra Valley community, and are open and honest about their farming methods, something that has become a rarity in the pork industry. 

    Joanne is keen on bringing people back to pork, and now has regular customers who have only begun eating pork again after having seen the Happy Valley farm and how they raise their pigs.  

    Happy Valley Free Range is a small, but special farm with their social media such as facebook growing every week.  Joanne is also distributing a weekly newsletter with information on farmers markets, recipes and news of life on the farm.  “I don’t want to have a big production, I like that I am the main human interaction with the pigs, that we are like one big family and every sow gets a big belly scratch,” Joanne says. 



    As the winner of one of the Farmer of the Year Awards, Happy Valley Free Range has come a long way for small producers, and is helping to ensure that the best free range practices continue to become a big part of the industry.

    There has been a lot of interest in Humane Choice certification recently, and if you think your farm could be a part of our accreditation scheme head to the Humane Choice website to see our standards:  www.humanechoice.com.au 

     


  • 24 Nov 2013 10:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Egg-cellent news for Consumers

    RASV launches a Free-Range Egg category in its Autumn Fine Food Awards

     

    This year the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) has made an exciting addition to its 2014 Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards (RMFFA) Autumn Program, a Free-Range Egg category and award.

    In an industry first, the RMFFA will bring together an expert panel of judges to evaluate free-range eggs using criteria that are uniquely consumer-focused including taste, flavour and appearance.

    Consumer interest and demand for top quality free-range eggs has increased significantly in recent times and it is currently the fastest growing sector in the egg market. 

    In conjunction with industry experts, the RASV has adopted a definition of free-range eggs that aligns with industry standards and community expectations to form the basis for eligibility and judging for the category.

    RASV CEO Mark O’Sullivan said the introduction of the new category reflected the current climate of consumer interest in Australian free-range eggs.

    “The Free-Range Eggs category has been created in close consultation with industry specialistsand introduced to the 2014 RMFFA Autumn Program as a result of increased consumer demand for theseproducts.  

    “The RASV is delighted to be providing Australian free-range egg producers a platform from which to showcase and market their quality eggs to consumers,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

    Entries for the RMFFA Autumn Program are open from Thursday, 21 November 2013 to Friday, 24 January 2014, with judging to be held in February 2014.

    The RMFFA winners will also have an opportunity to showcase products at the 2014 Royal Melbourne Show in the Taste of Victoria Pavilion or as part of the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Deli Bags.

    For more information, visit http://www.rasv.com.au/Events/RMFF_Home and follow RMFFA on Twitter @RMFFA


  • 13 Aug 2013 12:19 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thousands of postcards signed by determined South Australians will be presented to the Minister for Business Services and Consumers John Rau today at a Humane Choice Free Range Breakfast.  These postcards represent the overwhelming support received from more than 18,000 South Australian consumers who are determined to endorse truth in labelling for eggs marked ‘free range’, meaning the stocking density would be capped at no more than 1,500 birds per hectare.

    Lee McCosker, Chief Operating Officer for Humane Choice said, “The postcards send a powerful message because they targeted actual free range egg buyers having been distributed in the cartons of eggs produced by our Humane Choice true free range farmers.”  The incredible response from the public verifies that free range egg buyers believe the intensification of free range, and systems that restrict or discourage outdoor access for the hens, simply fail to meet their expectations.

    In June this year Minister Rau proposed a new industry code to settle this debate over a definition for ‘free range’, and once finalised it will make South Australia the only State in the nation to have taken such a critical initiative.  McCosker continued, “We are delighted that thousands of South Australians have shown their strong support towards true free range farmers whose livelihoods have been compromised by the immoral behaviour of large egg corporations and the supermarket giants in their attempt to cash in on the genuine demand for free range produce.”

    Minister Rau has received overwhelming support for his industry code that will only allow eggs produced by farms stocking 1,500 hens per hectare or less to be labelled ‘free range’.  These eggs will stand out proudly on the shelf, clearly marked with the South Australian Free Range label, meaning South Australian consumers will finally be able to pick out true free range eggs easily, without being deceived.

    South Australian’s are the only consumers in the country that will be given the opportunity to easily identify true free range eggs, making an informed purchasing decision.  Now that genuine free range eggs will be easily identifiable, we hope that this translates into real choices being made available on the shelves of the major supermarkets.  Throughout the rest of Australia there is still a confusing abundance of free range claims on eggs.  We hope that this move supported by so many thousands of Australians will encourage the other States and the Federal Government, to finally act and put an end to such unnecessary controversy.


  • 17 Jun 2013 12:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    South Australian Minister for Business Services and Consumers, John Rau, announced yesterday a new industry code to settle the debate over the definition of free range eggs.  The South Australian government has defined free range eggs as coming from hens stocked at 1,500 birds per hectare.  We congratulate Minister Rau for taking the initiative and attempting to put an end to the long running controversy over truth in labelling of free range eggs.

    Free range egg buyers have been at the mercy of large egg corporations seeking to cash in on demand for free range eggs aided by the supermarkets that seem to have taken on the role of industry regulator.

    This proposal gives the power back to the people by allowing them to make an informed buying decision and will encourage the supermarkets to make available a broader selection of eggs in their stores for that to happen.  It would be an interesting exercise to see just how many brands in the supermarket today would meet the criteria for the SA Free Range label.

    “I believe this industry code will actually bring clarity to the free range confusion and those producers that are meeting consumer expectation will stand out from the crowd.  Consumers will then be able to decide if they are willing to pay a little more for what they want, or accept eggs grown under a more intensive operation.  The choice will be made a lot clearer,” said Lee McCosker of Humane Choice*.

    There is still a confusing abundance of free range claims on eggs, many meaning very little, and they are eroding the integrity of the free range industry.  At least South Australian consumers will be able to weed out the less than honest ones.

    *Humane Choice is the certification scheme launched by Humane Society International in 2006 to improve the welfare standards of farm animals across Australia.  The Humane Choice label denotes the animal has had the best life and death offered to any farm animal, treated with respect and care over the entire course of its life.  It ensures the highest standards of animal welfare and guarantees that the animals are truly free range.  Visit www.humanechoice.com.au for more details.


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