Latest News

  • 11 Jan 2012 11:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In what can only be described as in a haze of hysteria, Australian Egg Corporation has printed an article in their latest Newsletter prophesying the 'end of civilization as we know it' should we spurn their propaganda on the labelling of free range eggs.

    Humane Choice brings a reasoned response to the article.

    High Politics and Low Blows - A Rebuttal
    Australian Egg Corp Progegganda


    Lee McCosker gives a Humane Choice perspective on the Australian Egg Corp article entitled 'High Politics and Low Blows in NSW' by Kai Ianssen.  Read the article here ....


  • 24 Nov 2011 1:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Despite confusing information from the WA Department of Agriculture and Food, long serving Board Member of Australian Pork Limited (APL), Mr Neil Ferguson, will stand trial for animal cruelty tomorrow, 25th November, in Perth.

     

    Ten charges of cruelty to pigs have been laid against Mr Ferguson and many other charges against members of his staff at Westpork Ltd. 

     

    The Criminal Registry has confirmed that six matters are listed for trial under section 19 (1) & 19 (3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act, and that another four charges are listed for an argument on the particulars. The matter is set down for a full day hearing from 9.30 am.

     

    Westpork and Ferguson have been charged with an additional four charges of animal cruelty not in duplication.  Further charges are set down for mention on 14th December.

     This is the second time that Mr Ferguson has appeared before the courts on charges of cruelty yet requests for Mr Ferguson to be removed from the Board of APL, Australia’s peak industry body for pork producers had been dismissed.

    Ferguson is also the Chairperson of the WA Agriculture Produce Commission Pork Producers Committee that funds the West Australian Pork Producers Association (WAPPA) and industry training.

    Concerns are mounting that a recent reshuffle of the State’s Animal Welfare Legislation administration will allow the Westpork cruelty matters to dissipate while Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) struggle to get themselves prepared to for the looming trial date.

    “We are concerned that the change in administration from Local Government to DAFWA will mean that this matter will not be given the full attention that it needs.  If DAFWA fumble because they lack preparedness, Mr Ferguson could walk free on a technicality for a second time.  Our inquiries so far have given cause for concern,” says Lee McCosker, Chief Operating Officer of Humane Choice.  “Our calls to the Department in the lead up to Friday’s case indicate they are confused about Friday’s matter and were unsure if it was even a trial date.   The Department state that they are committed to monitoring welfare and enforcing the Act so we certainly hope that they stand by that statement and ensure their staff are fully engaged for this trial.”

    DAFWA does have a role to play in protecting animals from cruelty.  Let’s hope they are on the ball for this one.

    Further information:

    Criminal Matters

    Telephone: (08) 9425 2222
    Facsimile: (08) 9425 2777
    Criminal Listings Email: pmclistings@justice.wa.gov.au


  • 22 Nov 2011 1:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Long serving board member of Australian Pork Limited (APL), Mr Neil Ferguson will stand trial for animal cruelty on the 25th of this month in Perth.

    Ten charges of cruelty to pigs have been laid against Mr Ferguson and many other charges have been laid against members of his staff at Westpork Ltd.

    This is the second time that Mr Ferguson has appeared before the courts on charges of cruelty yet requests for Mr Ferguson to be removed from the Board of APL, Australia’s peak industry body for pork producers, have been dismissed. 

    Concerns are mounting that a recent reshuffle of the State’s Animal Welfare Legislation Administration will allow the Westpork cruelty matters  to dissipate while the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) struggle to get themselves prepared for the looming trial date.

    We are concerned that the change in administration from Local Government to DAFWA will mean that this matter will not be given the full attention that it needs.  If DAFWA fumble because they lack preparedness, Mr Ferguson could walk free on a technicality for a second time.  Our inquiries so far have given cause for concern,” says Lee McCosker, Chief Operating Officer of Humane Choice.  “Our calls to the Department on the lead up to Friday’s case indicate they are confused about Friday’s matter and were unsure if it was even a trial date.   The Department states that they are committed to monitoring welfare and enforcing the Act so we certainly hope that they stand by that statement and ensure their staff are fully engaged for this trial.

    DAFWA does have a role to play in protecting animals from cruelty.  Let’s hope they are on the ball for this one.


  • 22 Nov 2011 1:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Long serving board member of Australian Pork Limited (APL), Mr Neil Ferguson will stand trial for animal cruelty on the 25th of this month in Perth.

    Ten charges of cruelty to pigs have been laid against Mr Ferguson and many other charges have been laid against members of his staff at Westpork Ltd.

    This is the second time that Mr Ferguson has appeared before the courts on charges of cruelty yet requests for Mr Ferguson to be removed from the Board of APL, Australia’s peak industry body for pork producers, have been dismissed. 

    Concerns are mounting that a recent reshuffle of the State’s Animal Welfare Legislation Administration will allow the Westpork cruelty matters  to dissipate while the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) struggle to get themselves prepared for the looming trial date.

    We are concerned that the change in administration from Local Government to DAFWA will mean that this matter will not be given the full attention that it needs.  If DAFWA fumble because they lack preparedness, Mr Ferguson could walk free on a technicality for a second time.  Our inquiries so far have given cause for concern,” says Lee McCosker, Chief Operating Officer of Humane Choice.  “Our calls to the Department on the lead up to Friday’s case indicate they are confused about Friday’s matter and were unsure if it was even a trial date.   The Department states that they are committed to monitoring welfare and enforcing the Act so we certainly hope that they stand by that statement and ensure their staff are fully engaged for this trial.

    DAFWA does have a role to play in protecting animals from cruelty.  Let’s hope they are on the ball for this one.


  • 18 Nov 2011 1:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Humane Society International (HSI) is supporting the Greens Party in calling for the closure of Australia’s leading livestock producer representative, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), in light of their failure to properly self-regulate and support strong and effective animal welfare standards and practices within the industry.

    As we have seen from MLA’s failure to effect high animal welfare standards during the horrible events uncovered in Indonesian abattoirs, they obviously do not have the intent nor the capabilities to meet their responsibilities,” said HSI Director, Verna Simpson. “MLA has demonstrated that they cannot be both the marketing authority and the animal welfare authority, and the responsibility for animal welfare must be taken out of their hands.”

    In light of this situation and the MLA’s inability to monitor and improve animal welfare, it is clear that Australia needs a public body to provide accurate and independent advice on animal welfare matters,” Ms Simpson stated.  “HSI is calling for the creation of a new governing entity which can effectively manage animal welfare issues – under the broad banner of a Ministry of Food.”

    According to a Beef Levy Review report conducted by the MLA in 2009, the authority states their intention to budget a mere $186,000 a year for improving animal welfare standards until at least 2015.

    From beef producer levies alone, the MLA totals $70 million in revenue a year.  It further receives $38 million annually from the Government for research and development.  To consider that MLA has budgeted a paltry $186,000 annually for improving cattle welfare is outrageous, and cannot be accepted,” said Ms Simpson.

    Discarding MLA and establishing an independent auditor under a new Ministry of Food will provide for much stronger scrutiny and regulation and vastly improved implementation of key animal welfare standards.”


  • 19 Oct 2011 1:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Humane Choice has taken an unprecedented stand in support of small free range producers nationally and today has shone the spotlight on the Australian egg industry’s peak industry body Australian Egg Corporation (Egg Corp) and the inequity of its Egg Corp Assured program.  The industry owned quality assurance program is to come under scrutiny for its bias towards large producers and the misuse of their Egg Corp Assured Trademark.

    “Egg Corp has taken advantage of producer and consumer confusion over standards, codes of practice, production definitions and accreditation logos for far too long,” stated Chief Operating Officer for Humane Choice, Lee McCosker.  “We have Codes of Practice in place for animal welfare and environmental management for free range egg production that make a very clear statement about what the acceptable stocking density is for free range hens and that is 1500 birds per hectare.  Stocking rates are not ‘uncapped’ as Egg Corp would have us believe.”

    Egg Corp administers the Egg Corp Assured program that licences producers to use their logo on egg cartons.  The quality assurance program operates under a certification trademark and as such indicates to consumers that the eggs carrying that logo meet a particular standard.  In this case, that producers meet the requirements of the Model Code of Practice for Animal Welfare – Domestic Poultry.

    In recent media, Egg Corp have acknowledged that their audits have revealed free range stocking densities in excess of 50,000 birds per hectare.

    Egg Corp is in breach of their own standards and rules of their quality assurance program and has allowed producers to misrepresent their product.  Egg Corp have effectively licensed producers to deceive the public into believing that all eggs labelled free range and carrying the Egg Corp Assured logo act within the guidelines of the Code of Practice when this is generally not the case.


  • 23 Sep 2011 1:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Animal Welfare Labels (www.animalwelfarelabels.org.au) website has been developed to help take the confusion and guesswork out of all the terms and labels that consumers are faced with by presenting common conditions in standards for welfare-focused cattle, sheep, pig, and poultry certification schemes.  It gives consumers the opportunity to see the detail of the standards behind the label.

    Australian Egg Corporation has announced to its members that it does not endorse such a guide and suggests that there is little benefit in being a part of it.  That is a slap in the face to consumers who would like to make informed decisions and to the true free range producers who are proud of their standards and want to reach markets that are seeking higher welfare outcomes.

    “When the egg industry is facing such turbulent times over labelling issues, one would have thought this website would be embraced by industry and be seen as a golden opportunity to provide clarity and transparency for claims made on egg cartons,” says Lee McCosker of Humane Choice.  “Humane Choice is a participant on this website because it provides a chance for producers to showcase their production system and define the husbandry and housing they employ on their farms."

    Misleading claims abound when it comes to labelling free range products and the animalwelfarelabels.org.au website is a one stop shop that allows consumers to compare brands and accreditation bodies.

    We would encourage all free range egg producers who are proud of their production standards to add their information to the website, in spite of AECL suggesting there is no benefit.  The only one not to benefit from this site is AECL and their outrageous idea of what constitutes free range.

    “This site is the only place you can compare production standards and it illustrates the gap between real free range and the industrialised version of free range,” says Ms McCosker. “We are urging producers to add their weight to the free range debate by adding their standards to Animal Welfare Labels in spite of Australian Egg Corporation’s suggestion that there is no benefit.   If you are a small producer working to high welfare standards this may be your last chance to be differentiated from farms with 40,000 hens per hectare."


  • 22 Sep 2011 1:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Until now, it has pretty much been a free-for-all when it comes to labelling free range eggs.

    The burgeoning demand has led to some producers simply re-inventing themselves with clever marketing and incorporating the words ‘free’ or ‘free range’ into their brand to capture a share of this market.  Consumer needs and wants have been ignored, or just exploited by those that have chosen to misrepresent their product.

    Consumers have an expectation when they purchase free range eggs.  At the very least there should be some guarantee that these birds are actually free to range.  Allowing massive increases in stocking densities for outdoor birds will only line the pockets of intensive producers and will be detrimental to consumer perceptions of the free range industry, the health and welfare of the birds, and damaging to the environment.

    Industry is almost frantic to take control of the term free range and has attempted to implement these changes quietly without full producer consultation or, more importantly, without consideration for just what the consumer perceives free range to be.

    “Feeding a growing population is no justification for hijacking the term free range,” says Lee McCosker from Humane Choice. “What the Australian Egg Corporation is proposing is not only socially and environmentally irresponsible, but would also be the equivalent of hen feed lots. The term ‘free range’ belongs to those producers that are truly committed to giving the consumer the ethical product that they seek.  The choice is the consumer’s to make and must not be taken from them with deceptive labelling.  If it’s not free to range, simply call it something else.”

    Humane Choice will be attending the launch of the Greens’ Truth in Labelling Bill (for free range eggs) to show our support for this much needed initiative. We need legislation now that will define free range and protect not only the consumer, but the welfare of layer hens and the environment.


  • 02 Aug 2011 11:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The argument for a national definition for 'free range' eggs

     

    There is now a broad agreement in the egg industry that clear, legal definitions need to be established for different methods of production.

    A national definition for free range egg production is firmly on the agenda and submissions are being made to the Federal Government to implement a standard.

    The Free Range Farmers Association in Victoria and the national industry body, Free Range Egg and Poultry Association have been pushing for many years that a national definition should be established for free range production systems which meets consumer expectations.

    These arguments have been boosted by the Australian Egg Corporation's managing director, James Kellaway, who has said: “We have definitions that are enforced by the industry but we want to make such definitions more robust and definitive … what we'd like to see is a definition that is clearly enunciated and enforced”

    The Free Range Egg and Poultry Association of Australia Inc. welcomes that announcement and has again written to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Joe Ludwig, re-opening the debate for the development of a clear definition for free range egg production.

    The Association has argued that the starting point should be the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – Domestic Poultry. The definition should require a maximum outdoor stocking density of 1500 hens per hectare and prohibit the beak trimming or de-beaking of birds.

    Currently, many producers who label their eggs as 'free range' run stocking densities well above the 1500 bird limit. AECL has revealed that some farms run as many as 40,000 chickens per hectare.

    The Model Code requires producers to find alternative measures to combat feather pecking and cannibalism before resorting to beak trimming – but most farms (even those which claim to be free range) make no attempt to find alternatives. Their birds are beaked trimmed at day old or soon after.

    The Australian Egg Corporation is currently trying to implement a new standard for a version of free range production that will allow a stocking density of up to 20,000 birds per hectare and will allow beak trimming as a matter of course.

    Industry practice has shown that beak trimming is totally unnecessary for hens on a free range farm – unless the farm is over stocked.

     

     

    More details

    Phil Westwood

    President

    Free Range Egg and Poultry Association of Australia Inc

    0402070531


  • 13 Jul 2011 1:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The charges against Westpork Pty Ltd’s piggery in Gingin, Western Australia will be heard in the Perth Magistrates Court today.

    The Westpork piggery has been charged with animal cruelty offences resulting from a breach of the Animal Welfare Act 2002.  Mr. Ferguson is the general manager of Westpork and an Australian Pork Limited (APL) Director.

    The Western Australian Department of Local Government has confirmed that more than thirty charges under the Animal Welfare Act 2002 have been placed against the Westpork piggery, which has been under investigation by the courts since January 2009. Further charges have been laid after a secondary investigation was conducted. The proponents have been specifically charged relating to animals suffering harm under the charge of a person(s) which could be alleviated by taking of reasonable steps (Sections 19(1) and 19(3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002).

    As general manager for Westpork, Mr. Ferguson holds a highly accountable role in the current charges against the piggery,” states HSI director Verna Simpson. “It is wholly inappropriate for a person who has been charged with an animal cruelty offence to continue to be a representative on the board of the industry body. HSI has continued to call on APL to remove Mr. Ferguson from his position whilst he answers these serious charges, yet to date they have refused.”

    The charges laid against Westpork are now the second time Mr. Ferguson has been involved in breaches against animal welfare legislation within two years.

    Now, with even more charges to be laid against Westpork and Neil Ferguson, HSI is keen to see justice served.”

    The case is listed for hearing at the Perth Magistrates Court, Central Law Courts, 501 Hay Street at 10am (Perth local time), Court Room 55


© Humane Choice
The Humane Choice ®™ Certification Trademark is the property of

Humane Society International

www.hsi.org.au
make it happen, free range eggs, free range hens, pastured eggs, free range pork, pastured pork, free range pigs, pig farming, pasture raised poultry, free range, eggs, humane food, certified humane, range eggs, approved farming,












Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software