No More Free Range Eggs in Queensland

| August 5, 2013 | 42 Replies

The Queensland government has quietly brought about changes to state regulations that will now ensure the end of true free range egg production in Queensland. The recent change  to regulations of free range eggs, lifting the number of hens allowed per hectare from 1,500 to 10,000.

The Queensland government has bowed to the pressure of the corporate giants and sold out Queensland family farms, the egg buying consumer and condemned hens to a life of factory farming misery.

Up until now, Queensland was applauded for their regulations that stipulated only 1,500 hens per hectare for free range farms. Queensland egg producers actually had an advantage over the other states that allowed higher stocking densities for free range hens. South Australia has just followed suit and developed a free range labelling system for producers, stocking hens at 1,500 or less per hectare. Given the public outrage over the industrialisation of free range egg production and the current position on this issue by the ACCC, we are appalled that the Queensland government has made this move.

The Queensland government has made a mockery of the Model Code of Practice and is effectively allowing the supermarket giants to act as regulators for the industry. There is no science and no social conscience behind the decision to destroy the Queensland free range egg industry.

“In a perverse way the Queensland government has made it just that much easier to make the right choice when you buy free range eggs. When purchasing eggs at the supermarket, just look at where they are packed and boycott any free range eggs produced in Queensland,” says Lee McCosker from Humane Choice.

If you are a Queenslander, buy your eggs from the independent supermarkets, butchers, green grocers or farmers markets, and only if they have an accreditation that ensures the eggs are truly free range.

“Queenslanders have always felt that they didn’t need to get behind the push for a nationally accepted standard of 1,500 hens as being free range because they thought that’s what they already had. It’s never too late to send a message to the Queensland Government and voice your disapproval,” McCosker said.

Send a 1500 hen postcard

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Comments (42)

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  1. Jenny Patterson says:

    There is only one word for the Queensland Government – DISGRACEFUL!

  2. kellie howes says:

    This is bulls hit I can’t believe that they think they can get away with this. Liberals need to wake up about animal cruelty shame9d2H

  3. Trapper says:

    Very interesting, You do realize that its easy enough to verify this and thats just what i spent the last hour doing. Maybe try to report the trust from now on

  4. Does it surprise you that they have allowed this legislation to be passed? I supply so many eggs to people I know for free so they can taste and enjoy the benefits of true free range eggs. The majority of my extended family now and friends, after tasting a true egg will never buy supermarket eggs again. We need everyone to show the difference to our family and friends so they can all stop buying supermarket eggs. Rick Stein did a blind tasting on his show of fried eggs and surprisingly the results spoke for themselves. :)

  5. Kellie says:

    This is disturbing, and out right stupid. We try to encourage our off spring to eat well and healthy but don’t look after live stock that produce for us… Shame on you Queensland government for giving into these greedy company’s. I’ll be checking they are free range and if not ill go buy my own chicks…

  6. Francis Harvey says:

    I was wondering what were the specifics of the legislation change. Here they are:

    An increase of sevenfold to the number of chickens per hectare.

  7. Annie Wiese says:

    This is a totally unacceptable case of softening the laws to further screw our farmers & producers over one more time. Come on, fair suck of the sav !!

  8. Phil says:

    I am appalled! I mean the Newman Government trashes 4000 jobs, open up the north for “natural” gas [ coal is greener! ] and now this.

    Our treatment of animals is just APPALLING! I will never buy from anyone who does not respect and treat humanly the animals in their care..

  9. Ahyo says:

    This is disgusting! Animals suffer for humans to make money and no free range eggs! All eggs should be free range meaning the chickens have free range both indoor and outdoor and plenty of room to stretch there legs at a minimum.

  10. Trissi says:

    What groups are there, that we can join to prevent things like this happening? I’ve purchased organic free range for 15 years, there is a market for it? so why are they shutting it down?

    WHAT IS THE ADDRESS THAT WE CAN SEND THESE DISAPPROVALS TO ? to so i can share it with my friends. Slowly but surely our rights are being wittled away, its a joke ! This is australia !

  11. gerry sinclair says:

    I would love to contact the Qld Government but you dont actually tell anyone what they have done.
    You have just madea general statement with no specifics i.e. what in fact is the new regulation?

  12. Alana Roy says:

    Why the hell do well vote these idiots in? They are supposed to be there for the people but as usual only bow to those with the bucks. The Australilan Govt both state and federal are weak.

  13. April Spencer says:

    His is so sad that Qld would be so pathetic. His is cruelty and exploration of chickens. I wont support this change.

  14. Gail says:

    this is just bloody disgusting. there is enough cruelty to animals in this world. I am so over the Queensland government how would they bloody like if they were stuck in a cage 24/7. So very sad.

  15. Morgan says:

    Very sorry to see the relaxing of these standards, seeing as how they are specifically to inform the consumer of what they are purchasing. Without faith in the regulation and labeling of these products, it is not possible to make an informed purchase. Additionally, free range eggs are more more expensive, this is at least partly due to lower density farming practices leading to a higher production cost per product. People are showing that they are willing to pay this extra cost to adhere to their own values. If eggs are no longer legitimately free range yet are marketed and sold as such, at increased prices.. we will be being lied to, ripped off and treated with contempt by not having the ability to make our own choices.

    The simple solution here is to have legitimately free range egg producers mark their product with their own authenticity. Freely advertise the farming practices, stick it to the man. And for us consumers.. we should ask more, and get rid of the jerks who are watering down our right to choice and ripping us off, while basically abusing the animals they rely on for business.

  16. Annie says:

    I don’t understand what this all means. Pls explain further the reasoning behind it.

  17. Lynn says:

    Does anyone know the regulations regarding ‘organic’ eggs. My understanding is that ‘organic’ eggs are from less crowded poultry farms, chooks free to range all day, no gm feed… Is this still true or have these regulations changed too?

    • Tash says:

      Please note that these chickens are not treated for any diseases/illthrift due to the “outcry” regarding antibiotics. And being that they are in a half free range situation, they are much more susceptible to such ailments. Free range and organic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Space alone does not equal better welfare.

    • David Lee says:

      Correct Lynn. Certified organic eggs are subject to different (National) regulations with lower densities.

  18. Martin says:

    I think this is great cause now more people will get a few chickens in the back yard if they have a brain and the stupid egg board whom I think is behind this will be out of a job. People also are to blame on this cause of them supporting Coles and Woolworths if you purchase eggs, milk etc at the prices that they are offering than someone or the animals will suffer. Stop complaining about this and do something, get yourself some chickens people you will soon realise the so called free range eggs your eating are really crap.

  19. Bo says:

    ABOUT TIME!!!!

    All those poor chooks have been putting in the hard yards popping out an abundance of tasty eggs but for what reason? So everyone can turn their noses up at “caged eggs” and opt for uppity free range eggs.. How do you think that makes the little chook feel? Society may as well walk up to that chook and spit in its face! Let our chooks lead a life of integrity and purpose…


  20. Shaye says:

    LIBERALS say no more

  21. Rick Brown says:

    The right side of politics just turns governing over to the big end of town, and this is a good example, the left spends like there is no tomorrow and the bill never has to be paid. There is no hope!

  22. Scott says:

    Sounds like they are trying to keep Queensland’s industry competitive with other states’, whose standards aren’t as high as Qld’s. What the article above omits is that, according to the legislation passed (link below), any farmers who wish to stock their farms above the 1,500/ha limit must comply with additional requirements in order to ensure animal welfare.

    Did the author intentionally omit that? That’s pretty shameful.

    It pays to do your own research before getting on your horse. (Thanks, Francis, for the link)

  23. Augustine says:

    While I think it is disgusting that this change has been allowed through unopposed, I do wonder about the farmers. Surely the fact that they are “allowed” to put 10,000 chickens/hectare doesn’t necessarily mean that they MUST increase their flock. Surely this will just become a selling point… “Buy my free range eggs, only 1500 hens/hectare”. The farmers still have the power to choose their flock density.

  24. Andrew says:

    Not even a small rise in numbers it is over 600%. The ‘smart’ state is obviously not the eco state and seems a little gutless to big business. Hate these things where technicalities misguide you from the real meaning for free range

  25. Mike W. says:

    Honestly, it’s about time they’ve allowed this. There were previously two options for free-range egg producers in this economy which are;

    1. Extensively raise the prices of their eggs so that they are less available to disadvantaged families, or to the average lower / middle class.

    2. Close down their business due to overhead costs and competition offering massively price reduced caged eggs.

    The fact that 10,000 hens are now able to be on a hectare means they are able to compete with the mega-farms which use hundreds of thousands of small cages to entrap their hens.

    The conditions which the Queensland government are offering are actually relatively good.. Whilst the animals won’t receive as much room as they’ve previously had, it is MUCH better than the alternative.

    Nobody has the right to complain about this. The smaller local farms are doing it tough, and this is a necessary step in supporting the local economy.

    • David says:

      I completely agree Mike, you couldn’t have put it any better. So many people on this website are ignorant to the fact that the farmers are being driven out by the competitiveness. I reckon they should all read a book once in a while, it might help open up their narrow minds. The government’s completely in the right to do this.

  26. Daile says:

    Just started having a look at this on the net. It seems so many eggs are marketed as “free range” but have vastly different standards (from 1500 to 40,000 hens per hectare). I, for example, always bought McLeans Run eggs, as I refuse to buy from Sunny Queen or Pace because they also sell cage eggs. Turns out McLeans Run is owned by Sunny Queen and have no published production standards! I almost flipped my table over when I found out! See the link below –

    To give you an idea, 10,000 hens per hectare is 1 hen per square metre. How that is considered “free range” i have no idea. Just because it’s outside?!I doubt I’ll actually be able to find what I consider to be TRUE free range eggs at my local supermarket. I’ll do without until I find them.

  27. Deb says:

    I am in Qld, As I’m unable to go to a store in person to shop how can I be sure I am buying actual free range eggs? Do I phone my local store and get info on where their free range eggs are packed and if It’s within Qld, go for a brand that is from another state?

  28. Connie says:

    Nothing surprises me with the Newman Government, but this just seems like a joke. It is sending egg farming backward 10 years. Just when Jamie Oliver & such have increased awareness of the suffering of our chickens, this happens. We need solutions folks. Instead of whinging & complaining…take action. Someone please take this up so we can support you.

  29. Tracey Foley says:

    This is ridiculous. Protest with your $$ people. Only buy real free range for egging our politicians!

  30. Hallu says:

    You can Argue all you want,

    but Believe me, it’s BETTER Not to eat ANY Eggs at all…

  31. Wayne says:

    Perhaps the farmers that care need to come up with another term that sets the record straight. Like ‘Free Range 1500’. Keep on fighting teh good fight.

  32. Ken says:

    its sad to see this happen for our farmers, its all apart of the ‘Lima agreement’ check it out on youtube people, open your eyes its happening everywhere.

  33. Cabbage says:

    Woolworths recently decided to not sell cage eggs.
    So they move to free range.
    Then ‘free range’ gets trashed.
    Not sure if there has been any progress here at all.

  34. Kellie says:

    There are small Qld producers that are resisting the push for greater stocking density. Consider supporting them rather than blocking all Qld egg producers: Organic Eggs from Country Range Farming, Darling Down Mountain Range eggs, and if you would except barn laid eggs that are kept at low stocking densities and high standards of care you have RSPCA eggs.

    I think the easiest way around this is for people to only buy from companies that state their stocking densities on the carton. McLean’s Run eggs does this but wierdly they appear to be owned by Sunny Queen? I might add that a lot of this push has come from companies like Coles and Woolworths who would like to sell cheaper/more free range eggs. Consider letting them know what you think about it.

    Also consider contacting the producers direct to ask them what their policies are. I started doing that a while back and started this blog:
    Feel free to add to it with your own research!

    Ultimately the best way out is to have your own chooks, but not everyone is lucky enough to have a back yard these days.

  35. mark says:

    How about you show the Government regulation they changed so we can see for ourselves and show us where they have been broken! or the wrong thing done so everyone can make up their own minds! I am sure everyone wants to do the right thing but show us, just dont tell us without proving it!

  36. Tracy Wootton says:

    I’d like to stick Campbell Newman in a cage with hundreds of others like him and shine a bright light in his face 24/7. Then I’d like to collect everything that came out of his cloaca and put it in a box and make him send it home to be scrambled and eaten.

  37. Rae says:

    We buy our eggs directly from the egg farm, cutting out the big supermarkets, and we can see exactly how the hens are treated. There are a lot of farmers around that are more than willing to sell directly to the consumer, you just have to look.

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