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Egg Exemptions and the Battery Barons

Egg Exemptions and the Battery Barons

The Soil and Health Association of New Zealand commends The New Zealand Food Safety Authority for cutting back on compliance for small scale egg producers. Soil and Health had previously urged Free Range egg lovers and producers to resist Wellington bureaucracy’s attempt to force onerous and unnecessary compliance costs on them

The late Thursday announcement of an exemption for egg producers with 100 hens or less from the requirement for Risk Management Plans, should help retain small, local, ‘happy egg’ producers, according to Soil & Health’s Co-chair and spokesperson Steffan Browning. Many free range hens have already been culled and others were set to follow. Many of the now exempt flocks will be Free Range birds.

The next step for encouragement of humanely produced and healthy eggs will be for the Government Regulations Review Select Committee to give the Free Range egg producers their fair share of the egg commodity levy. Currently all egg commodity levies go to the Egg Producers Federation, that is dominated by battery hen interests that appear to actively work against the promotion of Free Range production.

That is blatantly unjust according to Soil and Health who support The Free Range Egg Association’s (FREA) call that FREA would better use its own contributions to advance healthy, humane egg production for Kiwi consumers.

Soil & Health’s Steffan Browning, contends that free range egg production is essentially pastoral farming, while battery eggs are inhumanely factory produced. The big battery egg producers that dominate the Egg Producers Federation using levy money collected from both free range and battery producers, have eagerly lobbied for and accepted the RMP system, with the knowledge that it will give battery production more market share and help them maintain their heartless production methods.

Large scale health risks are far more likely from the intensive and cruel factories, than the pastoral farming free range happy hens.

Soil and Healths suggests an approach of guidelines on risk management and good labeling systems for tracking egg sources which would ease the compliance hurdles for larger Free Range producers and still cover the risk management needs of NZFSA according to Steffan Browning

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