Throughout the last 8 weeks of BCM212 I have been conducting a research project, satisfying my curiosity regarding the truth behind the free range egg industry. I have been analysing academic sources, reviewing previous studies and collecting my own data in an attempt to discover how much consumers really know when it comes to free range produce, and more importantly, how much they really care.
Whilst conducting this project it has been difficult to remain neutral, as my own moral and ethical beliefs lay in favour of true free range production. As a big animal lover, I find the current regulatory standards for minimum living conditions for hens to be extremely unacceptable. Last year, Australian consumer affairs ministers “signed off on a standard that allows producers to pack 10,000 hens on a hectare and still advertise eggs as ‘free range’.” (Ibrahim, Choice 2017) This new ruling is more than six times the CSIRO’s egg Model Code of Practice, which advocates a density of 1500 hens per hectare. (CSIRO) This means that not only are these animals living with an extremely poor quality of life, but that we, as consumers, are funding this cycle and supporting big corporations such as Pace Farm, Woolworths and Coles free range eggs that engage in this deceptive labelling. For the most part, consumers are unaware that even though they are paying a premium for these free range eggs, the hens are raised in similar if not identical conditions to battery cage hens. Throughout my research I hope to educate people on the truth behind the free range egg industry, and through the conduction of my survey hope to find out if people care enough to change their eating habits. The key to my research project will be providing information alongside asking participants to provide feedback, to ensure that I can get as many people as possible knowing about the big scam that is free range eggs.
If you are interested in my research project, stay up to date by participating in my survey, following my twitter and subscribing to my blog, where I will continue to update as I go!
Please find a link to my survey on twitter
This article on SBS states 19 companies that falsely label their eggs as free range. Additionally, the iPhone app ‘CluckAR’ allows you to hold your phone over egg cartons, and will link you to information about where the eggs really came from.