Recently, more than a thousand Melburnians copied me in to their submission to the Australian Standards and Guidelines (Poultry) Review. It was fantastic to see so many people calling for our government to ban battery cages and cruelty to chickens.
I was more than happy to support this call, and wrote to the Minister for Agriculture asking her to ban battery cages and clarify 'free-range' in law. Here's a copy of my letter:
Dear Minister Pulford,
RE: Australian Standards and Guidelines (Poultry) Review
I write in regards to the need for significant reform to the Australian Standards and Guidelines for Poultry.
As you would be aware, hundreds of my constituents have made submissions to the review of the Australian Standards and Guidelines for Poultry. I, too, share their concern about the wellbeing of chickens in Victoria.
This review comes at an important time for animal rights in Victoria. A growing number of Melbournians and Victorians are opting to buy free-range eggs to avoid the horrific cruelty of factory farming. Thanks to years of animal rights activism, our society is showing a more compassionate and caring approach to animals and farming.
Unfortunately, our government has trailed behind our community on this important moral issue. It is time that battery cages were banned in Victoria. Factory farming increases rates of cannibalism and mortality among chickens. Battery cages deny chickens space to spread their wings, and even sunlight. It’s cruel and unhealthy.
We also need to clarify ‘free-range’ in law. While many of my constituents have shown a sincere desire to buy only ethically farmed eggs, the truth of the matter is that many eggs labelled ‘free-range’ are often laid by chickens jammed into sheds with little room to move and limited or no access to the outdoors. This is misleading and disingenuous.
I urge you to listen to the community, and take the action we need to protect the rights of chickens in Victoria by banning battery cages and legislating a standard for ‘free-range’ eggs. This would be an important step to create a more caring society in Victoria.
State MP for Melbourne