Egg Farmers of Australia support cage, barn and free range egg production systems and believe that consumers should have the right to choose the eggs they wish to consume.
Egg Farmers of Australia believe that the consumer should drive demand of the eggs that they wish to eat and egg farmers will supply accordingly.
Egg Farmers of Australia engage with supermarkets annually through either meetings or correspondence.
Egg Farmers of Australia’s export brief outlining export for the previous year is updated annually in August.
Egg Farmers of Australia’s position is to ensure caged egg production can continue in existing conventional cages until 2046 and that new facilities from 1 July 2022 be furnished as outlined below.
All caged-based housing facilities installed after 1 July 2022 need to be a furnished cage at 750cm2 per bird which includes a scratch rail or pad and nesting area within the usable space.
For existing infrastructure built prior to 1 July 2022, caged-based housing facilities (conventional cages) can continue to operate with the repair or replacement of cages until 2046.
If prior to 2046 then provision of a government structural adjustment package will be necessary.
Egg Farmers of Australia are awaiting the decision by the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee (AGSOC) for next steps. This will bring 7 years of the S&G process to an end at a National level.
It is hoped that the findings and the recommendations of the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines Panel are heard and that jurisdictions can start the process for the standards to be placed into legislation.
Following the AGSOC process, state farming organisations will then work with their relevant jurisdiction for passage into legislation.
The Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA) is an agreement between industry groups to apportion disease response costs subsequent to disease outbreaks. Immediate responses are underwritten by the Federal Government, then paid back to the Federal Government through funds from industry levies subject to industry outbreak (egg, chicken meat, duck etc). Animal Health Australia apportions the costs based on industry gross production value.
In addition to the EADRA Deed, a poultry deed, represents agreement between the signatories regarding each respective industry’s policy for fair and reasonable compensation repayment terms.
Three industries are currently signatories of the EADRA Deed, and work closely together to ensure quick response to emergency disease situations – Egg, Chicken Meat, and Duck who joined in 2021.
As a result of the wide impact of recent outbreaks of Avian Influenza, the Egg, Chicken Meat and Duck parties, are in discussions to encourage all other commercial bird industries (such as the Turkey and Emu industries) to join in and become signatories to the EADRA and Poultry Deeds.
Egg Farmers of Australia released their 5 year strategic plan in January of 2022. The plan focuses on biosecurity, food safety, the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry and the communication and engagement with members and stakeholders.
Egg Farmers of Australia is supported by members for members. Members of our organisation receive quarterly newsletters, e-updates on important topics, and staff touch base with members by phone and email. Egg Farmers of Australia work hard to provide value for money to our members and appreciate those members who pay levies in order to ensure a national body for egg farmers exists.
Members are provided with this quick reference guide outlining a range of useful information, contacts and policy positions of Egg Farmers of Australia. Provided annually from 2021, policy positions are updated prior to the commencement of each financial year and the guide is provided to new members or continuing members on renewal of their membership each July.
Egg Farmers of Australia engage with Federal and State Government Ministers, Policy Advisers, and government agencies regularly to progress issues such as the Standards and Guidelines, to progress industry policy and to receive updates from the government on disease outbreaks or policy work undertaken.
Egg Farmers of Australia are committed to providing a briefing to Advisers and Departmental staff once per year after receiving a copy of the latest Good Egg Guide (a handbook created for government officials assisting the egg industry).
Egg Farmers of Australia provide submissions to the government and consider joint submissions with state farming organisations where appropriate.
Egg Farmers of Australia engage with other industry organisations including, but not limited to, the Australian Chicken Meat Federation and Australian Duck Meat Association as required.
Current Egg Industry issues
Traceability is an important aspect of egg farming for farmers, retailers and consumers.
Egg Farmers of Australia believe that eggs for consumption should be stamped.
Egg Farmers have raised the issue with the three state governments (NSW, VIC and TAS) that permit egg exemptions where stamps are not required to be stamped.
In NSW if a farmer has less than 240 eggs per week (less than 50 layers and only sell directly from farm gate or use for fundraising purposes where the eggs will be cooked) the farmer is exempt from stamping.
In Victoria, again less than 50 layers and 240 eggs per week, an exemption.
Tasmanian farmers with less than 20 dozen a week and only supplying to work colleagues, friends and family an exemption is permitted.
Following the soon to be announced FSANZ Review, Egg Farmers of Australia will be requesting that a recommendation be made that state exemptions not be permitted and that all eggs be stamped.
Many industries have had traceability systems in place for many years. Egg Farmer of Australia support the Australian Eggs traceability tools to ensure that all egg farmers have accessibility to a system.
Traceability allows farmers to assess the source of any problems and take steps to prevent the spread of disease and may help in the event of a product recall.
For updates on the increased traceability tools, please visit https://www.australianeggs.org.au/for-farmers/traceability
Egg Farmers of Australia undertake a range of egg industry biosecurity coordination activities with Animal Health Australia on behalf of Australian Eggs.
In 2019, the industry experienced the largest outbreak of Avian Influenza in Australia’s history.
Egg Farmers of Australia in conjunction with Australian Eggs developed an AI checklist for farms.
In the event of an Avian Influenza Disease Response, Egg Farmers of Australia are committed to liaising with Australian Eggs in order to ensure that industry support can be made available to the control centre.
Communication with Livestock Liaison Industry (LLI) Officers is provided through emails twice yearly.
Egg Farmers of Australia have developed an AI communication plan and continue to work with organisations such as the Federal Government and ACCC to discuss progress that can be made to assist in an incident.
Currently a longer housing order is being considered due to the risk that multiple incidences and locations could be impacted by AI due to the increased cases on a global level.
Egg Farmers of Australia’s position is that spent hens should not be on sold or given away due to biosecurity risks and lack of traceability.
Egg Farmers of Australia continue to work with Governments and have provided a spent hen factsheet so that officials can understand the risk to the industry by the on selling of spent hens.
Egg Farmers of Australia continue to monitor the development of technology for hens to be processed into other products.
Egg Farmers of Australia understand that the number of backyard producers are increasing. For this reason, a backyard flyer has been developed with the aim of joint promotion with governments to provide further information in relation to the importance of backyard producers understanding their responsibilities as hen owners.
Governance and Planning
Egg Farmers of Australia commence all board meetings with noting the importance of compliance obligations under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
Egg Farmers of Australia Board of Directors adhere to the following protocols relating to commercially sensitive information and competition:
- no discussion of pricing;
- no discussion of dealings with customers, suppliers or other stakeholders;
- no cost sharing information; and
- no discussion surrounding restricting or limiting supply.
Egg Farmers of Australia Board of Directors and Staff must provide a Declaration of Interests before each AGM meeting. Should a significant change in interests occur through the year, an amendment to the Declaration of Interests is required to be made.
Egg Farmers of Australia’s constitution is available to members for viewing on the members only site.
Egg Farmers of Australia Directors and Nominees are to be ratified at the first meeting of the Board following the AGM.
Egg Farmers of Australia liaised with government on the definition of free range farming. Legislation came into effect in early 2018. Under the law, eggs labelled as ‘free range’ must come from hens that are able to roam and forage outdoors for at least eight hours each day.
The maximum outdoor stocking density for free range egg farming is 10,000 hens per hectare of land or one hen per square metre. Each egg farm must state its outdoor stocking density on egg cartons.
Egg Farmers of Australia developed and launched an animal welfare policy statement in relation to: farming practices, animal welfare science, community consultation and education, animal protection legislation, enforcement and compliance, and consumer choice.
98% of all farms are family owned and operated
A reasonable opportunity for poultry to be able to drink the water of suitable quality and quantity to maintain their hydration.
The state of an animal and how well it is coping with the conditions in which it lives.
Standards once endorsed and legislated by all State & Territory governments are the legal requirements for livestock welfare and use the word ‘must’. The standards provide the basis for developing and implementing consistent legislation and enforcement across Australia.
The main decision-making principles used for developing the standards are to ensure the standards are:
- desirable for livestock welfare
- feasible for industry and government to implement
- important for the livestock-welfare regulatory framework
achieve the intended outcome for livestock welfare.
A building for layer hens without conventional cages, similar to a barn but providing two or more floor levels, giving free access for all birds to all floors.
A housing system in which birds are continuously housed in a shed.
Beak treatment Treatment of the beak to stop cannibalism.
Loss of blood caused by cutting the major blood vessels, usually in the neck or at the base of the heart via the thoracic inlet.
Birds Chicks, chickens, pullets or layer hens.
A housing system in which birds are continuously housed in cages within a shed.
The practice by some birds of pecking and eating other members of the same flock.
Poultry under 72 hours old, commonly known as day-old chicks, poults etc.
Abrasive device or flooring for scratching.
Colony Cage/ Furnished Cage A modified and enlarged cage environment with more space than conventional cages and with perching, nesting and dust bathing areas. A colony is sometimes also referred to as a furnished or enriched cage, or furnished or enriched colony.
A business that engages in the breeding, sale or slaughter of poultry. Commercial production does not include poultry kept for personal use, such as backyard chickens or exhibition poultry.
A housing system where the operator can control temperature, air quality and light.
A metal enclosure containing two to nine birds. These cages do not include a perch, a nest box or a dust bathing area.
The period between the point of lay and the cessation of egg laying. This may be seasonal.
Materials and structures provided to meet the behavioural needs of poultry, which can help to minimise the development of abnormal behaviours.
Is equipment that can be used to detect and prevent the spread of fire including water sprinklers/misters, smoke alarms, hoses and portable fire extinguishers.
A number of birds of the same origin (genotype) age and managed in the same way.
A housing system in which birds are continuously housed in a shed and have access to the outdoors.
A female after the first moult. It is often used to describe females after they have started to lay.
The machine used to incubate and artificially hatch fertile eggs.
A female in lay. Usually used to refer to females kept solely for egg production for human consumption.
Laying chickens (Gallus gallus) reared, kept and managed for egg production, but do not include birds being reared and managed for purposes of breeding laying chickens.
The model code of practice is a guide for people responsible for the welfare and husbandry of domestic poultry. It recognises that the basic requirement for welfare of poultry is a husbandry system appropriate to their physiological and behavioural needs. Farmers work to this code of practice while awaiting the endorsement of the Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry.
Provides poultry with adequate space, separation from cohorts and the opportunity for laying in a darkened, secluded area.
Housing systems in which birds are not continuously confined in a cage and may include access to an outdoor area.
Perch An elevated structure for birds to roost off the ground.
When a sexually mature hen starts laying.
An opening that provides birds with access between indoor and outside areas.
A young hen, especially one less than one year old.
An outdoor area, used by birds in free-range farming.
Management of poultry from day-old to sexual maturity or production age.
A surface area that allows foraging behaviour.
Space that has sufficient height to allow a bird to move freely, and perform normal postures, and does not include nest areas and structures such as raised perches and feed troughs.
A person (the supervised person) is acting under the supervision of another person (the supervisor) if the supervisor:
(a) provides instructions and guidance to the supervised person in relation to the subject activity; and
(b) oversees and evaluates the performance of the activity by the supervised person; and
(c) is contactable by the supervised person.
A system of raised flooring with gaps that allow bird faeces to pass through.
The common external opening from the cloaca for the digestive system, urinary system and reproductive system.
A roofed area along the outside of a dwelling eg. shed, level with the ground floor, designed to give shade/shelter.