The Guide > Food & Drink > Dairy & Chilled > Eggs
Factory farming is the system of raising animals using 'intensive production' line methods that maximise the amount of meat produced while minimising costs. It is characterised by close confinement in barren and unnatural conditions and involves massive environmental pollution and health risks for both animals and humans. In Australia as in other countries this is our conventional means of raising pigs, chickens and producing eggs.
  • Look for eggs labelled 'free-range'; next choose 'barn-laid' over regular 'cage' (battery) eggs. Egg labels guide
  • Look for smallgoods labelled 'Free-Range'. Choose 'accredited free range' where possible. (Please note: 'Bred free range' can be misleading - piglets are weaned at about 4 weeks and raised indoors in eco shelters.) PROOF
  • Look for 'Organic' or 'Free-Range' chicken and pork. (In order to achieve organic certification, chicken and pigs farmed organically must be free-range.) Sustainable Table
  • For information on the factory farming of chickens in Australia, see the Voiceless report 'From Nest to Nugget', 2008. From Nest to Nugget
In May 2016 a new national standard for free-range egg production was introduced, requiring the density of chickens outdoors must be no more than one hen per square metre (10,000 hens per hectare).

This legislation is significantly less strict than the 1,500 birds per hectare standard, recommended by the CSIRO and preferred by the RSPCA.

Consumer advocacy group CHOICE responded to the new standards by calling for a consumer boycott of eggs from companies with high stocking densities. Find out how particular brands stack up.
Features: Low stocking density
Follow the link to see Choice's complete list of Australian egg brands that meet the recommended model code of 1500 hens per hectare. The government's free range egg standard allows stocking densities of up to 10,000 hens per hectare with no mandate for hens to actually spend time outdoors.
Manufacturer: CHOICE
Find local egg farmers who 'pasture' their hens. Check out the directory. These hens are raised all or most of their lives on pasture and are moved every few days to enrich the soil; they are free to dust bathe, scratch and forage, eating worms and grubs.
Manufacturer: Flavour Crusader
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