06 July, 2010

Controversy Over "Free Range" Definition hits Austrailia

It would seem that the United States is inwardly focused on self preservation through organics and environmental practices these days. "Green Washing" a term coined to define products that claim to be green but may only be on a limited level. Now that "Organic" has federal guidelines before being applied to many products the race is on to define "Natural" in the same way. Rest assured that the predicament is not just in the U.S. but down under as well. Free Range Chickens may get a new definition allowing an increase in the number of chickens per ,ot by ten fold and also allow for de-beaking.

Plans by the Australian Egg Corporation Ltd to review the standards of free range egg production have caused a schism in the industry, with free-range producers refusing to agree to changes that could see the maximum number of 'free range' birds per hectare increase from 1500 to as many as 20 000, and allow de-beaking.
Small farmers, free range producers and animal welfare groups are outraged over the proposed changes, saying that they are a concession to the AECL's main members - larger cage and barn producers.

Industry players got away with labelling their eggs 'free range' simply by putting doors in the sides of their 30 000-bird sheds, but kept all food and water inside.
Phil Westwood said that the AECL could avoid the watering down of the 'free range' label by introducing more specific labels, such as 'semi-intensive' (as used by the EU) or 'cage-free'.

The above is from the publication Australia Food News. Click for more information on the story.

The next time yo see a biodegradable flower pot, a bird feeder made from recycled milk bottles think twice. What good is a biodegradable flower pot if you have to buy another one in two years? How much energy goes into manufacturing, shipping, and distribution of that flower pot. A "normal" plastic pot lasts for decades.

In theory just going organic is passe'. Think about the total "footprint" a product or practice makes. Footprints are important not only if you are green conscious footprints also equate to dollars. The larger the footprint the more dollars it costs you in the end. And who said greens and capitalists could no co-exist?