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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3444 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

On the matter of consultation: In the previous Assembly there was consultation by the former member for the Greens, Ms Horodny, with the egg industry - I think it was Parkwood; I have not got the details here - including Parkwood. We have read their submissions. What has been obvious to us is that they have consistently and always strongly opposed what we have been proposing. I was offered a briefing in the last couple of days by Mr Moore's officials. We covered the sorts of concerns that had come more recently from Bartter - from the Parkwood people. So I am aware of the issues that Mr Moore raised today.

But we have been clear about the point of view we are representing here. We are very clear on what the egg industry thinks. It is restated very often. The question of machinery cannot be seen as major in light of our concerns about ensuring that the community is fully aware of what the product is that they are purchasing. Mr Corbell was saying they are doing the right thing. Well they are not. Under Mr Moore's regulation there should be the word "egg" on that label, and it is not there.

They did not do the right thing to begin with because it was three millimetres not six millimetres. So they are obviously still not at all happy working with this. They did not want it on the front because it would have clashed with their "12 farm fresh eggs". They are changing their packaging to take out the "12 farm fresh eggs". But they have got the picture of a very happy hen there, so I guess they do not want to have "battery cage eggs" put on top of that.

Mr Rugendyke: I saw happy hens.

Mr Moore: I saw happy hens in a cage.

MS TUCKER: I will answer Mr Rugendyke's comments. I am delighted that he has entered the debate. Mr Rugendyke said that he had been there and so he knows that they are happy hens.

Mr Rugendyke: That is why they lay an egg a day, because they are happy.

MS TUCKER: And that is why they lay an egg a day. Right. They are happy, says Mr Rugendyke. Well, he is obviously entitled to his view there. The Productivity Commission, not really known for its strong and constant statements on animal welfare, did say, after a careful analysis that was commissioned by the ACT Government, that there were animal welfare benefits in phasing out this kind of intensive farming. So there is another view. I think the Productivity Commission's work was a little more extensive than just visiting Parkwood.

There is the issue Mr Moore also raised that the worst kept hens he has seen were actually in a free-range situation. Animal husbandry is a critical factor in any method of farming. It is a bit of a furphy of an argument to say, "I went to one place once and I saw these really poorly looked-after hens". In any method of farming you can have appalling things happen. One family can keep an animal and be appalling. We have issues around how animals are kept and that is important. And it is very important that we do have very good regulation in our society so that we ensure that animals are kept properly, whether it is in a farming situation or not.

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