GREENS NSW MP John Kaye has urged community members to lobby Nationals members Andrew Stoner and Andrew Fraser to stand up for genuine free-range farmers and their customers.
Dr Kaye visited Coffs Harbour and Bellingen today and spoke at a meeting attended by more than a dozen people concerned at current regulations which they believe are being widely exploited.
"The NSW Coalition is failing to protect genuine free-range egg farmers and their customers," he said.
"National Party members are sitting on their hands while the big industrial producers hijack the label 'free-range' to cash in on the rise in demand for humanely produced eggs.
"The Egg Corporation which is dominated by the large industrial producers is steamrolling ahead with plans to officially increase the free-range stocking density from 1,500 to 20,000 birds per hectare.
"Members have responsibility to constituents and genuine free-range farmers to stop the industrial producers exploiting the free-range label for profit."
Dr Kaye appeared on the ABC1 state edition of 7.30 last night when the program explored the production conflict of caged birds versus free range.
In the wake of that program, he said today's forum members were concerned there was open deception in labelling, wanted to know what was causing that deception and argued for the importance of consumers getting accurate information.
"Genuine free-range egg farmers who have invested in sound environmental and animal welfare practices are being squeezed out of the market by large industrial producers who see the label free-range as nothing more than a marketing tool.
"The only way to protect the future of the free-range egg industry is through legislation.
"The Greens Truth in Labelling (Free-range eggs) Bill currently before the Lower House would safeguard genuine free-range farmers and consumers by introducing a definition of free-range and creating penalties for producers deceive consumers.
"Genuine free-range farmers and their customers will be the losers if the NSW National Party don't show some leadership within the O'Farrell Government and support the Greens' bill."
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