Record fine for Oz egg producer
Aleading Australian egg producer has been fined AUS$750 000 ((US$594 000) plus AUS$300 000 (US$238 000) in costs after it was found guilty of making false or misleading representations that eggs it sold were free range.
Following a complaint brought by animal welfare group Humane Society International over conditions on select poultry farms between April 2011 and December 2013, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought the action against Snowdale Holdings in Western Australia, which centred around Snowdale’s management at sites in Carabooda and in Perth’s Swan Valley, where the company produced branded eggs including Eggs by Ellah.
While the company’s advertising included claims that its eggs were “free range”, and featured pictures of chickens in “grassy fields”, the court found that conditions on farms prevented most birds from accessing outside range area regularly. It considered overall stocking density in sheds too high, and the number of pop holes available inhibitive to ranging.¡
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