HAPPY CHOOKS: Animal rights campaigner Jaylene Musgrave with rooster Mr Dubwey and hens Ting Tong and Rhianna.
HAPPY CHOOKS: Animal rights campaigner Jaylene Musgrave with rooster Mr Dubwey and hens Ting Tong and Rhianna. John Mccutcheon

Free range? Rules get scrambled across Queensland

HOW free are free-range eggs?

Not free enough for the animal protection institute Voiceless, which has criticised changes to free-range eggs standards in Queensland which will allow a 600% increase in bird-stocking density.

Biosecurity Queensland has amended regulations to increase the maximum free-range stocking density from 1500 hens a hectare to 10,000 birds a hectare.

Voiceless legal counsel Emmanuel Giuffre said even more concerning was that no maximum limits seemed to have been set for when the hens were indoors.

Under Queensland law, hens kept in sheds can be considered free range if they have outdoor access for eight hours a day and are within a certain distance from a doorway.

Mr Giuffre said it had become "hard going" for consumers trying to buy free-range eggs.

"What we do think is that consumers need to be more informed of their options," he said.

Sunshine Coast animal rights advocate Jaylene Musgrave said she was "speechless" about the change to free-range egg standards.

"In this day and age, we should be moving forward with animal welfare but we seem to be moving backwards," she said.

Ms Musgrave said marketing companies had taken over the term "free range" and hens were being used as machines by egg farms.

"I'd like to see the abolition of all animal products," she said.



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