On 18 August 2022 the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture Fisheries & Forestry released the Australian Animal Welfare Standards & Guidelines for Poultry (the poultry standards).
The most significant changes in the standards and guidelines made by the independent panel include:
- A phase-out of conventional layer hen cages over 10 to 15 years (at the latest by 2036), depending on the age of current infrastructure.
- A requirement to provide environmental enrichment for meat chicken breeders.
- Changes to the minimum light intensity and required periods of darkness, ventilation, and temperature parameters for all species.
Each state and territory is considering implementation options during 2022, with further discussions by all Agricultural Ministers in early 2023.
The VFF is concerned the proposed phasing out of conventional caged systems will have significant ramifications for existing farm businesses as well as for food security. We are concerned the proposed standards have been founded on mere opinion and public perception, rather than actual and objective science surrounding animal welfare.
The VFF is working through the standards, consulting our members and industry on specific
Following the announcement of the poultry standards, the VFF immediately took to national media explaining the concerns of industry toward the proposals. We also hosted an online meeting of VFF poultry farmers to provide information on the standards and our actions to date.
The VFF has requested meetings with the Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Agriculture Victoria to discuss the options available to government and to industry.
The VFF has created a fact sheet for producers to help you understand the key changes being proposed: