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Why Rocky businessman stopped stocking free range eggs

Poultry Farm. Broiler chickens in a cage.
Poultry Farm. Broiler chickens in a cage. franz12

CRACKING an egg at breakfast that's come from a caged hen is an outrage to some.

But Rockhampton man Dominic Doblo sees no problem with the cheaper option despite the circumstances.

The local business man and owner of Doblo's Farmer's Market has stopped supplying free range eggs to his customers saying they could never compete with the cheaper, caged eggs.

Although both sources were local, Mr Doblo said the Mt Morgan caged chicken farmers "have been doing it for 40 years" and trusted them in their practices.

Which type of eggs do you buy?

This poll ended on 09 January 2018.

Current Results

Caged

16%

Free range

58%

It depends on the price, I buy the cheaper option

24%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

A spokesperson from the RSPCA says being a successful business didn't make it moral.

"The egg industry has been producing battery cage eggs for a long time. We know now, and the science proves it, that hens suffer incredibly to produce cheaper eggs," a spokesperson said.

"Battery cages are barren and hens are more likely to suffer from bone fractures and a condition which causes their liver to rupture.

"They also cannot express their natural behaviours, such as scratching and perching, and this causes extreme frustration."

Despite the living conditions of caged chickens, Mr Doblo said the deciding factor for him was the price.

"People forget that many are on struggle street," he said.

"The cost of living has gone through the roof and fresh food, eggs and meat will be like electricity soon."

Mr Doblo said more support needed to be given to local farmers as they were the worst effected.

 

Dominic Doblos new business.
Dominic Doblos new business. Allan Reinikka ROK280917adoblo2

"People have to put their prices up because their water, power and harvest bills are getting higher," he said.

"Since getting back into the fruit and vegetable market, it's a huge topic."

Mr Doblo said average Rocky workers were facing financial discrimination for simply buying what they could afford.

Although the RSPCA acknowledged the cost of living was rising and families were on tighter budgets, they encouraged people to do their research on how much they were actually saving.

 

The Neuendorfs opted to call their chickens pasture-raised rather than free range due to misuse and overuse of the term.
The Neuendorfs opted to call their chickens pasture-raised rather than free range due to misuse and overuse of the term. Contributed

"The additional cost of a cage free egg is between 15 and 20 cents. If a family buys a dozen eggs each week, the additional cost will be approximately that of a bottle of water," a spokesperson said.

"If everybody bought cage free eggs, it would increase the demand for them. This would mean that producing battery cage eggs would no longer be profitable and producers could switch to producing cage free eggs, which some have already done.

"This would create more competition within the market and the prices of cage free eggs would decrease, which is a win for the hens and a win for the consumer."

 

Randal Breen with the family's maremma, which guards the free range chicken flock.
Randal Breen with the family's maremma, which guards the free range chicken flock. Contributed

But for Mr Doblo, eggs were just the tip of the iceberg and he encouraged people to look at the bigger picture.

"The whole point of the matter is that the battlers and workers just can't afford to buy better quality food," he said.

"In another five years we will be living off McDonald's and Red Rooster."

Topics:  caged eggs dominic doblo editors picks free range eggs


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