MISLEADING THE ETHICAL CONSUMER: THE REGULATION OF FREE-RANGE EGG LABELLING
AuthorParker, C; de Costa, J
Source TitleMELBOURNE UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW
PublisherMELBOURNE UNIV LAW REVIEW ASSOC
University of Melbourne Author/sParker, Christine
AffiliationMelbourne Law School
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsParker, C; de Costa, J, MISLEADING THE ETHICAL CONSUMER: THE REGULATION OF FREE-RANGE EGG LABELLING, MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW, 2016, 39 (3), pp. 895 - 949
Access StatusOpen Access
In mid-2014, Australian consumer affairs ministers announced that they would together set 'a national, legally enforceable definition of free-range eggs'. A response to significant conflict, claims and counterclaims about what free-range should mean, the proposed code could take the form of a mandatory information standard under the Australian Consumer Law. This paper asks whether this approach would adequately respond to the underlying conflict between various actors as to what free-range means. Conflict over the meaning of free-range on the label is the latest expression in an ongoing series of challenges, defences and counter-challenges to the legitimacy of intense, industrial-scale animal food production and particularly conventional cage egg production. This paper briefly explains how it is that the regulation of welfare of layer hens is now largely a matter of voluntary labelling for consumer choice rather than mandatory government regulation of animal welfare in production conditions. It goes on to critically evaluate whether the current network of voluntary regulation of free-range labelling adequately informs consumers about animal welfare conditions using data collected about the claims on egg carton labels between 2012 and 2014 to do so. It goes on to assess the potential of a mandatory information code or other consumer regulation to improve animal welfare labelling on eggs.
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