By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Animal welfare concern has been a driving force for “pastured eggs” to be an alternative to caged and free range production of the livestock produce.
Farmers Alexi Cox and Mark Dragan are an example of those who practice this mode of production. The Dragan Farm’s chickens chase insects, roam in open paddocks, and lay and sleep in a series of mobile sheds that need to be relocated every two days to fresh pasture.
Ninety percent of Cox’s pastured eggs, chemical-free fruit, vegetables, and honey are sold directly from the farm, which allows them to keep egg prices between $6 to $8 a dozen.
Pastured eggs are more expensive since they are labor extensive in comparison with the commercially produced ones. Pastured eggs need to be farmed in a mobile system which includes paddock rotation, where the soils and the pasture are also managed.
The CSIRO survey commissioned by Australian Eggs, an industry marketing, research, and development group, discovered that animal welfare was a top concern for more than 12,500 people who took part in the survey.
It showed that consumers value eggs as a household necessity and they are willing to pay the price for cruelty-free eggs. This serves as the niche when it comes to deepening the levels of trust between producer and consumer.