Dr Peta Taylor from the University of New England and colleagues are attempting to get to the bottom of perceptions of hen welfare and the Australian egg industry and how these may differ related to specific demographics, experiences and professions. The team, including Huw Nolan from UNE and Dr Lauren Hemsworth from the Animal Welfare Science Centre at the University of Melbourne, ran focus groups with industry and community members focusing discussions around hen welfare, industry practices and misconceptions of industry.
Numerous misconceptions about the egg industry were identified during the community stakeholder group, highlighting a lack of understanding about industry scale, housing and management processes. “We observed interesting dynamics between the community participants, where one member would offer incorrect information which was rarely challenged by the rest of the group, indeed these statements often resulted in strong statements against the egg industry from the rest of the group” Dr Taylor states.
Dr Taylor says that the focus groups highlighted problems with a lack of knowledge, information sources, unrealistic perceptions and the use of emotionally loaded words amongst community members. The research team is looking further into these themes and are attempting to find a way to increase communication between community members and industry regarding hen welfare and the industry.
A national survey is currently underway with aims to address such issues. The work will require a minimum of 800 community members, and 200 industry participants. We urge you to have your say on this important issue of the industry HERE or via the QR code below. To help entice you, the team are offering the chance to win one of two iPads!