Did you know that Australians eat approximately 15 million eggs every day?
Do you eat eggs?
Are you concerned about how they are produced?
Now is your opportunity to provide your feedback by taking part in a nation-wide research program developed to better understand public attitudes towards the egg industry.
Social scientists at the CSIRO are conducting research to provide egg farmers with a deeper understanding of community sentiment and to measure how responsive industry is to community concerns.
We know that increasingly, Australians are concerned about what they consume: about the welfare of animals used to produce food, as well as about environmental and climate impacts.
CSIRO Senior Research Scientist, Dr Kieren Moffat, said this year’s survey will build on work conducted in 2018 and 2019 to provide insight into shifts in community attitudes and priorities over that time.
“Relationships between industries and community are complex and take time to change and build,” Dr Moffat said.
“We know Australians eat a huge number of eggs, but we also know that the way those eggs are produced is an issue people care deeply about.”
“We’re offering all Australians the chance to have their say through an open survey, and the data we collect will be analysed and reported back to Australian Eggs as the public view.”
“In particular, this year, we will be looking to track the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on public views around food supply systems, food security and food access.”
Managing Director of Australian Eggs, Rowan McMonnies, said that the egg industry is very responsive to community concerns around welfare, and the environment and he said improvements are constantly being made.
“This is a key aspect of the Sustainability Framework process and industry responsiveness from the perspective of the community is measured as part of that process. As the national research and development corporation, Australian Eggs plays an important role in leading the research and adoption activities that accelerate change,” Mr McMonnies said.
“Previous insights from the CSIRO’s research have formed the basis for some crucial changes across the egg industry.
“We learned last year that environmental impact has emerged as an even stronger area of interest for Australians and, as a result, we funded a suite of new research projects to identify how and where the industry can lower its environmental footprint,” Mr McMonnies said.
“This included feed efficiency improvements, new waste management technologies and online tools to help egg producers assess the viability of solar on their farm.”
“Previous research also showed that food security is a major priority for the community and the egg industry responded by ramping up biosecurity efforts.”
“The benefits of that can be seen right now as the strict biosecurity measures put in place have helped protect farm workers from COVID-19 and ensure continuity of egg supply.”
Mr McMonnies said that the egg industry has lowered its environmental footprint over the last few years through better genetics, management of by-products and installation of on-farm solar systems. All of these improvements have the dual benefit of economic savings over the long term.
“In our latest Australian Egg Industry Sustainability Report we referenced that today a laying hen lays 38 more eggs than a hen did 20 years ago, despite consumer 5% less feed. That equals an extra 800 million eggs each year across Australia’s national flock, produced with 42,000 tonnes less grain and an emission saving 30,000 tonnes of carbon.”
The Australian Eggs Sustainability Framework is unique in that it is the first process to combine broad scale community research with sustainability goals as part of an annual reporting cycle, Mr McMonnies said.
The community research conducted as part of the Sustainability Framework draws on a representative sample across all geographic locations, including West End.
To participate, go to https://research.csiro.au/eggs/
The survey closes on Friday, 5 June 2020
Image: Rowan McMonnies, Managing Director of Australian Eggs.