Favorite things about Sydney:
The Opera House. I cannot get enough of the Opera House. Well, I guess I’m not enamored enough to do a tour or go to a performance there, but I’ve taken 10000 pictures of it and I do plan to hit the Opera Bar.
Surry Hills. We’ve been escaping the tourists, camping out at cafes, drinking in hipster bars, and eating at nice restaurants without reservations. (The restaurants in the CBD we’ve tried have been overpriced with long waits, terrible service and average food.)
Baxter Inn. It’s a dark bar in a basement with more types of whisky than you’ve ever seen. And really good non-whisky drinks. Sit at the bar and watch the bartenders work.
Running through the Botanical Gardens and over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. See “The Opera House” above.
Rainford Street Social, our office away from home. The breakfasts are hearty and delicious, the coffee is fabulous (coffee here is not like coffee at home), they have decent, reliable wifi (good wifi is hard to find around here), and don’t seem to mind that we stay for hours upon hours. We do make an effort to keep ordering more coffees and fresh juices while we work so we’re not total deadbeats.
More relevant to this blog’s theme is the prevalence of free range eggs at cafes and groceries in Sydney. Stopping at a grocery, all the eggs we could find were labelled free range, and they are what was offered at the cafes we’ve breakfasted at–an improvement over what we typically see at home in the States. Are the pro-chicken laws stricter in Australia? Is societal pressure for happier hens greater here?
Now might be a good time to remind us all that “free range” just means the hens must have access to the outdoors; they can still be kept at high density in a barn, and the label doesn’t have anything to do with what they’re fed.
Currently in the state of Queensland, Australia, for a farm to use the free range eggs label, the maximum number of hens per hectare (1 hectare is approximately 2.5 acres) is 10,000, with a density of 12 hens per square meter within a barn [cite]. Contrast that with the EU, where free range hen density is 2500 birds per hectare, with each hen getting at least four square meters of space in a barn [cite]. As bad as the Queensland limits seem, they’re better than the other Australian states, which have no legal definition at all for free range [cite]. Slightly better than the majority of Australia is the US: the USDA definition of free range is that the hens have access to the outdoors. There are no maximum density regulations [cite].
So, it seems Australia and the US are way behind the EU in terms of the legal requirements of the free range label. Fortunately, consumers in all three places are exerting increasing pressure on producers and legislators to improve the quality of life of laying hens. Kudos to the cafes in Surry Hills like Rainford Street Social that use only free range eggs! And, as always, it’s important to keep pushing for change using your dollars. According to Compassion in World Farming, the leading farm animal welfare charity:
The simplest thing you can do to help the hens that lay your eggs is to buy free-range.
We’re off to Perth tomorrow to inspect the egg situation there!