Ms Thomas-Wurth has called on consumers to have a close look at free range labels and boycott eggs that cause suffering to hens.
“I am truly outraged at the new guidelines the Government has rammed through, determining what may be called free range,” she said.
Egg producers can now stock 10,000 hens per hectare with only access to an outside environment, which could be a small opening in a huge barn and will be allowed to call this free range.
“The standard does not require that chickens are outdoors at all,” Ms Thomas-Wurth said.
“This is not good enough. People who purchase free range eggs do so with an expectation of improved animal welfare.”
Ms Thomas-Wurth said the new standard was a massive fail for any kind of meaningful truth in the labelling of eggs.
“It merely intensifies a system of egg production which is in reality legalised animal cruelty,” she said.
Federal, State and Territory consumer affairs ministers announced the new standard last month to provide better information for consumers and certainty for farmers to help encourage innovation and investment in the industry.
Federal Small Business Minister Kelly O’Dwyer said there was previously no single national definition of free range eggs.
“The new information standard will require hens to have meaningful and regular access to the outdoors, with outdoor stocking of no more than one hen per square metre,” Ms O’Dwyer said.
“Farmers of free range eggs will also be required to prominently disclose their outdoor stocking density of their hens, allowing consumers to easily choose their preference.