Friday, May 17, 2019

Why you SHOULDN'T buy free-range eggs: Top vet says chickens prefer tight spaces and some don't like going outdoors

Free-range egg farming can actually be worse for chickens than being kept indoors, veterinarians have revealed. 

The shift from caged eggs to free-range has become more widespread in recent years based on the idea that the latter is the more ethical and animal-friendly choice.

However, Australian vets have debunked that myth, revealing free range can actually be harmful to chickens and cause welfare problems.

Dr Charles Milne, a chief vet from Victoria, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the birds, who are related to forest-dwellers, are more comfortable in closed spaces.

He said humans have assumed chickens prefer wide open spaces, only because they live in such a way.

RSPCA scientific officer Dr Kate Hartcher also agreed that chickens could live happily and healthily even if they are kept indoors. 'We don't say free-range is better,' she said. 'They can be perfectly healthy and have good welfare in an indoor system.'

However, the organisation maintains battery cages, the most controversial of chicken-keeping methods, are 'horrible', and endorse cage-free barn systems.

Cage-free eggs differ from free-range as the chickens are kept indoors, but they are not confined to tight and crowded spaces.

Figures show, however, these types of eggs make up only a small percentage of the ones sold at supermarkets.

In 2018, 45 per cent of all eggs sold in Australia were free-range - more than a 13 per cent increase from previous years.

In order for eggs to be sold with a free-range label, farmers must keep them in an outdoor range, have a stocking density of 10,000 hens or less per hectare,  according to ACCC guidelines.

But researches say being able to roam free isn't all that appealing to hens and it can even put them in predators' way. 

Professor Tamsyn Crowley, who runs research institute PoultryHub told SMH that having them outside all every day is 'not a good decision for welfare'. 'A chicken does not really like running around in a field where an eagle can come down and go "thank-you very much"', she said. 

In fact, she suggests it is more likely they would prefer to be cared for inside a bar as studies show the birds like shaded areas, indoor or outdoor.


School suspensions not always bad

Schools should have high expectations for student behaviour. And the harsh reality is that this sometimes requires student detentions, suspensions, and expulsions.

Queensland government schools last year were reported to have had a 12% increase in students being suspended or expelled. In response, the Queensland education minister Grace Grace said this shows the government’s aim to foster a more positive school environment is working.

The minister’s approach should be commended — especially since behaviour management (and clear consequences for misbehaviour) went out of fashion in many education circles decades ago.

It is true that students who are suspended from school tend to have worse outcomes later on, but how much of this is just correlation rather than causation?

There is a tendency to criticise schools when they suspend or expel students for serious incidents of misbehaviour. The instinctive response is to blame teachers for not sufficiently ‘engaging’ the students, and teachers are told they should focus on understanding the reasons for student disruption.

But this ignores the fact that children often make irrational decisions, and take many years to acquire an adequate moral framework and impulse control. This happens regardless of how well they’re taught or how ‘engaging’ the lessons are.

If a school culture is too permissive, misbehaving students will not learn to improve their conduct and will undermine the academic outcomes of other students. Discipline is a key ingredient of success for all schools, including those with disadvantaged students.

And according to the international datasets, Australia’s school system is among the worst in the OECD for student behaviour. So focussing on discipline is potentially a way of improving school productivity in Australia.

Maybe the major parties should think about that before spending billions more taxpayer dollars on schooling.



Three current articles below

Australian Greens hate Israel

With all the excitement about Australia being in the Eurovision grand final, it’s worth recalling that last May Lee Rhiannon, a Greens senator at the time, pressured then SBS managing director Michael Ebeid to drop its broadcast because it would be held in Tel Aviv and therefore “could impact on Palestinians”.

Rhiannon, who was sitting on the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications, melodramatically told the committee it “could actually impact on who lives and who dies”.

The Greens’ candidate for the eastern Sydney seat of Kingsford Smith, James Cruz, has tweeted his own call to boycott Eurovision in Israel.

Rhiannon’s replacement in the Senate, Mehreen Faruqi, has spent her first few months in federal parliament appearing at events hosted by Palestine Action Group Sydney, an organiser of the Eurovision boycott.

Ebeid dismissed Rhiannon’s calls for a boycott: “The whole point of Eurovision is to forget politics, forget all of that and unite communities and countries together in the spirit of song.” But for so many Greens, when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians, nothing is beyond politics.

Moreover, with recent reports of Greens candidates outed as supporters of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel — despite it not being official Greens policy — we are entitled to ask whether the Greens are a party that cynically says one thing but does another.

Many Greens politicians and activists openly support BDS. This disingenuous shell game has allowed the Greens to portray themselves as environmentalists and social justice crusaders while providing a safe space for obsessive Israel-haters.

In the eyes of your local Greens candidate, support for Israel could lead to your complete political disenfranchisement. In the previous election, Greens candidate for Melbourne Ports Steph Hodgins-May buckled to political pressure from far-left sources and withdrew from a candidates’ debate for the Jewish community because Zionism Victoria co-sponsored the event. Yet she had no such qualms attending an election forum by the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network. Can such a candidate claim to be prepared to represent an entire electorate?

In 2015 Greens leader Richard Di Natale recognised Israel as a Jewish state, only to walk back that recognition shortly afterwards, and tactlessly used a condolence motion in the Senate to bash former Israeli president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres.

In 2017, Di Natale called for a debate in Australia about “appropriate” economic sanctions against Israel, adding that all military trade between Australia and Israel “has to stop”.

Also that year, the federal Greens refused to condemn the NSW Young Greens after they announced their official policy to boycott Jewish students.

Last year, the acting deputy leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt, removed from his social media a caricature of a banker that mirrored Nazi caricatures of hook-nosed Jews. His spokesman meekly apologised for “any offence caused”.

The record has shown that virulent animus towards Israel — venturing far beyond the confines of official party policy — is not something limited to a single politician, candidate or state branch. It is pervasive among Greens because activists know the party will not censure them.

We all lose from such political game-playing. BDS undermines Australian interests, not only in seeking peace for the region but also in our trade with Israel, our democratic ally and among the world’s foremost hubs for technological innovation.

The Greens party propagates on its website the views of Hiba El-Farra, whose articles speak not of an occupation that began in 1967 but in 1948. Indeed, Israel’s entire existence since its establishment is portrayed as continuous “occupation”.

El-Farra’s vision of peace unequivocally demands a Palestinian “right of return” to Israel and not a separate Palestinian state, and does not allow for the existence of Israel as the Jewish national home.

Such are the views marketed on the Greens’ website, and it matters little that the post is tagged as “opinion” that is “not official policy of Greens WA”. The fact is the website does not publish views that deviate far from the maximalist Palestinian narrative that is antithetical to peace.

Yet not only is the Greens’ one-sided policy against Israel out of step with Australian interests, it contradicts the party’s platform when it comes to the environment, LGBTQ and gender equality issues, anti-Islamophobia, religious tolerance, democratic freedom and indigenous rights.

On these and other progressive issues, especially compared with its regional neighbours, Israel stands alone as a beacon of liberal values the Greens claim to hold so dear.

A political party that aspires to compete on centre stage with the Coalition and ALP, the Greens must avoid reducing this complex issue to black and white absolutes, and ensure it practises what it preaches regarding two states for two peoples.


Basic facts taught at school undermine the Warmist gospel

Bill Shorten and his allies, the Greens economic vandals, believe climate change is a moral issue. So is telling the truth.

With his elite private school education, the Oppo­s­i­tion Leader would have learned about the Roman Warming, the Dark Ages, the Medieval Warming and the Little Ice Age. These took place before industrialisation and were all driven by changes in the sun. He would have learned that ­natural warm times, like now, bring great prosperity, increased longevity and less disease, whereas Jack Frost brings death, depopulation and economic stresses.

In biology, the Labor leader would have learned of Darwinism and environmental adapta­tion of species. Humans live on ice and in the hills, valleys, tropics and des­erts, at altitude and on coastal plains. Like countless other organ­isms, we move and adapt when the environment changes. Species thrive when it is warm.

From his education at a relig­ious school, he would have learned about the apostle Thomas. One of the strengths of our Western civilisation is doubt and scepticism. Surely Shorten does not believe the catastrophism promoted by green activists and self-interested alleged experts at the expense of the nation. If he does, he is unelectable.

If he is knowingly promoting a falsehood, he is unelectable. Critical thinking was fundamental to our culture and should be embraced in policy formulation. In school science, Shorten would have learned carbon dioxide is the food of life and without this natural gas, which occurs in space and all planets, there would be no life.

He also would understand from his maths lessons that when 3 per cent of total annual global emissions of carbon dioxide are from humans and Australia prod­uces 1.3 per cent of this 3 per cent, then no amount of emissions reductio­n here will have any effect on global climate.

A quick search would show him that whenever in the past there was an explosion of plant life, the carbon dioxide content was far higher than at present. If we halve the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere, all life dies.

Shorten should know that for thousands of millions of years the Earth has been changing, with cycles­ and one-off events such as an asteroid impact, super-volcano or a supernova explosion.

He should know that climate always changes and that the planet would be in serious trouble if it did not. There are cycles of air, water, rocks and continents. There are measurable cycles with the sun, Earth’s orbit, oceans and moon that drive climate change, especially if cycles coincide. It has yet to be demonstrated that the climate change today is any different from those of the past.

Despite hundreds of billions of dollars of expenditure during the past few decades, it still has not been shown that human emissions of carbon dioxide drive ­global warming. Yet wind and solar industrial complexes pepper the landscape allegedly to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

They run on subsidies, not the wind or the sun. Wind and solar are transfering money from the poor to the rich, not saving the environment. These subsidies, paid by the long-suffering consumer and employer, add to emissions because coal-fired elec­tricity needs to be on standby for when there is no wind or sunshine.

The amount of energy used to construct solar and wind facilities is greater than they produce in their working lives. The amount of carbon dioxide released during construction and maintenance is far more than is saved. Renew­ables such as wind turbines are environmentally disastrous because they pollute a huge land area, slice and dice birds and bats, kill insects that are bird food, create health problems for humans who live within kilometres of them, leave toxins around the turbine site and despoil the landscape.

Union superannuation funds have invested massively in renewable energy. Labor’s promise of 50 per cent renewables will cost electricity consumers hundreds of billions but will benefit the unions.

As soon as renewables were introduced into the grid, electric­ity prices increased and delivery became unreliable. Increased elec­tric­ity costs have created unemployment, and many pensioners and the poor cannot afford electricity. An increase in renewables will make matters worse.

Does Shorten’s energy policy consider those who lose jobs and have the power cut off in his race to achieve 50 per cent renewables to fill the pockets of Labor union mates? And what about the scams siphoning off tens of billions that slosh around the world as carbon credits, carbon trading and renewable energy certificates? Rather than take this money from the poor via higher electricity prices, it would be better spent at home.

To smugly claim that valid questions about energy costs are dumb or deceitful is a loud warning bell. Shorten refuses to tell us how he will spend our money or to give any detail on energy ­systems that are proven failures. It is our money and, if he will not give us the financial details, we should be very scared of his shiftiness. I have never written a blank cheque for a used car. Why should I now?

Emeritus professor Ian Plimer’s latest book, The Climate Change Delusion and the Great Electricity Ripoff, is published by Connor Court.


Greens plan is an arrow to the heart of free speech and the welfare of the poor

If you have lots of money stashed away, go your hardest. Vote 1 Greens. But don’t expect to get richer under Green policies. Your kids won’t enjoy the same cashed-up lifestyle as you either. And as for the poor, they simply cannot afford to vote Green.

Who votes for the Greens matters because Green votes in the Senate will determine policies in a Shorten government. The Greens are beholden to a voting base that is, historically, far more demographically and ideologically ­defined than the earlier balance-of-power party, the Australian Democrats, or today’s minor parties, be it Pauline Hanson’s One Nation or Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party.

Roy Morgan’s latest State of the Nation report for Saturday’s election details the depth of self-indulgence behind the Greens’ voting base.

The Greens attract voters from the highest socio-economic quintiles: 31 per cent of people in the AB quintile and 24 per cent in the C quintile, meaning people with the fattest incomes, the best jobs and the highest level of education.

Forget the baloney about the Liberals representing the top end of town.

Fully one-third of Australians in the cushiest socio-economic groups vote Greens. These smartypants voters with univer­sity educations imagine they are helping the poor by voting Greens. But their paternalism is not simply empty virtue-signalling. Worse than parading their faux morality, those who vote Greens are wrecking the chances of the poor to get rich. So, strike out every mention of “aspirational”, “a decent life,” “economic injustice”, “being a good economic manager”, “a fairer society” from the Greens’ campaign statements. These claims are monumental frauds.

The poor, those who do not vote for the Greens, know something many rich people do not. Those with less education understand that the Greens’ plan to ban thermal coal by 2030 and phase out coking coal too is economic suicide. In 2018, coal was our highest export earner, $66 billion last financial year, and $35.7bn coming from Queensland. Where will the Greens find an additional $66bn each year to provide education, health and support to the neediest Australians? Their policy of a “super profits” tax on mining companies won’t raise money when exports are shut down and company profits dry up. You don’t need an arts degree or even a PhD to work out that equation.

With pretensions to government, the Greens have not come up with an alternative to the coking coal needed to make steel, along with iron ore. And yet apparently highly educated Australians will vote for the economic nonsense of a green ban on coal on Saturday. The Adani coalmine, a creator of jobs in far north Queensland but bitterly opposed by inner-city Greens voters with nice jobs, is the defining parable about the fraud of voting Greens.

Poorer Australians understand that higher taxes, even on the rich, will not help the poor get rich. That’s why a fraction of the bottom quintile of Australian voters vote Greens, their group the only one not to rise on 2010 numbers.

And, in a sign perhaps those well-heeled doctors’ wives are on the march, women are more easily duped by promises of nirvana than men; the Greens attract 59 per cent of their support from women, up from 54 per cent since the 2010 election.

Support from men has dropped off, according to Roy Morgan polling, down to 41 per cent from 46 per cent when the Greens joined with Julia Gillard’s Labor minority government.

The disconnect of Greens voters has grown worse in the past eight years. Seventy-two per cent of Greens supporters, up from 65 per cent in 2010, live in capital cities where they will rarely face the reality of sprawling immigration, unemployment in the regions or missing infrastructure links. The Greens are not just reckless economy wreckers. They have their sights on killing our culture too. In video of a speech delivered in Melbourne in March, Greens leader Richard Di Natale said he wants new laws that make it a crime to engage in hate speech, taking specific aim at those who analyse Greens policies the most.

“We’re going to make sure that we’ve got laws that regulate our media so that people like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones and Chris Kenny … if they want to use hate speech to divide the community then they’re going to be held to account,” Di Natale said.

Di Natale’s plan will kill a free and independent media in Australia. Hate speech will become the new thoughtcrimes of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, a highly subjective, legal weapon to be aimed at those who say things you hate.

And don’t imagine he won’t find support from the party that comes to power with Greens preferences. The Gillard Labor government tried to regulate the free press in Australia in 2013, bolstered by then Greens leader Christine Milne who wanted a “fit and proper” test giving government more power to control the media. Stephen Conroy wanted the package pushed through before the 2013 election.

While the policy was ditched that year, the entrenchment of “hate speech” as an acceptable limit on freedom means the task of fighting for freedom of expression will be harder today than it was six years ago.

Don’t take my word for it. Last week, Di Natale was interviewed on the ABC on two occasions, first by Sabra Lane on AM, the ABC’s premier radio analysis program. Di Natale repeated his radical plan to regulate the media in his quest to “hold to account” journalists at News Corp. Lane’s uninterested response was: “You’ve made the point. We need to move on.”

Move on? What, nothing to see here? Leigh Sales had interviewed Di Natale the previous night on 7.30 and failed to question Di Natale about his radical policy to alter our liberal freedoms.

When the ABC’s premier political analysts don’t bother to analyse a policy that would control media output, it’s worth asking why. Critiquing Di Natale’s plan is not about defending News Corp. It is about defending freedom of the press, a core value in a liberal democracy.

The ABC does that a lot when unloading on US President Donald Trump for his attacks on the media. Why is the public broadcaster silent about a far more radical policy on the home front to shut down voices in the Australian media? Could it be that the ABC hosts are more likely to vote Greens? They certainly fit the demographic pattern of Greens voters, namely rich and well-educated city slickers.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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