Update. August 2010

Walk the talk ...

With a federal election looming, there's lots of talk about what's important. Help put climate change and the wider impacts of our lifestyles on the agenda, and encourage our government and fellow politicians to do their bit to make a safe future for all of us.

Walk Against Warming 2010 - Sunday 15 August
For those in Melbourne, come to one of the 'walks' taking place in three key electorates. City center walk starts at 12.30pm at the City Square, Corner Swanston Street and Collins Street.

Find out more for events in your state at

Walk with the people, not the big polluters.

This Thursday ... join us for a love story

Michael Moore's movie, Capitalism: A love story will be screening at our next 'Meal & Movie' night, on this coming Thursday evening. We now have 'Meal & Movie' nights running in Melbourne on the 2nd Thursday of each month in the west, and also the 3rd Friday of each month in the east. Let us know if you'd like to host a regular night in your local area.

>> Dinner 6.30 - 7.30pm - byo 'food and thoughts' to share >> movie 8pm - 10.30pm.

Out West -
Neesh & Shaun's place, Yarraville

Thursday 12th August - Capitalism: A love story
Is captialism the only way? Is it the best way? Looking at the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and the recovery stimulus, this film explores the disastrous impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans and the consequences of "runaway greed".
>> RSVP to Nick nick@ethical.org.au or 0417 114 492

Next month - 9th September - screening The End of Suburbia, focus on peak oil.

Out East - Wendy's place, Blackburn 

Friday 20th August, Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba's economy went into a tailspin. Imports of oil were cut by more than half and food by 80 percent. This film tells of Cuba's transition from a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local, urban gardens. A practical example of options and hope for our time.
>> RSVP to Wendy - qblhome @ hotmail.com or ph: 9878 7897

Next month - 17th September - screening King Corn, a road movie about subsidised food

>> Find out more about Meal & Movie nights

Palm Oil News....

Who is Wilmar?
Not a common household name (unless you're thinking of a Flintstone), but likely to be behind the palm oil in many of the products on your pantry shelf. Palm oil is found in 1 in 10 supermarket products including chocolate, cosmetics, chips, margarine and soaps. It has recently been deemed a potential saviour as a renewable resource for use as a biofuel. more

Wilmar International Ltd is a Singapore-based agribusiness and is the world's largest palm oil trader. Wilmar owns over 500,000 hectares of land - mainly in Indonesia, with the majority of this yet to be cleared for palm plantations. Wilmar has been criticised for illegally logging rainforests and violating the rights of local communities in Indonesia. more Wilmar is also presently being investiged regarding tax payments more .

Wilmar buys CSR Sugar
Last Month, after a 150 year history in sugar, CSR Ltd agreed to sell its sugar division, Sucrogen, to Wilmar for $1.75 billion. more.

Fonterra criticisied
New Zealands's largest dairy company, Fonterra, has been criticised by Greenpeace International for importing palm kernel animal feed to supplement grass. This marks a distinct change in dairying from
pastoral to industrial. Fonterra’s half owned subsidiary RD1 has joined forces with Wilmar to import this palm-based animal feed. For Fonterra's profile and Greenpeace's criticisms more. Fonterra markets brands such as Bodalla & Mainland Cheese, Allowrie &. Western Star Butter, and Ski Yoghurt.

Free Range Eggs - in the spotlight ...

In the light of a recent article in the Age (27th June) outlining suggested changes to the definition of free-range eggs lifting the maximum number of hens in a per hectare area from 1,500 to up to 20,000, I thought it would be good to give some comparison of the present labelling of eggs in relation to hen welfare.

Cage Eggs Hens are housed in battery cages. This is the production method for convential egg farming. The current minimum space allocation for caged birds is 450cm2 floor space per bird (less than the size of a piece of A4 paper). With on average 3- 5 birds per cage, this equals about 18 hens per square metre.The small size of cages means that birds are unable to turn around easily, stretch out, flap their wings or exercise. Cages do not satisfy the hen’s behavioural need to perch, dust bathe, forage, and lay their eggs in a secluded nest. Beaks are trimmed to prevent canabilism.

In 2008, the European Union announced a ban on conventional battery cages to come into effect from 2012.(Directive 1999/74/EC). This will mean 'Enriched' cages must allow at least 750 cm2 per hen, and contain a nest, litter, perch and clawing-board. This is equal to 9 hens per square metre.


Barn-laid Eggs Hens are housed in a large barn or shed, which contains perching facilities, litter, nest boxes, feeders and drinkers. Most barns have around one-third of the floor space covered with litter that allows for scratching and dust bathing. Flocks may be small (500 birds) or large (5000 birds or more). Conventional barns house 12-15 hens per square metre.. The RSPCA-accredited barn-housed hens ('Choose Wisely' branding) house 7 hens per square metre.

Free-range eggs In Australia, there is presently no binding legal definition for 'free -range', only voluntary standards. The understanding is that Free-range eggs come from hens that have access to an outdoor area during the day, and at night are kept in sheds or barns. Three voluntary certifications that have documented standards are:


(1) FREPA (Free Range Egg & Poultry Australia). 7 hens per square metre. Farms are inspected annually, hens have access to pasture and water, do not lay under lights, and are not debeaked.

(2) Organic certification. BFA ( Biological Farmers of Australia) guarentee birds are fed organic grain, are free from pesticides, chemical fertilisers and antibiotics, with maximum of 5 hens per square.

(3) Australian Egg Corporation 'Egg Corp Assured', which represents 90% of producers, code of practice for animal welfare as part of their quality assurance scheme has 14 hens per square, and 'access' to outside. Allows beak trimming . Recipients of Choice’s 2008 "Shonky Awards"

>If you're wanting to buy 'Free-Range' with hen welfare in mind, look for FREPA or Certified Organic.
>See more at 'Free range eggs not all they're cracked up to be' Choice article.
>Sign the Humane Society petition.to see animal welfare standards tightened up.
>Sign the Animals Australia perition to major national retailers, Coles and Woolworths.

Our news ....

Shop Ethical! iPhone app v1.2 The first major update of our popular Shop Ethical! iPhone app has just been released. This is a free update for all Shop Ethical! owners.

The Ethical Consumer Guide joins facebook Come and join the conversation at our new facebook page. www.facebook.com/ethicalshopper


Upcoming workshops ...

Thursday 19 August, 7.30 - 9.30pm >> Sustainable Shopping presentation, Kew East
Saturday 21st August, 10am - 12.30pm >> Knox Library Supermarket tour, Knox City
Wednesday 25 August, 7 - 9pm >> Healthy Homes & pesticides presentation, Footscray
Thursday 26th August, 6pm – 8.30pm >> Public workshop & Supermarket tour,Footscray

Register online here .


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To view this newsletter online go to www.ethical.org.au/newsletters/august2010.htm