What the Duck is Going On?

duckphoto

Duck has become increasingly available in recent years. With the rising popularity of eating a range of foods from many different cultures across the world, duck has become far more accessible.

But have you ever wondered about the origins of the duck you’re eating?

While chicken has been a focus in the media (caged, barn, free range and organic) duck has largely escaped the spotlight. Little do consumers know that two of Australia’s largest duck producers have had actions taken against them by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in the last few years.

Pepe’s Ducks produces approximately 40% of Australian duck meat. Combined with Luv-a-Duck (LaD), the two companies produce the vast majority of the meat in this country. Nine million ducks are slaughtered each year, with turnover of the industry over $100,000,000 AUD.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation provided a story on the duck industry in 2012, with a focus on Pepe’s Ducks (more info from the ACCC investigation here). You can see the full story on the 7:30 report, here. The video shows a number of ducks that are unable to stand up, have fallen through gates, or are dirty. While the producer claims that these were one-off incidents, Animal Liberation claimed otherwise.

The problems for the animals are that “without water to immerse their heads in, they are unable to keep their eyes, nostrils and feathers clean. Dirt, dust, and faeces can build up leading to crusty eye and sometimes even blindness.”

In 2013, the ACCC took action against Luv-a-Duck, with their corrective notice included below:

Following action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Federal Court of Australia has declared that Luv-a-Duck Pty Ltd (LaD) contravened the Australian Consumer Law, being Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (ACL), by engaging in false, misleading and deceptive conduct.

 

LaD stated that its ducks were ‘range reared’ and ‘grown and grain fed in the spacious Victorian Wimmera Wheatlands’, and made other promotional statements of a similar nature.

 

The Court has declared that LaD’s conduct contravened the ACL because the following representations it made were false, misleading and deceptive:

1. LaD represented by statements used on its packaging, its website and in brochures that the products it sold were:

a. processed from ducks that spent at least a substantial amount of their time outdoors;

b. processed from ducks that that were grown in a spacious outdoor environment;

c. of a different quality than products processed from barn-raised ducks;

when in fact the ducks grown by Luv-a-Duck did not spend any of their time outside of their barn.

By no means should you refrain from consuming duck. Duck is some of the nicest meat when the birds have been treated humanely and the meat cooked properly. Just try to support those producers who are able to care more for each animal.

One producer that appears to produce happy, healthy ducks for meat is Jum Jum Farm in New South Wales. Clearly the birds at this property fare much better. And it’s always nice to end a story with a happy ending!

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