Recent comments by: Elizabeth

Agribuzz with David Leyonhjelm

John Newton - you rightly draw attention to the lack of consideration of animal welfare in this discussion . That stress on laying hens was found , on average , to be no different between all three local production systems ( cage,barn, free range ) is ignored. Stress varies widely in each different system - thus caged hens in some farms show less stress than those in some free range farms. Until the reasons this situation are elucidated, it is futile to quibble about free range . The following article illustrates that point "Fewer hens doesn’t always mean happier hens".
08/07/15 04:10 AM


The article (google) " Fewer hens doesn’t always mean happier hens" is pertinent to the subject of bird density in the range area. It's about time the welfare of the hens was considered in marketing eggs. We already know from local studies that no particular management system ( cage, barn, or range ) is on average superior to the others re. hen stress . Stress on the hens is readily measurable nowadays so it should be up to retailers like Woolworths to get eggs from enterprises that produce minimum stresses on the birds and market accordingly . Bird density alone is useless .
16/06/15 02:00 PM
All these words about free range definition but nary a word about what we should be doing to have low stress on our laying hens . Is stress on the hens at 1500/ha any less , more or the same as at 10000/ha ? Let's come clean . We don't know ! What we do know from recent local studies is that the stress levels are quite variable in all free range, barn and caged systems - some levels with caged are less than with free range and barn and vice-versa. No one system is shown on average to favour the hens. For the sake of the hens we should be trying to determine what the main stressors are.
09/06/15 09:31 AM
A lot of good points by the Greens. However, they would ban GM cotton even though it is better for the environment than its non-GM counterpart. The latter uses 3-4 times more chemical sprays and with worse chemicals. It also involves more soil disturbance by cultivation, its fuel energy use is greater as its incidence of industrial accidents. Sadly, in some areas the Greens are too ideologically driven to be able to apply common sense.
09/08/13 12:54 AM
Loc Hey - you were wrong about the toxicity of CO2 . Please, for the sake of our future generations , consider that you might also be wrong in thinking that Alan Jones is a cut above the overwhelming majority of both climate scientists and their non-climate colleagues in assessing climate matters.
02/07/12 09:44 AM
true grit - you have been unable to understand the point made in my comment. From that comment It can be deduced that CO2 is no problem if its level in air is <0.5% - obviously you did not grasp this.
The critical matter is that as the CO2 level rises the gas can become toxic and deadly at levels as low as 4%.
People need to know that to prevent deaths particularly those with using dry ice. The implication in the comment of Chemist that death would be due to lack of O2 rather than high CO2 is wrong. My plea is that people be alerted that CO2 can be dangerous and act accordingly.
02/08/11 11:47 PM
Chemist -- CO2 is a toxic gas and has killed many people - you are dangerously misleading some people when you write to the contrary . By law it is illegal to have workplace air containing more than 0.5% CO2 for 40hr week workers . Further, air with 4% CO2 is dangerous to life and health and that level will kill you stone dead when there is loads of oxygen present. We have to be very careful with solid CO2 (dry ice ) used for cooling. Left in a cool room or a closed room it can and often has leaked enough to produce a deadly air and killed.
Chemist - please retract your letter!
01/08/11 11:53 AM
You are right Brence to point to the leadership being shown by Oakeshott and Windsor -- they are prepared to rise above politics and political party considerations - as you put it they are not "shirking their duty to the nation, the planet and future generations".
The same can't be said for the savage critics of the proposed carbon plan. They fail to present a detailed alternative plan for examination and they seem mainly interested in pushing their own political barrows . It's time they stopped "shirking their duty" -the country is worthy of a better than
that from them.
13/07/11 12:21 AM
Perhaps many contributors to these columns need to prepare themselves for what is to come and stay . Carbon is going to be taxed starting before the next election . It will remain taxed because there is no way the Coalition will have a majority in the Senate to push through a bill to stop taxing carbon.
and in addition there are plenty in the Coalition that quietly support taxing carbon.
Funny we have a political party taking action that will cause them to lose votes . Can the pundits here enlighten me as to why this is so?
06/06/11 08:05 AM
Please stop your scaremongering about multinationals taking over seed supply and preventing farmers from sowing and selling their own seeds. This is arrant
Plant breeders have patents on any new cultivar they develop ( GM or non GM ).
These patents usually last for 20 years and after that time there are no restrictions on the use of those seeds - anyone can sow them and sell them. There is no way the multinationals or anyone else can control their supply.
Obviously all seeds available now will be out of patent in 20 years time and be available unrestricted then to farmers.
Plant breeders deserve some reward for the skill and effort they apply in developing better plants and the patent system provides this. Note that most plant breeders do not work for the large multinationals.
26/04/11 06:06 AM


You know blooper we have no overseas marketing problem with GM canola and its growers can exploit its advantages and do well financially . The organic people here want us to have a zero tolerance scenario which is different to the organics in the rest of the world where trace GM presence is okay . That zero tolerance approach cannot be justified on any grounds , health or otherwise , and should be put aside in organic certification.
21/08/14 12:16 AM
NSW Farmer rightly draws attention to the GM development of gluten free wheat . The anti-GM brigade could get themselves informed of the problems of coeliacs - they could google "500,000 of us are secret coeliacs: Only 24% of people who have condition are diagnosed" . Consistent with their previous ideological attitudes the brigade shows no compassion for those with problems that GM technology could minimize - they should be able to do better than that but seem unable to do so . There would be a large local and international market for GM gluten wheat just as there is for GM insulin
11/06/14 08:46 AM
Obviously Golden Rice is not the complete answer to vit A deficiency blindness and death but it can provide a sustainable solution to part of the problem . Deliberately delaying its testing and introduction means unnecessarily allowing some children to go blind or die . Sadly , that does not seem to be understood by the anti-GM brigade . John Newton - your values for the vit A in GR are too low .Google "b-Carotene in Golden Rice is as good as b-carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children". This shows that only 50g dry GR rice would provide about 60% of the vit A need of the 7 year old
25/08/13 10:36 AM
Fran Murrell just seems to want to shoot the messengers because she doesn't like the messages. To her, the persons who wrote the paper and the editors of the journal publishing it are unreliable and acted unbefittingly to serve the interests of the company hence can be dismissed. Actually the paper just updates their earlier paper "Global impact of biotech crops: socio-economic effects 1996-2007" which was not paid for by Monsanto. Fran also fails to point out that Chuck Benbrook was Chief Scientist for The Organic Center from 2004 until 2012.
14/05/13 01:05 PM
Australia needs more young agricultural scientists like Eliza and Lachlan and it needs to spend more on agricultural research. We need these to hold on to our market share of ag products. We also need these to develop techniques that can help poorer countries needing to produce more food. Bob Phelps always knocks GM technology this time on the basis that globally the world already has plenty of food so GM is not needed . To be intellectually consistent he would also be pushing for termination of other(viz. non-GM ) plant breeding work - we already have enough food globally !!
06/07/12 02:29 AM


The overwhelming majority of us should be realists and accept that science basic to the AGW theory is too complex for us to fully understand Hence in developing our opinions we have to rely on those with appropriate training, background and time to analyse the situation . That group would not include David Evans . He has to be seen as a mathematician/engineer rather than a climate science expert and one unwilling to submit his climate concepts to a scientiific journal for appropriate scrutiny. One could also ponder his business partnership with spouse skeptics blogger Jo Nova
03/08/12 02:20 AM
Your comment on patent rights, Shirley, indicates that you would be happy if the amount of breeding done to improve the disease, drought etc resistance , soil nutrient use efficiency as well as nutritive value of crop plants were reduced. Well most would not agree with you. The patent rights apply to all plants GM bred or bred conventionally Abolish the patent rights and most ( firms, uni’s, gov’t depts. individuals) would get out of plant breeding ) – they are not going to apply diligently their expertise for no reward.
03/06/12 12:17 PM


Hi David - your statement "There are still issues with stress" sums things up well. However, we should do something about this so that we can minimize the stress , hence the need for research on the problem . We can't just forget about it . Basic to that is the need to fully understand some existing situations such as why you can have low hen stress in some caged hen farms and why high stress can prevail in some free range farms . Firms like Woolworths could finally do something useful by providing funds for studies on hen layer stress but I doubt they would.
31/10/14 12:51 AM
It is time that research was directed to determining the factors causing hens' stress. When these are understood we can introduce management systems for stress control. At the moment we place too much emphasis on systems WE think are low or low stress and assume, sometimes wrongly, that the hens thinks like us. It seems that large commercial bodies are now involved in affecting the marketing etc of free-range eggs etc. they should do the decent thing and finance the appropriate research that is needed. What they are doing is not achieving anything for the welfare of the hens.
28/10/14 02:37 AM


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