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(AU) Duck producer in trouble over ads

CONSUMER authorities are suing Australia's largest duck producer after activists filmed its ''open range'' ducks crowded into dirty pens, some of them covered in faeces with their wing-stubs caught in metal grates.

Pepe's Ducks, which slaughters more than 70,000 birds each week and whose founder was the 2010 runner-up in the NSW Farmers Farmer of the Year competition, has been accused of false advertising by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

It objects to its use of the label ''grown nature's way'' and a picture of a duck walking across a lawn towards a pond, with hills in the distance. Emma Hurst, of Animal Liberation, applauded the ACCC for acting, but said the RSPCA should urgently investigate the welfare conditions at a leading Victorian supplier, Luv-a-Duck.

''There are equal concerns for the welfare of ducks that are kept at Luv-a-Duck,'' she said. ''We are seeing ducks on their backs, we're seeing ducks smattered with waste, and we are seeing issues such as crusty-eye, which is caused by the fact that the ducks can't dip their eyes in water, so the eye actually cakes over with dirt. They can't adequately clean themselves and that can lead to blindness.''

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