What is Free Range? Nobody knows…

A model code of practice exists for pigs raised indoors in Australia. It specifies that pigs weighing 120kg require less than one square metre each. This is atrocious! Such a tiny space for such a large animal. You wouldn’t keep a kitten confined to such a small area for any length of time.

There aren’t any guidelines for outdoor pigs, which is even more concerning because theoretically farmers could stock them in paddocks even more densely than the indoor pigs and still call them free range.

We as consumers have to blindly trust the labels that are put on pork products, assuming that what we are buying is as humane as we expect. Oftentimes this is not the case. In 2015 the ACCC found a number of Australian companies guilty of making false free range claims on their products. Worse still, some had been doing so for almost 15 years!!!

That was 15 years of us paying a premium for the same unethical product. The term “outdoor bred” now has to include “raised indoors on straw”, but this still makes it seem as though being raised indoors was a nice thing for the pigs.

outdoor_bred_straw
A label to look out for

Be careful when you’re shopping for pork and bacon. Make sure you’re getting proper free range from a company that isn’t trying to mislead us. Currently there isn’t really any way to tell from the labels whether the meat is truly free range or not, so I’ve found a few companies that we can trust.

  • Dawson Valley Free Range
  • Happy Valley Free Range Pty Ltd
  • Mayfield Farm Produce

If you buy pork supplied by any of these farms, you can be assured that you’re getting a quality product. We know that free range tastes better than factory farmed, so it’s important to make sure you’re paying the premium for a premium meat.

 

– Robin

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