Cage free eggs and free range chickens sound great, like chickens happily frolicking around barns and pastures. If I hear free range I think of chickens outdoors, dust-bathing, perching, and going after their normal instinctive behavior. Wouldn’t you too?
Unfortunately this is far from true in many cases – The use of these labels to avert animal cruelty concerns by the food industry are misleading in the following ways ~
(This information is from the Belsandia web site on healthy living)
CAGE FREE EGGS
This is what we THINK
cage free chickens look like.
Cage free simply means that thousands of chickens in one factory farm warehouse are no longer stuffed into small cages, but are now all held in one large area. They don’t have access to the outside, but they are allowed to walk and spread their wings, and to lay their eggs in nests. Conditions in these cage free pens are very overcrowded.
This is what cage free chickens
DO look like.
FREE RANGE or FREE ROAMING CHICKENS
The US Department of Agriculture requires that free range chickens used for meat have access to the outdoors. That sounds nice but unfortunately here are the guidelines that fall short of what we picture as free range chickens.
- Outdoor access can also mean a small hole in the warehouse to a tiny fenced-in lot with little or no vegetation. That alone would be good enough to comply with USDA rules.
- Further, the door to the outdoors could only be open for minutes in a day, and again, that would be good enough to be certified with the “free range” label.
“If you go to a free range farm and expect to see a bunch of chickens galloping around in pastures, you’re kidding yourself.”