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Exposed! Free Range
This week's #labelgames BS meat marketing term is...
Free Range means that chickens have "Access to the outdoors". Sounds reasonable, right? 99.99% of modern day conventional chicken is raised in what's called a 'grow house', a 600ft long x 40ft wide tunnel packed with 30,000-40,000 chickens. You've seen the photos. This is no different for "free range" operations. All the company has to do to qualify for this label is cut a door at the end of the grow house that gives the chicken "access" to go outside for more than 2 hours per day. Check out this photo:
Do you think even 10% of those birds would venture outside to a 10'x10' concrete pad? Not a chance. And it gets worse. These birds still need to be debeaked and because cannibalism runs rampant in these confinement operations. Antibiotics are used heavily (even if they are 'antibiotic-free'), and the whole host of animal welfare issues is still prevalent.
The data above is for egg production, but it's likely similar for meat birds as well. Economically, why wouldn't the big-ag chicken industry jump on this bandwagon? I can just imagine the board meeting - "So you're telling me we can cut a hole in our barns and get 40% of our sales to increase by over 60%? That's a no brainer!"
Hopefully, you guys know that when WE say free range - we mean what we say. That means our birds live outside, on pasture, 24 hours per day 7 days per week. No antibiotics, no GMO's, no pesticides or debeaking. Just good old fashioned chicken.
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