Free Range Chicken-The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
On this site we try to only list companies that raise animals naturally and don’t adhere to the minimum standards (barely) as set by the government but instead take pleasure in providing great environments for their farm animals. But at the same time we are logical in our approach and know that it will take a while for the food industry to be completely revolutionized and for things to be the way we want them. So we list companies that we know aren’t perfect, for example free range eggs from chickens that don’t really go outside the barn but at least aren’t raised in cages and have a bit more space and fresh air and natural light. Not great, but better than cage raised and in some cases this is the best that people’s budgets allow for. So we don’t condemn suppliers for not being “perfect” we still list them, because we need to start somewhere. It is our sincere hope that this website can help to FOCUS people’s attentions on the plight of non free range animal products, and gradually guide them from the ugly products to the bad products to the good products.
Astral Poultry supplies many of the big retailers – Pick n Pay, Checkers etc. They have the Festive brand, Goldi, County Fair and then there is their free range offering, Mountain Valley. A while ago I interviewed their Operations Manager to find out how the free range chickens fared in comparison to their other offerings and their standard of living is a little bit better. They have more space and there is an outside pasture area. But many people complain (rightly so) that even with more space the free range standards are still not that great and sometimes the chickens won’t go outside because they either find it difficult to shove their way through the crowds or they don’t want to leave their food and water for fear of missing out.
Yet if people were encouraged to support free range wherever possible, even when the chickens are not that free, it allows people to unite and use their economic buying power. If we all stop buying non free range then these large corporations such as Astral Poultry will have to expand their free range operations to meet the increased demand. And that is how you improve lives – little bit by little bit and not getting frustrated because things aren’t immediately perfect. To see the best example currently of free range egg farming, check out Farmer Angus on this site.
So thank you for supporting free range and continue to buy the best quality that you can find and afford and slowly, together, we will revolutionize the free range and organic food industry.