What's it like behind-the-scenes for true free-range farming? Here we showcase some positive alternatives that look after the animals involved - avoiding the conventional factory-farming model and going beyond the industry code (now legal).
> click the pic for main talk, and links below for more
The Steeles believe that happy chooks lay the best eggs, and the Isa Browns behind their business Egganic are living, laying proof of this. From their 16-hectare farm at Forest Reefs in Central Western NSW, the Steele’s run about 2500 truly free-range chooks. They lay and roost in custom-made mobile chook sheds and roam and scratch freely, just like chooks should. And all of this takes place under the watchful eyes of the Steele’s Maremma guard dogs. (text from article)Website » Meet the farmers article »
Tammi and family raise rare-breed Large Black pigs on 69 acres of volcanic paddocks just outside Daylesford, Victoria. They sell ethically raised pork through a delivery box system. This video is from their 2013 successful crowd-sourcing campaign to develop an on-site butchery. See her blog on food ethics (I am what I eat, you are what I feed you) and her engaging story - the journey from vegetarian academic to pig farming butcher.Website » Tammi's blog » Her story » Heraldsun article »
Passionate 14-year-old Angelina Popovski of Alphington launched a change.org campaign in March this year to encourage Aldi Australia to stop selling cage eggs. The petition quickly gained the support of animal welfare group Animals Australia and reached almost 100,000 signatures in just two months, with Aldi committing to go cage-free by 2025. (The video is of ALDi customers during the campaign).Petition » Leader news article » Interview »
Josh has been running his business since he was 9 years old, rearing chickens and selling their free-range, organic eggs. The name Rainbow Eggs came about when a customer was surprised to see brown, green, white, blue and pink eggs in a box. It was a natural fit for Josh's fledging organic egg business on his family's farm in the Macedon Ranges, Victoria. He's now 16.Josh's Rainbow Eggs » Heraldsun article »
The new legal legal definition of "free-range eggs" see a stocking density of up to 10,000 hens per hectare. The announcement is a loss for consumer and animal welfare advocates who support the CSIRO Model Code of Practice, which sets the limit at 1500 hens per hectare. (SMH, March 2016)
Flavour Crusader have an Alternative directory to help you find local, small scale pastured and free-range eggs and free-range pork producers in your state.
Also see Choice's Free-range eggs buying guide, which show which brands meet the model code of 1500 hens per hectare. You can also download their great CluckAR app with the same information.
"When you think of free-range animals, does it conjure up images of happy cows, pigs, sheep or chickens, living as close to nature as possible? Sadly because of a lack of production and labelling standards in Australia, buying 'free-range' meat doesn't always mean animals are treated any better than their factory-farmed friends."
See this 2014 Choice article for more on what labels really mean.