The truth behind cage-free
Not sure about yours, but my Facebook feed has been flooded with this photo lately.
Since it's important to me to help my friends, family, and customers navigate ethical and sustainable food practices I wanted to address it.
I am obviously a meat eater, but I wasn't always a farmer. It was photos like this that had me pestering Jay with question after question about factory farming conditions....
In my opinion this photo is misleading. Not all farms who consider themselves cage free or free run look like the above. We for instance look nothing like that when in fact during bad weather conditions, when the chickens are too young to brave the outdoors, and during hours when predator attacks are more prevalent, we are a free run facility.
But, we don't look like that! Our barn is large in comparison to the number of birds we raise each time. Our birds get well over 2 square feet of space each when inside the barn. They have thick and clean bedding to make sure they don't get cold and that they don't catch any diseases. They also get natural light in our barn. As an antibiotic free farm we cannot afford to take the risk of packing the barn full - nor would we ever want to do that - because conditions like the top photo promote disease in a flock. Then, whenever possible our birds are given pasture access so they can come and go as they please.
Now does the above ring true of some cage-free farms? Yes, it does.
But, it's also true that there's no one governing the use of the term pasture raised. There is no legal definition on any of the terms - cage-free, free-run, or pasture raised - in Canada. So that 'Pasture Raised' farm might not have the conditions you imagine in your head either.
So why do I share this with you?
Because I want you to KNOW YOUR FARMER! That is truly the only way to KNOW YOUR FOOD!
Follow their social media. Do they take the time to explain HOW they farm? Do they SHOW you photos of their animals' living conditions? Do they put themselves out there to be held accountable? They should and if they don't, ask questions.
We want you to ask us what happens if we get a sick animal. We want you to see where our pigs live. THIS is why I started this journey in the first place!
Kendall ~ The chick behind Central Park Farms