I love chickens. So I've been doing a little research on "free range," and I've discovered it's important to do you homework. In the United States, we have a lot of catching up to do. According to Wikipedia:
"The USDA has no specific definition for "free-range" beef, pork, and other non-poultry products. All USDA definitions of "free-range" refer specifically to poultry. No other criteria-such as the size of the range or the amount of space given to each animal-are required before beef, lamb, and pork can be called "free-range". Claims and labeling using "free range" are therefore unregulated. The USDA relies "upon producer testimonials to support the accuracy of these claims."
Whereas in Europe:
"The European Union regulates marketing standards for egg farming which specifies the following (cumulative) minimum conditions for Free range method:
- Hens have continuous daytime access to open-air runs, except in the case of temporary restrictions imposed by veterinary authorities,
- The open-air runs to which hens have access is mainly covered with vegetation and not used for other purposes except for orchards, woodland and livestock grazing if the latter is authorised by the competent authorities.
Let's do our part to make this country a happy place for chickens!
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