Eat healthy! Buy Organic! Choose humane slaughter! Eat cage free or free range! Anyone who has turned on a television in the last ten years, opened a newspaper, or spoken to another human being has probably been bombarded by these requests at some point. One large push for consumers is to do the right thing by purchasing cage-free chickens or free-range eggs. Unfortunately, the ideas that most individuals have of free-range, are much different from the reality.
For most, the image of free range is of chickens roaming free on a large patch of land, casually wondering into an open coupe with areas perfect for laying eggs. The term free range conjures up images of sunshine, fresh air, and an easy life that, though leading to slaughter, is good for the animal. Unfortunately, this is not likely the reality for those free range eggs or that free range fowl waiting to be served in your next meal.
In order to become government certified free-range for farms raising birds that will be used for food purposes, the bird simply needs access to the outdoors. This does not mean full-time access or that the outdoors contains any type of food source or vegetation at all. In fact, if chickens are kept in small cages that are opened for only a few minutes a day, the farm can be deemed free range. This paints free range in a bit of a different light.