Target: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Goal: Hold free range suppliers to protocols deserving of the title
Currently in the US, free range farms are virtually exempt from strict protocols. It has become crystal clear that the “free range” label ensures little safety for animals and is largely misleading. If the term is to gain any legitimacy, meat and egg suppliers must be held to meaningful standards.
Many animal rights supporters have visited free range farms and reported horrible conditions. Some farms allow animals to suffer, die, or remain in cold dark rooms for most of the day. Meanwhile, they are touted as humane suppliers. Consumers begin buying from these companies, assuming that the animals lived and died humanely.
The requirements for a farm to be considered free range are extremely minimal. In some cases it means a small door with barely enough room to fit a few chickens. Pigs and cows aren’t even offered this much. The animals may be sick, starved, or put through the painful process of debeaking. Free range animals are often slaughtered inhumanely, the same as any run-of-the-mill factory farm. These suppliers still have the audacity to claim superiority, recruit consumers, and charge more for their products.
The USDA has created free range requirements, yet they are barely enforced. If inspections are failed, these companies should lose the right to free range labeling on their products. Sign this petition demanding detailed and frequent inspections for supposed free range farms.
Free range meat and egg suppliers are held to very few standards. It is not uncommon to hear reports of animals from free range farms being confined, sick, or inhumanely slaughtered. This makes the “free range” label completely meaningless. It deceives consumers who try to buy products carefully, and it does nothing to improve the lives of abused factory farm animals. Even worse, it implies that conditions are improving, while in reality they are not.
The very least that can be done is to frequently inspect these farms and hold them to high standards. This means outdoor access to grass for all of the animals for a large portion of the day. Visitors to these farms have come forward, claiming to have seen animals dying or confined to freezing dark rooms. These farms are lying, and in no way represent what their “free range” label implies.
Consumers should have the right to decide on products based on honest and straightforward labels, not immoral sales tactics. Letting these farms operate independently has led to total dishonesty thus far. Please require frequent and detailed inspections of all farms that claim to be free range.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Montgomery County Planning Commission via Flickr