Growing up and even now and definitely for the foreseeable future, my favorite word has and will always be, ‘Free’. Yeah, I am one of those, who has based there life on the idea of being free and letting others be free. The word freedom has many definitions and connotations and can be implied in various ways, but I think it can be best understood by observing little things. It’s a deep philosophical question that many have been contemplating but at the end to each their own. So maybe someday we can share our thoughts on the more profound effects and the spirituality of it, but today let’s start with the basic physical component of freedom, and let’s start with the simpler versions of ‘Free Range Poultry’.
Free-range poultry means the poultry (all types of meat providing domestic animals, pigs, chicken turkey’s etc, eggs, milk) which has access to outsides for an undefined period of time. Now when we say this, picture in the mind is green pastures, chickens grazing in the open, enjoying the sun, intermingling returning to their hen/pen at free will. Basically free animals. However, the term free-range doesn’t necessarily equate to that scenario. Let me explain, in India, we have slums, apartments, bungalows, even jails filled with people. Now all those residing in them have access to outdoors, some can access by stepping out or in their balconies, some have to head out to certain areas, some can do it at any time but people in jail will have allotted times, but none the less they can all head out to open areas, that may and may not have the greener pastures, but for all purposes and intents they get to see sunlight, feel the breeze (or polluted waves) choose to socialize. And the same principle applies to free-range poultry since there are no defined criteria of measuring the same even though they are all free they are not the same.
In essence, the ‘Free Range’ concept is where the animals are kept in more natural surroundings and not just cage-free and are treated more humanely. This ideally results in the following benefits:
- They are viruses free (studies show that conventional chickens have more chances of being infected like salmonella), which is not the case with free-range chickens.
- They are healthier and richer in the protein content as well and also end up producing better quality eggs, milk.
- Free-range poultry has been linked to having better impact on hormonal balance of the animals and thus does not create disruption in the end consumer (we humans)
This is the reason why the free range is so popular, but in reality, one is thinking about organic range poultry which is definitely free-range and will provide the above-mentioned benefits and not necessarily vice-versa. Before you take the free-range ride, make sure you have understood what kind of accommodation you are settling for.
Freedom comes at a cost, so make sure to invest wisely.