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Buy free range this Christmas: it’s easier than ever

 If you remain committed to celebrating religious holidays with a meaty banquet, it’s a whole lot easier now to consider your fellow animals (and your health) and buy free range.

Consumers have demanded an end to sow stalls and battery chicken conditions, plus lobbied for free range conditions for pigs, chickens and turkeys and retailers large and small have listened. Still much needs to be done (see turkey story this page) but progress should be congratulated.

Shopping choices are all around – from Food Lovers Market in Bungendore offering local and free range poultry and smallgoods to Coles leading with a responsible meat and seafood program. The Griffith Butchery remains a benchmark, as is Eco Meats in Belconnen.

A new local online farm-gate venture is myfarmshop.com.au which sources meat that is truly free range from Palerang producers. They say abattoirs used are small and personally inspected. [We’re told they have already sold out of pork and ham for this year].

Piggeries supplying Coles have to be sow stall-free and Coles says it is absorbing the extra cost. Free range living conditions for pigs, chickens and turkeys are RSPCA-approved and periodically inspected.  On the other hand, a Woolworths web search yields only an industry ‘free range’ turkey standard that still allows an intensive barn operation with de-beaking etc.

Consumers can enquire about smallgood makers, some reportedly have joined the front line with RSPCA-approved meat, Primo has been mentioned but we haven’t confirmed that.

Each IGA is independently-owned. While they have a sustainability policy on a number of fronts, you’d have to enquire at the store near you about free range products.

From Coles’s website:

“Turkeys are inquisitive, confident birds that love to move around, perch and peck.”

 


 

Turkeys bashed, workers dehumanised at this ‘process’ plant

 Earlier this year, Animal Liberation NSW obtained two week’s worth of hidden camera footage of workers repeatedly bashing and kicking turkeys, shackling the heavy birds upside down for too long and tormenting them while caged at an Ingham’s poultry slaughterhouse on the outskirts of Sydney. The footage was shown on ABC Lateline in March.

The police were involved. The CEO of Inghams reportedly expressed shock and vowed to reform and retrain workers. Animal Liberation’s Emma Hurst said the company subsequently fired everyone involved and one worker is up on criminal charges.  However, she said long-term it’s not clear whether anything changes at the plant.

 Consumer power

When appliance retailer Bing Lee teamed up again with Inghams to promote a free turkey with fridge or freezer purchase, Animal Liberation gathered more than 2000 signatures in November urging the retailer not to continue with this campaign. The stores took down the posters and ceased the promotion on the 28th of November, said Hurst.

The petition will continue she said, hoping the retailer will advise that the campaign won’t continue next year. Anyone interested can look see the petition here

Image credit Wikimedia Commons

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