What Is Free Range Pork And Why Do Consumers Demand It?
“Consumers have the right to know…”
We are entering an age where informed people begin to ask questions that challenge the status quo on livestock welfare and animal care on commercial farms.
This is especially true when it comes to pig or chicken (and egg) farming. There are certain perceptions (and some misconceptions) about this industry – neither is good for the public or the industry.
Make no mistake – public’s perception is extremely important to the majority of farmers – they love what they do and they would like to know that the public loves them too.
Everyone agrees – consumers should have a choice. The fact is, the consumer is always right even if some of their facts are sometimes wrongly reported or not always 100% correct.
There is a growing perception among most people that animal welfare, especially the welfare of pigs would be drastically improved in a free-range farming system compared to an indoor crate system.
How do we get the best of both worlds?
Education is the key here. Whether you are a farmer, restaurant owners, meat supplier, a free-range farming fan or just a member of the public, you have the opportunity to join this association [FRPA] today to make Free-Range Pig farming a viable alternative to produce quality pork for the discerning consumer.
What Is Free Range Pig Farming?
The are many different farming methods to raise Free-Range pigs. Countries around the world differ on these methods because of the different weather conditions.
For example, South Africa is hot and dry – the UK is wet, cold and snowy. Free-range pigs need protection from the elements – one rule does not fit all!
The FRPA definition for Free Range Pig Farming for South Africa is:
Free Range Pig Farming means that pigs are kept OUTDOORS in big enough camps (areas) where they can eat, sleep and play outside for their entire lives to allow them to express their natural instinctive behaviours.
This document and the other documents from the association [FRPA] discuss the what, how and why of free-range pig farming in more detail.
Commercial Pig Farming
In South Africa commercial pig farming is big business. It is also a very important industry for South Africa and supply more than 2.5 million kilograms of pork per week for local consumption and export.
Most of this is farmed commercially on huge farms – less that 1% is farmed free range.
The reason is simple; it is hard to farm profitable, sustainable and on a huge scale with free-range pigs.
Some experts would even say it is impossible to supply one or two millions kilograms of pork per week in a free-range system – and they are probably right.
But in the last few years consumers started to show a willingness to pay a little more for naturally kept and free-range pork products. This has tipped the scale and created new opportunities for farmers and producers.
There is still a long way to go to make free-range pig farming as profitable as commercial farming BUT most farmers agree – it is time to act and give consumers what they want.
They Have Questions.
Consumers all around the globe are starting to ask the same questions. This happens daily, especially on social media, where more and more buyer’s wants to know where the food they put on their table comes from.
In short people wants to know that the welfare of all farm animals, including pigs, are cared for as defined under the FIVE FREEDOMS of livestock.
The FIVE Freedoms are:
1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst – by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor.
2. Freedom from Discomfort – by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease – by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
4. Freedom to Express Normal Behavior – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animals own kind.
5. Freedom from Fear and Distress – by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
The good news is that a number of family farmers and pork producers in South Africa, existing and new, have committed themselves to produce the BEST free-range pork you have ever tasted.
Its true – free-range pork simply taste better and heavenly – like real pork should. Read on, you will learn more about this a little later.
Free-range family farmers are excited to be part of this new movement to give consumer’s a choice when it comes to buying the products they want.
Whether you are a farmer or consumer; joining the Free-Range Pork Association [FRPA] today as a friend is your next step to make free-range pork available to more people and business is in the food industry. It is FREE to join and you can do it below. It will only take 10 seconds!
Information for Farmers:
Until recently in South Africa there was no agreed definition of Free-Range Pig Farming.
When the FRPA stated to help farmers to produce Free-Range Pork and consumers to buy free range pork, it was necessary to define Free Range Pig Farming in more detail and set guidelines for production to establish systems for farmers so that they can farm profitably.
If you are a family farmers and wants to know more; you can download the Best Practice Guides for free-range pig farming from this page, just click here to be re-directed to the download page.
It is not an easy task to re-define definitions and guideline for an industry that has, for all practical purposes, stopped production in the 1930’s.
Yes, Free Range Pig farming is not a new method of farming pigs, but in the early 1930’s most farmers started to migrate to commercial “indoor” farming because of the challenges and “defects” of an open-air system.
Today our farmers have new technology to our disposal. We can do better animal and farming management and we have a greater understanding of animal welfare, diets and diseases – much better than what we had 100 years ago.
Information for Consumers:
Free Range farming not only make sense in today’s world when we care about the welfare of animals, but it gives the consumer the peace of mind to know that their food is free of antibiotics, added hormones and artificial growth supplements.
Free Range pork is different from anything you have ever tasted before. It is still pork but it is so succulent you will be left sucking the juice off your fingertips when you eat Free Range ribs, chops, pork belly, or anything else.
For our free-range pork receipt book, follow this link and download our receipt book free.
NOTE: Sometimes the general public uses the term “organic farming” to describe how they think farmers should run farms and how the environment can be protected.
If you have any ideas on free range or organic farming please let us know. We would love to hear from you.
You can use THIS CONTACT FORM