‘Free Range’ Farms

Some of the issues associated with factory farming can be addressed by free range farming. In Australia, 5% of pigs grown in Australia are raised on free range farms. On some free range farms, pigs can go outdoors and access mud and water to wallow and dig.

Free range pigs. Photo: ABC

Unfortunately, the only way to tell if your pork is truly free range is to look at the farm yourself because there is no legislation on what constitutes a ‘free range’ farm in Australia.

Some so-called ‘free range’ egg farms have been fined by the Federal Court for misleading consumers. The consumer watchdog Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has stated that producers need to use ‘common sense’ to avoid misleading consumers, making the term ‘free range’ open to individual interpretation, and potentially misuse.

RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme was established to offer consumers who buy pork, chicken, turkey and eggs a higher welfare alternative. Pork producers who join the Scheme can have their products labelled and marketed as ‘RSPCA Approved’.

However, the absence of legislation and inadequate monitoring of free range farms have resulted in gross animal abuse on some so-called free range farms.

Animal Liberation Victoria, through their Free Range Fraud campaign, has exposed disturbing and unethical practices on some free range farms, including some that are ‘RSPCA Approved’.

Pigs in a so-called ‘free range’ farm, chest deep in excrement, VIC, Australia. Photo: Free Range Fraud/Animal Liberation Victoria