'Free range' pork threatens industry
Controversy over how a free range pig is defined has
started a row and threatens the potentially lucrative free range pork industry.
Farmers are undergoing turmoil, after the competition regulator ruled that there
was hardly any difference between pigs that spent their lives outdoors and those
that were born free but reared in intensive farmed
It was reported that consumers were not able to distinguish between the
production methods of "free range" and "bred free range", therefore both were
equally legitimate, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ruled in
its dismissal of a complaint.
Bred free range pigs are born outdoors and spend the first few weeks of
their lives free to roam in paddocks. When around three weeks old they are
weaned and transferred to huts with other pigs until they are slaughtered at
about five months. Purists say pigs should spend their entire lives roaming in
paddocks to qualify for the free range tag.
Two pig producers were accused by The Free
Range Pork Farmers Association of misleading and deceptive conduct for claiming
to be free range. The competition regulator acknowledged the different methods
but said shoppers would be unable to make the distinction.
One of the accused producers, Stephen Roberts of Bundawarrah Free Range
Pork said that until a strict definition was reached, he was free to call his
product free range.
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