"free range" is as much a marketing scam as anything. The USDA strict definition of "free range" is:

"Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outdoors."

And there is a specific clause stating:

"they may be temporarily confined...for reasons of health, safety, the animal’s stage of production or to protect soil or water quality."

Furthermore, this definition does not apply to eggs, not to mention the fact that free-range says nothing about processes such as de-beaking (which is exactly what it sounds like) in hens, or the content of any animal's food (antibiotics, 'leftovers' from their slain fellows, etc.)

So, in all honesty, whether or not "free range" meat is any more ethical or healthy than its factory-farm counterparts is anyone's guess.


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