Caged or free range which is the safer food source?
Animal rights activists and the food industry, would have you believe that the free range animal is happier and therefore healthier, but is that true?
Free range poultry feed on various vegetation and are extremely fond of insects and small rodents. Turkeys, in particular have no qualms about eating small mice and anything else that is crawling on the ground.
As a result like most livestock (this includes goats, sheep, cattle, etc.) that is free range, poultry is exposed to various parasites because they are feeding on things that are on the ground. Poultry can have many different parasites living within them including tapeworms, eye worms, roundworms, cecal worms ect. Fortunately for the poultry (chickens, etc.) for the most part do not have a problem with these parasites unless the parasite infestation becomes excessive, which is rare.
In addition range free animals are exposed to wild animals which can carry more than just parasites, but also various diseases.
|Grasshopper represents one of thousands of different poultry food sources.|
Caged or cage free poultry is raised within a confined environment where their food and living environment are kept as sterile and disease free as possible. Their food is controlled and measured and in some cases treated with antibiotics and steroids. These factory farms have a great deal invested in these animals and as a result go to great lengths to keep their livestock healthy. The idea that these large farms are not interested in healthy animals is ludicrous. Unhealthy animals do not produce and jeopardize the entire operation.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of range free, grass fed animals. I do not believe people should be eating any animal that has been treated with steroids, antibiotics or God knows what. I believe that if an animal food product is handled and processed properly, using food safety standards, it can be just as safe if not safer than any other food product.
So we come to the question at hand, which is better caged or range free?
- Is range free just another marketing ploy to get you pay more for a product that is not any safer to consume than a caged animal?
- If you raise a chicken inside a sterile bubble and feed it only sterile food will it produce a safer food product or will it produce a meat product that is devoid of anything nutritional?
- If the label says range free, grass fed, non-GMO, etc. how do you know you're getting what you're paying for?
- A recent survey of fish markets found as much as 85% of all fish in your local market is mislabeled and not what it says it is. So how do you know you're getting ground turkey as opposed to ground chicken or is it a mix of something else?
- In the old days poultry producers were required to leave the head on any butchered animal. This was to prevent farmers from selling a duck as a chicken etc. It was also done so that you could tell how fresh the meat was. Do we need to return to such methods?