The Gentle Vet By Scott Hurd
Dr. Scott Hurd (DVM) spent 15 years working in 3 USDA branches, including acting as Deputy Acting Undersecretary for Food Safety in 2008. He is currently an associate professor at Iowa State University Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine.

Fresh, frozen or free range?

(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)

Most of you may have noticed the frigid temperatures across much of the country last.  It has felt like January here in the Midwest. We put an extra “blanket” on the old grey mare. We sent our organic pig to the local butcher.  It is nice to have a new one in town.

But during those frigid nights and days, I kept wondering about all the “wonderful” free range (outdoor raised) pigs and poultry.  How are they doing? Do their caretakers sit smugly by the fire, congratulating themselves for “doing the right thing?”   Here in the Midwest, I don’t think any animals, other than adult cattle, should be allowed outside. Most humane humans will likely agree.

So how does this reality of weather relate to the supposed high moral ground of outdoor animal rearing?

Well I see a potential conflict. With icy temperatures and frigid winds it would cruel and unusual to force young pigs and chicks to go outside. Basically, this means during the winter the market has little or no free range, unless they come from the South.

So what matters, markets or morality?  Obviously, morality matters. It is wrong, unethical, and immoral the make animals suffer needlessly.  Most farmers are not doing that.   They button these animals down in cozy heated buildings with high ventilation and lots of fresh water. THANK GOODNESS.


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