Free-Range Chicken
In a Time Magazine article in 2011 entitled, “Return of the Meat-Eaters: Many Lapsed Vegetarians Become ‘Ethical Omnivores,” author Zara Kessler discusses the trend of vegetarians becoming meat-eaters again. She states that close to 75% of vegetarians eventually return to meat for health reasons, though very few return because their ethical reasons for vegetarianism have changed.

She says, “Indeed, it seems that the latest form of animal activism is not not eating meat, but rather only eating ethical, sustainable meat. What’s that? It depends on the perspective, though it can include some combination or permutation of industry terms like, ‘organic,’ ‘free-range,’ ‘cruelty-free,’ and ‘natural,’ and labels about animal welfare from certification companies.”

Because of the heightened awareness of the treatment of animals raised for food, eating only meat from local farms is becoming more popular, as they are better able to conform to higher ethical standards. Allowing animals to be free-range is one of the ways local farmers meet these standards.

Free-range chickens are allowed to roam outside of cages for at least some of the day. Free-range chickens have a lower rate of cannibalism, as there is a link to the amount of time spent grazing and the propensity to cannibalism. Chickens kept in cages all day are often de-beaked to keep them from pecking each other to death and eating chicken meat. This de-beaking process is considered quite cruel and has been one of the many practices ethical omnivores tout as unethical and inhumane.

Mills Family Farm has had so many requests for local chickens from customers that we now offer local free-range chickens from a partner farm. Many local restaurants and farmers markets sell Mills Family Farms free-range chicken, beef, and pork. Dr. Bradley Mills, one of the owners of Mills Family Farm, has said, “We produce food. We want everything to be healthy.” So for the ethical omnivores in the Mooresville, NC area, Mills Family Farm is a good choice!