above and beyond standard industry practices
We work with farmers that go above and beyond any standard industry practices. Like us, they uphold the belief that the best meat comes from animals that have lived a good life. They treat their animals humanely, providing a stress free environment and allowing them to forage freely on fresh pasture, eating what nature intended.
Our General Standards for our Animals:
Born, raised and finished locally (currently sourcing from NY, NJ & PA)
Note: Some of our farmers breed and farrow their own animals on their farms
Animals are free to forage outside, on pasture when grass is seasonally present
Note: When pastured chicken is not available (because of season), we will offer Organic
NEVER been given any artificial growth hormones or steroids
NEVER fed any animal by-products
NO antibiotics (except if medically necessary and in which case the animal is separated)
Quality forage, hay and GMO free feeds
Note: Some of our farmers even make their own feed in order to control quality
NEVER use of pesticides on land
Pasture Raised Vs. Industry Standard
Experts estimate that today, 95-99% of animals come from factory farms and feedlots. We will spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say conditions for these animals are grim. In today’s world there is a lot of confusing terminology out there about animal “standards.” We would like to take a minute to explain what some of these terms mean because we feel it’s important for our consumers to understand the difference in what they can find at The Pastoral Pig versus a traditional grocery store.
In all of these cases, there are often great farmers who are “doing it right” and raising animals more in line with what you would picture when reading a term like “free range.” But unfortunately, if you do not know your farmer, there is a wide range of practices that are allowed under these terms:
The USDA says a product can be called “natural” if it contains “no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed.” The term applies to how the meat was processed after being harvested, it does not say anything about the conditions under which the animal was raised. Inspection of the USDA is voluntary and is not required to be labeled as natural.
(Cage free typically refers to egg laying hens) Poultry that is simply not kept in cages. “Cage-free” does not denote anything about the feed or other physical care of the chickens. They are still kept in hen houses, in often extremely cramped conditions, and are not required to have access to the outside or pasture.
The USDA defines free-range as allowing chickens to have some access to an outside area (not pasture specifically). They do not actually require that the chickens go outside, not do they specify how long (if so) and under what conditions. For example, chickens can be outside on concrete for a short period of time each day and still be labeled as free-range. The USDA has no specific definition for “free-range” beef, pork, and other non-poultry products.