to wonder if free range eggs are a big cruel con?

(111 Posts)
evilcherub Sun 13-Mar-16 10:14:43

I normally buy free range eggs even though they are much more expensive than normal eggs but now I am wondering if they are a bit of a con, considering what can be classified as "free range". I have always wondered how free the birds really are and how easy it is to get a free range classification and it seems I have got an answer - (yes it is a Daily Mail article, but please don't let your prejudice get in the way of the point it is making);

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3489317/And-call-free-range-s-disturbing-images-16-000-free-range-hens-crammed-shed-fact-conditions-approved-RSPCA.html

OurBlanche Sun 13-Mar-16 10:19:50

Having kept backyard chickens I make a point of only buying from others, these days. It is becoming more and more possible to find real free range chickens and eggs, even in towns and cities.

But no, sadly none of that report surprises me.

curren Sun 13-Mar-16 10:19:55

I thought it was well known that the definition of free range isn't what most of the public think it is.

Wasn't there a high profile programme on it a while a go? And then it was in the news.

As long as they have access to our doors they are free range. Doesn't matter how difficult it is for them to get out or how much time they get.

OhBuggerandArse Sun 13-Mar-16 10:20:00

There are dreadful problems throughout the egg industry, free range or not.

www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/hatched-discarded-gassed-what-happens-to-male-chicks-in-the-uk-10088509.html

bakeoffcake Sun 13-Mar-16 10:22:24

It makes me so angry. We're all being conned AGAIN aren't we.

Surely the Happy Eggs company needs to be prosecuted, as their advert is in no way a true picture of how their hens liveangry.

Scone1nSixtySeconds Sun 13-Mar-16 10:34:17

I knew that 'free range' in the supermarket wasn't real but that is shocking.

I keep chickens in my garden. They have free access - that is free range.

caroldecker Sun 13-Mar-16 10:40:55

That article is confused. It says the system filmed is RSPCA Assured/Freedom Food, which is not necessarily free-range. He supplies to Nobel, which buys a mix of free-range, organic and intensive eggs for different brands and reasons.
Not convinced anyone except the Mail thinks these are free-range eggs.

LaChatte Sun 13-Mar-16 10:42:48

Here in France it's similar, you can be easily tricked into buying 'élevés en plein air' thinking they'll be from happy chickens, but they're not. You have to look at the fine print to find the phrase 'en liberté' to be sure of getting happy eggs. Same goes for chickens. Combining those two labels with the 'bio' (organic) label can turn into a quest of epic proportions (not to mention eye watering prices).

RufusTheReindeer Sun 13-Mar-16 10:47:22

We try and buy ours from a local farm

But many years ago a friend of mine worked packing eggs into supermarket boxes, apparently she packed the same eggs into free range boxes and non free range boxes

It was a long time ago and i know things have changed but i just can't shake the feeling that the box cant be trusted grin

Readysteadyknit Sun 13-Mar-16 10:56:06

This should be highlighted more. Some years ago DC and I visited a farm owned by an acquaintance. The farm supplied "free range" eggs to M & S. The chickens did have access to the outside but the food and water was inside so 99.9% of the chickens were also inside. The noise and smell in the barn were horrendous.

I now buy eggs from a local smallholder - he has about 200 chickens but when you go to get your eggs, the hens are all happily scratching around in the dirt. Unfortunately, buying from this sort of supplier wouldn't be an option if you lived in a town

ILeaveTheRoomForTwoMinutes Sun 13-Mar-16 11:01:13

There is a thread in chat about this,

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/_chat/2591210-boycotting-happy-eggs-is-there-a-better-free-range-brand

SagaAndMartinsLiftConvos Sun 13-Mar-16 11:01:14

Heard about this and have mistrusted supermarket "free-range" eggs ever since...I now buy Clarence Court or Abel and Cole eggs, hope they are OK. I don't have access to local farm eggs or I would buy those.

JaceLancs Sun 13-Mar-16 11:36:20

My ex husband keeps chickens, as do a friend and a work colleague
I'm very grateful that my eggs do come from happy hens

CoolToned Sun 31-Jul-16 08:08:12

Do they taste different though? I have been buying free-range but I really can't remember if they taste different from caged.

EsmeraldaEllaBella Sun 31-Jul-16 08:10:22

Is organic better?

tibbawyrots Sun 31-Jul-16 08:12:28

We get our eggs from someone about half a mile down the road and the hens are genuinely free range. Lovely eggs. smile

Maybebabybee Sun 31-Jul-16 08:14:33

Yes is organic any better does anyone know?

cexuwaleozbu Sun 31-Jul-16 08:15:39

"Free range" is indeed a con.
But the living conditions for "organic" are much stricter and more genuinely what you would expect "free range" ought to mean but doesn't. I only buy organic eggs.

megletthesecond Sun 31-Jul-16 08:23:58

I knew 'free range' wasn't all it was cracked up to be so I only buy organic free range. Think they're slightly better.

Squirrelsmum Sun 31-Jul-16 08:27:15

"Do they taste different though? I have been buying free-range but I really can't remember if they taste different from caged."

Real free range eggs taste a lot better than commercial brands free range or cage eggs. A thicker yolk and tougher shell, they whip better and make better meringue.

Lostwithinthehills Sun 31-Jul-16 08:33:03

Maybe - My parents kept chickens, the eggs they produced had really strong coloured yolk. The difference between those eggs and the free range eggs I buy in the likes of Aldi is really obvious in terms of flavour and texture.

CuttedUpPear Sun 31-Jul-16 08:36:36

If you're only buying free range eggs because of the taste you're missing the point.
It's about animal welfare.

DangerQuakeRhinoSnake Sun 31-Jul-16 08:39:17

I only buy eggs from local smallholdings now.

Cookingongas Sun 31-Jul-16 08:42:35

Yanbu.

I keep 3 chickens. They have a 13 X 13 metre space, coop, Shelter, and sand bath. The area however is very muddy through the winter, dry earth in summer. My dd has repeatedly called me cruel and has actually asked for happy egg company eggs as their chickens are "happier" running about in grass and tractors . It is quite horrible having to teach a 6 year old the reality of advert vs reality sad

snowgirl29 Sun 31-Jul-16 08:46:17

I read about this a while ago. Am I right in thinking free range basically just means let out for a bit? I think Barn eggs were advised instead at the time (talking a good few years ago).

As a poster upthread - I also buy the Clarence court ones when I'm in Waitrose are a rare treat.

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