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5 promises we make about our pork that no supermarket can

19th May 2016

You’d be horrified if you knew the pork you were buying was reared caged in a factory with no access to the outdoors, right? Well that’s exactly what’s happening across the UK and right under our noses.

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Everyone at Farmdrop HQ is behind the Farms Not Factories #TurnYourNoseUp campaign to end pig factory farming

For us, it’s simple. We don’t do fake farms and we don’t do poorly treated pigs. We’re proud to only sell free range pork and here are our 5 promises we can make (that supermarkets can’t) that explain why:

1. We only work with free range pork farmers who give pigs full access to pasture

Did you know 75% of British pork eaten in the UK comes from intensive units where pigs are kept in cramped pens or cages and rarely go outside or even see sunlight? Less than 3% of British pigs are free range (pigs that were born and raised with free access to the outdoors). None of the big supermarkets support a free range only sourcing policy. They actively sell barn raised pigs and mislead customers with higher priced ‘outdoor reared’ items which suggest the pigs lives in a muddy field which isn’t true. Piglets are commonly taken from their mothers at 4 weeks to go into a different barn for ‘finishing’, while our piglets will stay with their mothers for as long as possible in the field.

2. Our farmers don’t dock the tails or castrate the boars of their pigs

This is unnecessary and painful for the pigs but is common practise for supermarket pork (not a glamorous marketing story!). Pig welfare standards across Europe and the world are incredibly diverse and as Britain isn’t completely self-sufficient with pork, you don’t always know what you’re getting. 54% of UK pork is imported from EU pig factories. At Farmdrop, we guarantee British only free range pork – no supermarket does that. 

3. Our farmers never use preventative antibiotics

Animals at factory farms are reared in overcrowded sheds, which means they have to be given antibiotics routinely just to keep them alive. This abuse of antibiotics has the potential to lead to superbugs – antibiotic resistant diseases that can pass to humans and as a result hasten the end of antibiotics as a cure for human diseases. All pretty serious yet avoidable stuff in our book. Our pork farmers only use antibiotics to treat illness when no other methods work and they do not give routine administration of antibiotics.

4. Our pork farmers never use hormones…

For the simple reason that using them to manipulate growth is unnatural and unnecessary. The UK imports about 30% of its meat. Some is from the EU, but a large amount is from countries including Brazil, Argentina and Australia, where lower production costs make meat cheaper. Growth hormones are used by farmers as a cheap and efficient way to get pigs to reach their finishing weight (the weight the reach when ready for slaughter).

5. We only work with farmers who have respect for the animals they rear and truly allow their pigs to express their natural behaviour

At Farmdrop, we only work with producers who endorse the highest standards of animal welfare. Our pork farmers Rowie and Rally (see Rally turning his nose up on the farm, above!) rear their Landrace and Duroc cross breed of pigs on their farm spanning 70 hectares of Wiltshire countryside and have held organic status since 1997. Farmer Andy at Park Farm’s Gloucester Old Spot and Berkshire pigs (spotted hanging with our Twiggy vanimal) are guaranteed a truly free-range life with free run of their Kent farm’s roomy paddocks. You only have to check out farmer and butcher at Purton House Organics Rally’s beautiful instagram farm-feed to see just how much he cares for his pigs.

In support of a celeb-studded campaign by non-profit organisation Farms not Factories, join us (and the likes of Jon Snow, Thomasina Miers, Richard E Grant and Joanna Lumley) in getting your snout out and #TurnYourNoseUp at factory pig farms – share their video on http://farmsnotfactories.org/ and use the hashtag #TurnYourNoseUp. We’ll see you there!

Find out more about our free range pork farmers Rally and Rowie at Purton House Organics in Wiltshire and Andy at Park Farm in Kent and take a look at our free range pork cuts and sausages.

What do ‘outdoor bred’ and ‘outdoor reared’ mean?

With ‘outdoor bred’ the breeding herd is free range but when the piglets are weaned at four weeks they are moved to an indoor finishing herd to be intensively reared.  The pork you eat will be no different to standard intensively reared pork.  

‘Outdoor reared’ is even more confusing. The breeding herd is free range as with outdoor bred but the piglets when weaned are moved into huts and tents that are situated in fields.  This means they can be called outdoor reared but misses the fact the pigs do not have free access to large paddocks or that they are actually confined in these huts and tents in similar conditions to intensively reared pigs.

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Andy’s Berkshire pigs at Park Farm in Kent with Twiggy the vanimal!

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