Around 5% of Australian sows are free range. Free range means that pigs are kept outdoors for their entire life.
Free range pork production is made up of:
Outdoor paddocks, including rooting or foraging areas
Kennels or huts for shelter. The huts allow the animals to seek shelter from environmental extremes. They also provide additional protection for the piglets when very young
Many people believe that free range is the best system for pig welfare. Yet, these pigs are in fact exposed to a greater range of:
Predators and diseases through contact with feral pigs, foxes and wild dogs
Temperatures that make them more susceptible to sun related skin conditions like skin cancer
In free range systems, all paddocks must be rotated with a crop-forage pasture phase before pigs can be returned to the paddock. This helps to manage nutrient build up and restore soil structure.
If you'd like to buy free range pork, look for the APL Certified Free Range logo.