What is the difference between free range and bred free range?

There are no nationally agreed definitions or standards for free range and bred free range. However, various animal production industry bodies and other involved stakeholders have created their own definitions to suit their products and method of production. What can make it confusing is the lack of nationally agreed definitions that makes way for a diversity of voluntary definitions.

Essentially, the differences are in how much of their natural life are animals in their natural environment – outdoors.

Free Range

Free Range refers to systems where animals are born and raised outdoors and free to range (preferably on natural pastures) and have access to outdoor range areas for their natural lives.

Bred Free Range

Bred Free Range refers to systems where animals are born outdoors but raised indoors. Growing pigs only spend a small part of their natural lives outdoors while the breeding herd have access to an outdoor range.  Free range and bred free range usually apply to method of production for pigs.

As there are no national definitions for free range and other methods of production for livestock, the definition used will vary depending on the standards they follow.  For this reason, it is important to see what is actually behind a definition - what do the standards specify?  The consumer guide helps differentiate these standards and essentially provides transparency to animal welfare labelling.