Pasture-Raised Poultry is Best
There's a new website called Buyingpoultry.com (a Farm Forward initiative) that is promoting a poultry labeling graphic that lists three categories of poultry classifications for consumers: avoid, better, and best. In the avoid category, Buying Poultry places "pasture-raised." This graphic was subsequently posted by Slow Food USA on their blog.
APPPA took issue with the classification of pasture-raised while plant-based alternatives (e.g., laboratory produced chicken substitutes) were listed in the best category along with several closely related animal welfare certifications.
APPPA sent the following letter to Slow Food USA, Farm Forward, and Buying Poultry.
We have been truly saddened to find that you have lumped all “Pasture Raised” poultry into an avoid category and that you consider this category not satisfactory for consumers to purchase. Poultry produced in a pastured environment stand in an enlightened, high welfare contrast to their factory farmed cousins. We strongly feel that a consumer should know their meat producers and verify that the poultry they are buying is raised in a manner acceptable to the consumers. Direct consumer relationships supersede all certification programs. (emphasis added)
For nearly 20 years, the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA) has been educating, coaching, mentoring and providing other assistance to exceptional quality poultry producers. APPPA was started as a grass roots organization with the assistance of Heifer Project International. The inception vision was to provide high quality poultry in local food sheds. APPPA believes that all types of poultry should be raised on pasture using the time tested farming technique that utilizes constant movement onto fresh grass as the basis for a healthy, delicious, and happy bird. Our vision has always been to promote an opportunity for families to work together and to manage small non-threatening animals. This type of farming is a fabulous way to get children interested in animals, nature, and growing good local food.
Our producers believe that all types of poultry will be raised on pasture. Pasture is a rich environment full of fresh vegetation, insects, direct contact with soil, fresh air, direct exposure to sunlight, and the opportunity for the poultry to express their natural behaviors in an optimum environment. APPPA members will manage their poultry on pasture for at least half of the poultry’s’ lifetime.
With all due respect, please reconsider your categorization of all “Pasture Raised.” This type of stereotyping will have severe direct financial effects to thousands of small, local, high integrity pastured poultry producers! You really should visit some of our members before condemning all of us.