I like to buy free range chickens and eggs if I can. Both the meat and the eggs seem to taste better. It must be all that fresh air and a chance to stretch the legs and wings.

It goes without saying that free range produce comes at a premium price compared to the budget alternatives that have been in confined spaces all their lives.

The other day I bought a whole chicken, and a few days later I bought a packet of filleted chicken breasts. On both occasions an amateurish sticker had been added, almost as an afterthought: Poultry housed for their own welfare.

Poultry housed for their own welfare? That raises more questions than it answers. Housed to protect them from what? From each other? How is housing them good for their welfare? Am I entitled to a discount because for a portion of their lives they’ve not been free range? Aren’t they either free range or not? You can’t get mostly organic produce after all. Yes, the carrots were mostly organic, apart from that few minutes when we blasted them with insecticide…

Clearly the producers have to come clean when their hens have to be taken indoors, but I can’t help feeling a sense of confusion and mystery as to the circumstances.

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