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Free Range: It's the right thing to do

Posted March 13, 2008

One of the most unexpectedly satisfying experiences I have had with my sons Tim and Jonathan, was when we visited a modest finca in Extremadura where lived a small herd of Ibérico pigs. 

The animals were lingering around a pool of water under some holm and cork oak trees. Some of the herd was wandering off into a patch of sun. A couple of other of the pigs came up to us out of curiosity -- just as a friendly dog might. They were thoroughly enjoyable, and clearly were content with the way of life they were experiencing.

That is what “free-range” is all about. We often bandy the term about without much thought as to what it really means. These docile Ibérico piglets actually “teenagers”) were neither nervous nor hostile. 

Now you might say that the reason they are treated that way is that it produces better hams, and I am sure that it true. But in this case, where I know the owner and his son, they are also treated this way because it is the right thing to do.