As a nation, we are becoming increasingly aware of the things we put in our mouth. One of the things many people take into consideration when doing their food shop is whether their food has been ethically acquired. There is a wide array of various labels claiming to have a certain level of animal welfare but one seen the most frequently is the phrase ‘free range’. Instantly, an image is conjured up of blissful livestock roaming luscious green fields, bathing in the freedom. However, this sadly isn’t the case. What the law states as ‘free range’ isn’t always what we would expect it to be and farms who entitle their products as this are probably lying right at the border of what is lawfully acceptable.

However, one farm that represents the step towards a better and brighter future for mass farming of livestock is Badgers Mead Farm. Located between Cross In Hand and Five Ashes, this farmland is home to hundreds of poultry who have acres and acres of tranquil East Sussex countryside to roam. Like any poultry farm, Badgers Mead chickens are used for their eggs. In this case, not only does the farm produce a vast amount of delicious eggs but they can also take pride in honestly labelling their eggs as ‘free range’.

I spoke to successful sheep, cattle and now poultry farmer, Nev Champion, to enquire about the conditions he keeps his chickens and turkeys in and why he can justly label his eggs the way he does. Nev told me ‘they are let out at 7am and at 9pm come inside to plenty of room and feeders and water available’.  He then informed me of how from dawn to dusk they have ‘a wooded range 1000 birds per hectare’. EU Regulations state that there should be no more than nine hens per metre squared yet Nev and his farm have gone beyond these minimum requirements of apparent equitable treatment of animals to give his chickens a truly ethical life. Still, he hasn’t just stopped at giving them plenty of room; the wooded range provides plentiful opportunities for foraging and dust bathing. Badgers Mead Farm has clearly gone above and beyond to guarantee that their livestock receive the best life they can get and that they deserve. To quote Nev Champion, the farm is an ‘extremely idyllic place to live’.

I would like to hope that we will soon live in a world where the life of Badgers Mead Farm’s livestock is the reality for all animals. Although small compared to other major free range and intensive farms, this blissful farmland tucked away in the serene East Sussex countryside, is far from insignificant. The farm takes a stand to the immoral mistreatment of animals and creates a splendidly honourable path for others to follow their footsteps.