Free range? Not so much...

If you live in the Western Cape (South Africa), you'll probably know of a brand of dairy products called Fair Cape Free RangeTM. You may have felt compelled to purchase this dairy in the place of another brand, “because it’s free range”. Well, I did: if you are going to consume dairy, free range dairy is the ethical choice, isn't it? The bottle even says so:


... and Fair Cape responds.

The following letter is the response I received from Fair Cape - they requested that I upload it:

8 March 2011

Thank you for your interest in Fair Cape and specifically Fair Cape Free Range.

With regards to the letter and blog currently circulating in respect of Fair Cape Free Range, there are a number inaccuracies. I would like to clarify some of the factual errors published in some of these articles.

1. Fair Cape Cows DO graze in the pastures at times during the year when they are not being milked (As portrayed in the photo below which was taken in the month of September when natural grazing is possible) 

There are, however, times during the year, due to the hot summers when there is no grass in the fields. Further, due to the intensity of the sun, there are times during the year where the cows suffer severe heat-stress if they are left out in the fields.


Fair Cape: a final exchange

In response to my email in the previous post ("... and Fair Cape responds.), I received the following:

11 March 2011
Hi Muriel

Thanks for the response.

I would first like to address your contentions that this is not an attack on Fair Cape, but an industry expose. I would like to state at the outset that this is absolutely currently nothing more than an attack on Fair Cape which is totally out of context.

Were this an industry expose, you would FIRST have done your research across the entire industry, then presented your findings within this context. You have NOT done this, you have simply gone after the most transparent operation (as you have admitted it was the only dairy who has given you access) and have left the impression with your readers that Fair Cape is the problem, where, in reality, Fair Cape’s operation, in terms of cow comfort and environmental friendliness is currently without peer in the South African market.