Here’s how to shop ethically and support your local

In the Brisbane suburb of Carindale in Queensland, one butcher has won fans from around the region for his offerings of ethical free-range products.

Michael ‘Mick’ Salm is the award-winning butcher behind Michael Salm’s Meats, and such is his reputation for delicious cuts of meat that customers are known to travel from far away just to buy from him.

One of the most popular products available at Salm’s Meats is the RSPCA Approved ham, which comes from Gooralie, a 10,000-acre property near Goondiwindi.

Gooralie Free-Range Pork is the longest standing RSPCA Approved piggery in Australia, and the only approved pig farm in the whole of Queensland. A family business, owned and operated by Mark and Charisse Ladner, the farm focuses on giving their pigs space to exhibit all their natural behaviours. The farmers firmly believe that giving pigs a better life and a stress-free existence leads to a more tender, succulent and flavourful meat.

Being RSPCA Approved means that the pigs at Gooralie are raised to the RSPCA’s detailed animal welfare standards.  Pigs live outside with room to play, root around with their snouts and socialise. Sows raise their piglets in individual straw-filled huts and have room to roam and can wallow in mud. Painful practices like tail docking and teeth clipping aren’t performed on piglets.

Mick has a longstanding relationship with the Gooralie family, and has been buying their free-range pork weekly for many years now. The Ladners have nothing but praise for the butcher.

“Mick buys from us every week and has done for years and years,” says Charisse. “He is old school in his methods and it stands him apart from others. His smallgoods are second to none. People travel a long way to get Gooralie pork from Mick.”

Pigs are clever, curious and social animals but sadly most pigs in Australia are born and raised in environments where they’re unable to express the behaviours that come naturally. In addition, around 70% of processed pork products are actually imported from overseas. Being able to offer humanely-farmed Australian grown free-range pork is a coup for an independent butcher like Mick.

As more of us take an interest in how our food gets from paddock to plate, it’s great to know that higher welfare products are available not just at major supermarkets, but also at independent speciality stores too. Next time you visit your own local butcher, be sure to ask them about their selection of humanely-farmed meats and encourage them to stock RSPCA Approved.

Michael Salm’s Meat: 1282 Old Cleveland Rd, Carindale Queensland

Want more? On farm with Mark & Charisse

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