Ethical meat – the green and fair livestock standards we insist on
The meat industry is changing and forward-thinking farmers are switching from commercial farming to Regenerative Agriculture.
But what is this system and what are the benefits?
For some time The meat industry has been geared towards mass produced offerings which have consequences not only on the welfare of animals but on the environment and of course the dramatic drop in standard of the meat we consume.
This intensive process brings with it a number of problems which have to be countered with more unnatural processes. It is well documented that the use of antibiotics is reaching a dangerous level.
In order to meet quota’s set by supermarkets, farmers have to reach targets which often mean reaching a certain weight in a short time. The quickest way for mass produced meat to reach this target is with intensive grain fed feeding, all this grain has to be grown at the rate of which it is fed to animals and this intensive farming method is harsh on the the soil due to the pesticides & Chemicals used during production.
In short, intensive farming is about as unnatural as it gets. Its harmful to animlas, Us and the environment.
There is an alternative.
Back to basics and start at Grass roots!
There is an abundance of rich grassland across the British Countryside. It is an iconic symbol of our rural landscape, and for centuries has been the traditional food source for livestock.
Its no surprise to know that feeding livestock on a pasture fed diet can provide all the nutritional components an animal needs. Better still pastures which contain a variety of plant species, including herbs, wildflowers and clovers provide an even healthier diet – rich in essential vitamins and minerals drawn up from the soil below.
They also support a diverse range of wildlife which is necessary for delicate eco systems to thrive.
The carbon footprint of grass farms are significantly lower than that of farms where cereal crops are grown to feed animals. Grassland helps capture and store carbon so less is released into the air to harm the atmosphere.
Grazing animals also return nutrients and organic matter back to the ground as they deposit their dung, ensuring the soil remains healthy and fertile, this is the basis of regenerative farming.
Pasture-fed livestock are given the freedom to express their normal behaviours and often live in family groups. A natural diet means they are less likely to suffer from disease and require little veterinary attention or antibiotics.
Animals fed on pasture are less stressed, live longer and are more fertile than those farmed intensively.
Some of the benefits of this method include:
- Lower total saturated fat levels.
- Higher vitamin and mineral levels than meat from grain-fed animals.
- Higher levels of Omega-3 and essential fatty acids needed for cell repair and growth.
- Positive carbon footprint – putting goodness back into the soil rather than depleting them. There is growing evidence to suggest that Well managed soil can contribute to reversing the effects of globing warming.
- Supports local eco systems by providing natural environments for wildlife.
- Grass is the UK’s national crop but is often under-utilised. There is great potential to produce more food from Britain’s grassland, reducing the need to import feeds from abroad.
Despite the positive approach to pasture fed we have seen a lot of misinformation regarding farming and meat production, supporting an intensive farming system is not sustainable for the future, at the Dorking Butchery we believe that working alongside like-minded farmers who pour their passion into traditional farming methods is a positive step for Butchery as a whole. The sustainable methods used in regenerative farming safeguard our industry for future generations and produce consistently world class results.
So why isn’t everybody doing it?
In the simplest terms its all about the bottom line. The consumer controls the demand for a cheaper product by voting with their feet. In purchasing sub standard meat we are lending our support to continue the intensive method.
Afterall, the only reason supermarkets offer such products is because there is a demand for it.
Of course, there is no quick fix and with many different views about what constitutes to the perfect diet there will never be a definitive answer. Making a positive change will take time and moderation is the secret to any healthy system. If we all reduced our consumption of intensively farmed meat and made the move back to the independents then we would be a step closer to solving the problems created by broken systems.
This is why for us, visiting our producers is vital to ensuring theses high standards and traditional methods are met. We stand for high welfare with minimum impact to our surroundings, all possible when natural farming methods are introduced.