There has been a long argument surrounding the concept of where your meat comes from and how it has been reared. With many of us not giving it a second thought when we choose our beef or chicken off the supermarket shelf, it’s an issue that not everyone will have considered before. With that in mind, do you know where your meat has come from? Do you know if it’s been carefully reared and looked after, or has it been subjected to factory farming?
It can be incredibly important to understand the source of your food, as it can have an effect on the quality of the meat as well as how good it is for you. The Good Grub People give an insight into what farming methods you should be looking out for, and what impact they can have on your food.
Intensive v extensive farming
Farming can fall into two categories, known as intensive and extensive. Intensive farming is associated with indoor farming, focusing on high yields and accelerated growth in order to raise a huge number of stock. The stock is reared in a confined and controlled space, which isn’t conducive to good health for the animals.
In an intensive farming environment, there is regular intervention required to prevent disease amongst the stock, and the animals are often given a cocktail of medicines to keep diseases at bay.
To create an unnatural fast rate of growth, intensive farming can include the use of drugs and additive-laced feed that you wouldn’t normally find in an animal’s diet. Intensive farming can also incite a high mortality rate and abnormal behaviour amongst the animals.
Extensive farming on the other hand, often known as outdoor or natural farming, is a much simpler and easier way to produce stock. It’s a stark contrast from intensive farming which can seem incredibly unnatural and forced.
What’s so great about traditional farming?
When it comes to traditional farming, or extensive farming as it is often known, the concept is much easier to grasp. The animals are left to do exactly what they want; roam around, graze at their leisure and live life as nature intended.
Farming through this method doesn’t require the use of chemicals or pesticides, so the fields remain a high quality and the soil maintains its correct pH balance. In other words, extensive or traditional farming has very little negative impact on the environment.
This can be incredibly important if you’re conscious of where your food comes from, as you can rest assured that animal welfare has been a priority. Raising stock on a natural diet in a large field, instead of penned in, traditional farming allows a more mindful way of eating meat.
What’s more, buying meat that has been reared this way can also provide health benefits. The meat will naturally have higher levels of vitamins, minerals and Omega3s. This is because the animals have been reared properly and have been able to live a natural life.
So, if you’re not already thinking about where your meat comes from, now might be the time!