When it comes to the argument about sustainability, we believe that grass-fed, free-range meat, poultry and game is better for not only us, but also the animals and helps to support more natural ecology.
At the Dorset Meat Company, our grass-fed, outdoor reared meat is sourced from animals that have been reared on small, family-run Dorset and Wiltshire farms and on lush, natural pastures. Eating meat from animals that themselves have only eaten a natural diet of grass, wildflowers, clovers and legumes, rich in essential vitamins and minerals and untainted by chemicals and pesticides, makes a whole lot of sense. It’s a healthy choice to make, and we believe strongly that small-scale farming is better for everyone, from the farmer to the animal, to the local ecology, and ultimately for you – grass-feeding produces exceptionally tasting, ethically reared meat that you can trust completely.
Perversely, we have to agree that we would advocate for eating less meat, however, when meat is on the menu, we need to ensure it’s of the highest quality and is produced in a way that respects nature, the environment and the animal.
But are there real, tangible health benefits from eating grass-fed, ethically reared meat?
As we’re sure you know, there has been a lot said when it comes to food production and sustainability. Farming is as old as the hills, but the way in which our food has been produced has changed dramatically over the years with the advent of mechanised, industrial farming on a large-scale becoming the new norm. These newer practices have brought some pretty adverse consequences to our environment and wildlife and, most likely, our health.
Put simply, eating 100% grass-fed (or pasture-fed), outdoor-reared, free-range meat, poultry and game is better for all involved, us, the animals, the environment and helps to support and preserve a more biodiverse, natural ecology.
Reputable studies have shown that grass-fed beef (as opposed to grain-fed) has a better ratio of Omega 3 (the good fat found in oily fish) to Omega 6. It has also been found to be high in antioxidants, such as vitamin E, and contains higher vitamin and mineral levels. Medical practitioners and dieticians have suggested that having Omega 3 as part of your diet will help lower blood pressure and assist with depression. It would appear that grass-fed meat has more CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid), a type of fat that’s thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks and that the higher mineral and vitamin content can help the immune system. This is in contrast to grain-fed animals, who have shorter lives, plus the grain being full of carbohydrates means that it is converted to sugar and fat, which we all know aren’t good for us.
100% grass-fed animals that are reared in a natural, outdoor environment surrounded by bugs and germs develop better immune systems and, because they are free to roam and therefore work their muscles more, produce less saturated fat. Which is, in turn, good for us.
This method of rearing animals means that there are plenty of antioxidants to take advantage of too. It’s the way that we raise our animals and as such, our meat is full of carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, which are sourced from the pigments in the greens that the animals eat. Whatever your livestock, be they cattle, pigs or chickens, if they are crowded into pens with limited sunlight, they are likely to have compromised immune systems and be more susceptible to diseases, which in turn will require antibiotic intervention. It’s not a healthy way to produce food for your family.
Instead of allowing livestock to live in a natural environment is much better. Environments that support grass-fed animals are alive with hedge and ground-nesting birds and small mammals seeking cover from predatory birds and the rich wildflowers and clovers provide a wonderful habitat for an array of insects, all of which contribute to a better biodiverse ecology to produce your food.
Want to find out more about how we rear our cattle and to order our products? Please visit www.thedorsetmeatcompany.co.uk or call 01747 811077. We deliver across the UK every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday straight to your door.
Images supplied by Dorset Meat Company.