Grass fed meat: Better for you, better for the environment
We strongly believe that grass fed meat is more nutritious and delicious than intensively reared meat. Here’s why:
Our beef and lamb boxes are all made up with prime cuts of grass fed meat. Why? Because the Skylark Produce team really does believe that a return to traditional farming methods is a step in the right direction for wellbeing, animal welfare, our countryside, and the fight against climate change.
What is grass fed meat?
Grass fed meat, as opposed to intensively farmed meat, is exactly what the name suggests. Cattle, sheep, goats and sometimes even poultry are fed entirely with grass. Just as nature intended, That means that they graze in carefully managed areas all year round and for their entire life.
If fresh grass is in short supply during the winter. The animals’ diet is supplemented with hay and/or silage. Both of which are produced by preserving and storing - yes - you guessed it - grass.
Animal welfare - Why grass fed systems are better for the animals
Cattle, sheep and goats are herbivores, they have evolved to thrive on a diet of green plants. Not beans, not soya, not recycled waste - fresh green plants. Grass fed animals are ones that have been fed as nature intended.
A grass fed system however, is not just about animal nutrition. It’s about raising contented beasts with a high level of wellbeing. From an animal welfare perspective, it’s crucial that any species is allowed to practise their natural behaviours. Dogs need to sniff, birds need to fly, and grazing animals such as cattle and sheep need plenty of space. They need the freedom to roam and the opportunity to choose whether they want to lie in the shade or stand in the sun. They also need the company of their own kind and the chance to browse all day long (which is what their body is designed to do). Happier animals are more relaxed and trust me, that is definitely reflected in the quality of the meat.
To squish these animals into a covered shed, with concrete and waste under foot and fodder dished up a few times a day, just isn’t what they want, or need. Cow’s aren’t built to eat beans, Feed cattle grass and their digestive system will thank you for it.
Outdoors - a healthier environment for optimum health and better meat
Think for a moment about fresh air. With the COVID Pandemic still ongoing, humans are being encouraged to keep windows open wherever possible because fresh air is a superb biosecurity measure. Cattle and sheep aren’t susceptible to COVID but there are other illnesses that need to be guarded against. Sheep and cows get coughs and sneezes too! Fresh air and social distancing for sheep and cattle are excellent preventative measures. Well managed, grass fed animals have access to plenty of both.
There is a theory that grass fed animals are generally healthier when living on biodiverse meadows, Which makes perfect sense. Before the advent of the NHS, wildflower meadows were a rich source of the medicinal plants and herbal remedies used by people to boost their health. Species-rich pasture in cattle can reduce to reliance on anthelmintics (anti-parasitic drugs) and antibiotics which reduce vet bills. plant species such as chicory, birds-foot trefoil and sainfoin are proven to have medicinal and anti-bloating properties. Allowing cattle to graze on biodiverse pastures also increases yields, improving meat and dairy products.
Better for you: The nutritional benefits of grass fed meat
Whilst its great to know that your meat has come from healthy, happy animals; at the end of the day, you are buying it to nourish yourself and your family. we have great news on that front too, as Grass fed meat is so much higher in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.
Why? Well we’ve already talked about the benefits of eating a range of fresh grass and herbs. But think of the alternative. The concentrate fed to intensively reared beasts is the equivalent to our fast food. It’s formulated for fast weight gain. In that way the animal can be slaughtered at a younger age for faster cash flow. Imagine what would happen to your body if you Intensively fed, eating only takeaways and convenience food. Excess visceral fat, poor muscle tone, circulation and heart problems and maybe even depression. In other words, a pretty poor quality of life.
In some countries of the world, animals have their concentrated feed supplemented with antibiotics and drugs to speed their growth. The meat may cost less to buy, but do you want to eat meat that is anything but 100% natural? We don’t! WE’d rather a little less meat from animals that have had a healthy and happy lifestyle.
Better for countryside and environment
The UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows since the 1940’s but did you know that the farmers who supply meat to Skylark Produce are all advocates of restorative farming?
That means that our fabulous producers do their utmost to increase and support biodiversity on their land. They actively avoid applying herbicides and pesticides; They keep stock numbers low so that the meadows do not be come exhausted and they care for trees and hedges to encourage a strong ecosystem.
One big strain on our environment comes from the over use of chemical fertilisers. Wildflowers hate soil that is too rich in nutrients, and so too much fertiliser damages biodiversity. But putting biodiversity aside, you may have heard on the news recently that chemical fertiliser is made from gas - a fossil fuel.
On many soil types, it’s barely possible to grow crops without applying some sort of fertiliser. And we do have to consider food security. However, a permanent grass meadow is pretty good at sustaining itself provided that it is carefully managed. Moving the cattle regularly so that the grass can recover helps a lot. It also gives the dung beetles and soil microbes an opportunity to recycle the waste and turn them into the plant nutrients that will sustain the grass.
Skylark Produce takes great care to source cattle and sheep from farmers who actively engage in regenerative farming practices, Doing everything possible to encourage sustainable soil health and a strong ecosystem.
Grass fed meat - the ethical choice
Eating grass fed meat has nutritional advantages for you, welfare advantages for the animals involved and environmental benefits due to less intensive farming - what’s not to like?
Gram for gram, compared to products such as fish, grass fed meat is a cost effective and sustainable way of buying good quality protein, without the worry.
What are you waiting for? Try one of our ethically produced meat boxes today. Order online for delivery direct to your door.