Grass-Fed, Free-Roaming: Better For You and The Animal’s Health

I am a meat-eating vegetable lover. I have tried the vegan approach due to my love of veggies but after a couple of weeks, I truly missed the textures of chicken, red meat and fish. Out of those 3, chicken is by far my most favourite and the one I eat consistently more of.

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I get my chicken direct from Gartmorn Farm in Alloa. They are rearers of Scottish free-range turkeys, chickens, ducks and geese. I buy in bulk (100 x 250g) chicken breasts in the one order. Obviously, this comes at a substantial financial expense, however I only travel to the farm once every 5 months and have the peace of mind to know that good quality, “non-commercially farmed” meat, is in abundance in our house. I have had a tour round the poultry farm, seen first-hand the kind of natural conditions the animals are reared in and also the abattoir the animals are butchered in. The produce is excellent; the animals live a natural, happy, non-caged existence and they are butchered as humanly as possible.

The guys at Gartmorn Farm now take online orders then deliver and also attend farmers markets, so you don’t need to go along to collect direct from the farm like I do.

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Likewise, I buy my red meat either direct from the farm shop or via online order with next day delivery. The orders come vacuum-packed and ready to be frozen. There are a number of places to go to get good quality grass-fed meat from but we mainly use Paleo Nutrition Wales and Devon Rose. Some students have also used another site, Athleat, which also comes highly recommended.

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My fish comes from the fishmonger or supermarket.  I aim for the best produce possible but to be honest, I very seldom eat fish.

Our eggs are free-range and again, bought in bulk from the farm shop.

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So, why “free-roaming, pasture-fed” meat?

Firstly, I do not agree with the way factory-farmed meat and poultry is produced. You only have to watch on YouTube how the chickens, pigs, and cows are treated. In my opinion, it is wrong, inhumane and I actually feel disgusted when watching the standard practices used. These are the products ordered and sold by the supermarkets.

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An unhappy, unnaturally fed animal = sub-standard produce. A typical supermarket chicken today contains more than twice the fat, and about a third less protein than 40 years ago.

Commercially-farmed animals are kept in cramped, unhealthy conditions where bacteria is rife. The beaks of chickens, turkeys and ducks are often removed in factory farms to reduce the excessive feather-pecking and cannibalism seen among stressed, overcrowded birds. Animals are injected with growth inducing substances to increase their size, fed on grains, sprayed with pesticides and antibiotics and are generally unhappy. All these components affect the quality of the meat.

There is a lot of information on the web about these issues. Check out this link to the PETA site or this one from Collective Evolution if you are interested in finding out more. Some things may shock you.

Investing in your health and tantalising your taste buds.

The general opinion is the free-roaming, pasture-fed is too expensive. I don’t find that to be true. In some cases, it can be a bit dearer but for your own peace of mind and level of health, that investment can go a long way. Also, if you like the taste of great locally sourced food, it’s a no-brainer. Why not check out farms in your local area and see what they have on offer in terms of produce? Do what we did and go along for a visit to check out the conditions for yourself.

On another point, I am supporting local business direct or indirectly the farmers rearing animals in a more natural and healthier way.