There is a great concern these days about the quality of our food. And rightly so because so much of it production has been taken over by large corporations that are more concerned with shareholder profits, than providing health products for our families.
In the area of food animals and particularly beef, there is a great demand that the conditions that cows are placed in, what a they are fed, and how they are slaughtered be improved greatly in order to allow us to feel better, and to give us the highest quality and healthiest beef.
This demand has caused a growth in small free range farms who sell their beef through companies like Cannings Free Range Butchers and locally through certain butcher shops, are alternatives to the large corporate farms, and offer better products and more humane conditions for their animals. Here are some of the benefits you get when you buy their beef.
What is Free Range Beef?
Free range means that for no period of time, have the cows been refused access to fully open air, and natural open pasture. The term also dictates certain animal stocking densities which must not be breached. Free range is natural and should not be confused with organic which is a lower distinction.
Free Range Tastes Better
Free range beef is simply better looking and tasting. First, the meat has a better color because free range cows are more active and develop increased circulation and capillary formation, and even when fully cooked the meat will retain a rosy quality that may make one think it is underdone. This is the way farm raised always looked, but if you have never seen it before it can be surprising. There is also more flavor in the meat because of a better diet than the one served to grain-fed cows. Also free range beef has much less fat adding to its fuller taste.
Free Range is Healthier
It has been proven that grass-fed beef is healthier than grain-fed beef. It is up to three times leaner, and can have up to 15 fewer calories per ounce than meat from a grain-fed cow. Grass-fed beef also provides 2 to 4 times more vitamin E, more beta-carotene, and more balanced omega-3s and omega-6 fatty acids than grain fed beef. These vitamins help guard against a variety of ailments. Researchers have also found grass-fed beef also contains two newly discovered "good" fats, including CLA which it has at rates of up to four times higher. These benefits reduce dramatically when the animals are grain finished, so when purchasing grass fed beef you need to ask for 100% grass fed.
Mad cow disease has never been found in grass fed beef, and it is far less likely to contain dangerous E. coli bacteria. Grass-fed beef has no extra hormones and no antibiotics, so it is cleaner and more wholesome meat. Feedlot cattle often eat all kinds of garbage with their grain, including chicken manure, chicken feathers, newsprint, cardboard and garbage.
Free Range is Better for the Animals
Free range cows spend their entire lives in pasture out on the range. They are never confined to feedlots where they are crowded in with other animals. Nor are they restricted as to when they can eat. Further, they are never fed routine antibiotics and growth hormones, though they are vaccinated and treated if they become ill. They live their lives like a cow would normally before that are slaughtered, which is also done humanely.