Get this. The National Trust has commissioned some research that has come to the stunning conclusion that….’we believe that optimised beef production – deliberately accomodating less than maximum output in order to secure stronger and broader ecosystem protection – is the best sustainable use for the grasslands in our care’.
This takes into account the fact that cattle raised in more intensive systems where they are fed largely on cereals produce les methane, and that this has been perceived as being good for the environment what with methane being one of the infamous greenhouse gases.
And the carbon footprint of grass-fed farms is much the same as intensive cereal-feeding farms.
The issue is all about the contribution of carbon sequestration made by well managed grassland: this can reduce net carbon emmissions by up to 94%. In some cases, in amongst all the belching and farting, these farms become carbon negative.
Oh, and meat from animals fed only on grass has higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids and lower levels of saturated fat than grain fed beef.
Conclusion: if you open the doors and let the cattle out into the field, their meat is better for those that eat it, and their lifestyle is better not only for them but also for the planet as a whole.
How is it that this also sounds like a simple and logical thing to do, yet for years we’d imagined that factory-feeding these creatures on a diet their metabolism and physiology is not geared for, would somehow be better??