People who eat meat are putting aside their cookbooks to explore the very beginning of meat preparation—slaughtering and butchering. OregonLive.com’s recent article “Conscious Carnivores, Ethical Butchers are Changing Food Culture” is a great look at the burgeoning movement to get really hands-on with your meat. People are signing up in droves to learn to butcher meat themselves and to learn about the slaughter process so that they can be assured their meat really comes from humanely raised animals. Of course, this is music to our ears—AWA has long advocated for the highest birth-to-slaughter standards and believes people should be well-educated about every step of the production process. Thoroughly knowing how meat gets from farm to table is the responsibility of everyone who enjoys a grassfed hamburger or pastured bacon.
A new report by the United Nations has added credence to the view that sustainable grazing and pasture management can significantly contribute to the fight against global climate change. Entitled, “Review on Evidence on Dryland Pastoral Systems and Climate Change,” this paper offers much-needed discussion about the role that pasture can play in our efforts to mitigate carbon emissions and preserve these important carbon-sequestering ecosystems.
Pasturelands are under increasing pressure from development, salinization, overgrazing and transition to annual cropping for grain production (much of which goes to livestock feed). However, if properly managed they represent a carbon sink that could be even greater than forests.
Alec and Sara Bradford raise Animal Welfare Approved cattle, pigs and turkeys on Leaping Waters Farm, in Shawsville, Virginia. This Southwest Virginia farm was established in 2004 and is located on 325 acres of Blue Ridge mountain valleys. The Bradfords raise Large Black pigs and White Park cattle (both rare breeds) on pasture on their sustainable, “beyond organic” farm. White Park cattle are believed to have lived in the British Isles more than 2000 years ago, a history that is partly what attracted the Bradfords to the breed. “I also find the meat to be extremely flavorful,” says Alec. “And because they were traditionally feral, White Parks thrive on the grass, weeds and brush that cover the hilly pastures of our farm.” The Bradfords’ White Park cattle are exclusively grassfed, contributing not only to their taste, but also the nutritional value of the meat.
Allen and Robin Cockerline raise Animal Welfare Approved cattle on Whipoorwill Farm, in Lakeville, Connecticut. All of their cattle are raised on pasture and are strictly hay and grassfed, and are never given hormones or unnecessary antibiotics. The Cockerlines say, “Our cows eat only grass and hay (no grains) for a healthy, flavorful meat that is lean, yet high in omega 3 fats. “
Sophie and Craig Meili raise Animal Welfare approve beef cattle, pigs, and laying chickens on Meili Farm in Amenia, NY. The farm was purchased in the 1960S by Craig’s father, “… long before a farm in upstate New York was anything but a dreary slog into the hinterlands,” Sophie writes. Today, the couple sure are grateful for Craig’s father’s good foresight!
By Andrew Gunther
| January 25, 2010
Tyson Foods’ recent agreement to settle a lawsuit for falsely advertising its “raised without antibiotics” chicken brand has received limited media coverage – no doubt to the relief of the company’s boardroom. And with an annual turnover of nearly $27 billion, they probably won’t sweat too much over the $5 million that the company must now shell out as compensation to unhappy customers.
In falsely marketing its chicken meat as produced from birds “raised without antibiotics” while still feeding them antibiotics, Tyson Foods was shamelessly exploiting the growing public concern over the excessive use of antibiotics in industrial farming, particularly in the form of non-therapeutic growth promoters.
But while the intensive meat industry continues to vigorously oppose any attempts to reduce antibiotic use in farming, the irony is that Tyson Foods may well have inadvertently shot itself in the foot by publicly admitting that the overuse of certain antibiotics in industrial farming really is a threat to human health.
This Lil’ Piggy Farm, located in Weirsdale, Florida, is owned and operated by Rhonda Williams. Rhonda breeds and raises Heritage Yorkshire, Duroc, and Gloucester Old Spot mix or F3 breeding. She also specializes in working with FFA/4-H groups, as well as family farms. Rhonda has been raising pigs for most of her life and is happy to be guiding the next generation of farmers by providing training to others. Rhonda believes it is important to personally spend time with the animals she raises and to educate consumers about the importance of choosing environmentally responsible and high-welfare pork. Please visit http://lilpiggy.webs.com for more information.
Nestled on the edge of the beautiful Uwharrie National Forest in central North Carolina, Hilltop Angus Farm raises cows the way nature intended. A small family farm of 170 acres, Hilltop cattle enjoy the simplicity of life outside: grass, water, and plenty of sunshine. The herd forages throughout their lifetime in open pasture on high-quality, nutritious annual and perennial grasses. Hilltop Angus Farm is very proud to be a member of both Animal Welfare Approved and the American Grassfed Association. Their family is dedicated to the wellbeing of their land and animals and to bringing rich-tasting, healthy beef to their customers as well as their own family. Hilltop beef can be found at local Farmers’ Markets, on the farm, and is featured at several area restaurants.
Where does our school food come from and how is it produced?
To investigate some of these issues, Animal Welfare Approved sponsored a one-week, three-city tour for the UK Dinner Lady, Jeanette Orrey. Jeanette is credited with changing school food in the UK, and AWA sponsored this visit to promote cross cultural dialogue and share her experiences with people working to make change in several US school districts. Following two days in New York City, the tour continued south (via Amtrak), to Baltimore City Public Schools and Arlington (Virginia) Public Schools. (Pictured: Nancy Easton and Chef Bill Telepan of NYC nonprofit, Wellness in the Schools and Baltimore City Schools’ Great Kids Farm Manager Greg Strella.)
We had a great visit yesterday with our friends at Queens County Farm Museum. Pictured is Amy Fischetti-Boncardo, Executive Director, Jeanette Orrey, UK Dinner Lady, Andrew Gunther, AWA Program Director and Michael Grady Robertson, Director of Agriculture for the Queens Farm. Our discussion focused on nutritious school food and ways we can work together to effect changes. The Farm hosts more than 250,000 school children annually who get the opportunity to see live farm animals and get an idea of where their food comes from. Joining us on this continuing journey were Chef Bill Telepan, Wellness in the Schools’ Nancy Easton and AWA staffer Brigid Sweeney.