The newest study that supports organic farming and free ranging livestock for better quality meat comes from England. Researchers studied French rural communities where there is a long standing tradition of associating the ecological quality of the land with the quality of the food produced on it.
Cattle and sheep grazed on natural grasslands help maintain biodiversity and produce tastier, healthier meat, according to a study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Pasture-based farming is good for the environment, the consumer and the producer but needs stronger support from government to reach its full potential.
Detailed analysis of the nutritional qualities of the plants the animals ate on the natural grasslands showed that they provided grazing animals with a richer more diverse diet with free ranging animals equals richer diet and tastier meat than the more intensive farming.
Biodiverse beef from cattle breeds such as Longhorn was more tender and more flavor intense than meat from conventional breeds.
Chemical analysis showed that the meat from biodiverse raised animals like wild-grazed lambs, especially those grazed on heather, had higher levels of the natural antioxidant, vitamin E, than meat from animals grazed on improved grass land.
Biodiverse meat had higher levels of healthy fatty acids including the long chain omega 3 fatty acid, DHA, thought to play a key role in brain development and to protect against heart disease.
Biodiverse meat had higher levels of the anti-carcinogenic compound, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) from lambs grazed on moorland and Longhorn cattle grazed on unimproved pastures than in control meat.
Ecological quality of the land with the quality of the food produced on it should have more support to encourage groups of farmers to work together to link the natural qualities of biodiverse grasslands to areas larger than individual farms ,because quality of the place and the relationship between the agricultural and ecological landscape is so important.
Biodiversity Passes The Taste Test And Is Healthier Too – Staff Seed Daily, London, UK (SPX) January 21, 2009
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