What does "free-range" mean?
The term "free-range" denotes a more humane and ethical approach to animal farming, emphasizing the animals' well-being and quality of life. Unlike conventional factory farming, free-range animals are granted access to outdoor spaces where they can roam, graze, and express their natural behaviors. Below we explore 6 reasons why free-range meat is the better choice.
1. Healthy Animals, Healthy Meat
Livestock raised through free-range grazing have the opportunity to eat when they like, move freely where they want, and rest in a low-stress environment. These animals are less prone to illness and poor living conditions, so there is no need for preventive antibiotics. Additionally, they naturally get more exercise, resulting in high-quality, well-developed, healthy meat.
2. Improved Quality
Animals that are raised in a natural environment, consuming natural feed, tend to produce high-quality meat. This shines through particularly in the texture and nutrition. For instance, free-range grass-fed cattle are known to yield meat with a well-balanced mix of nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, zinc, taurine, and a high protein-to-fat ratio.
3. Improved Flavor Profile
The taste/flavor of meat is heavily influenced by what the animals have been eating. Livestock raised in free-range environments, depending on the animal species and the farm, often feed on natural pasture grass and wild plants. You can enjoy the rich flavor profile unique to pasture-raised meat, thanks to their natural diet. Of course they are also often given supplemental feed, so that too must be taken into consideration.
4. Animal Welfare
Needless to say, free-range livestock farming adheres to animal welfare principles, especially compared to factory farming. Livestock raised free-range live cleaner, healthier, and less stressful lives. Choosing free-range meat indirectly supports the welfare of these animals and contributes to the success of farmers who choose to raise their animals free-range.
5. Environmental Impact
Free-range is one of the traditional methods of livestock rearing and is a sustainable way of raising livestock with a low environmental impact. Free-range livestock have less need for intensive resource consumption. Grazing animals often have a diet based on pasture and natural vegetation, which means fewer greenhouse gas emissions associated with industrial feed production. Additionally, free-range systems typically promote sustainable land management and preserve biodiversity. Overall, choosing free-range meat helps minimize the environmental impact of meat production and supports more ecologically friendly farming practices.
6. Exclusive and Hard to Find
In addition to pastured beef and pastured pork, here at Horizon Farms we also offer free-range chicken and turkey, which can be very hard to find in Japan. Both of these meats are produced in and directly imported from New Zealand. New Zealand's vast pasturelands and low risk of avian influenza outbreaks make it possible to raise pastured chicken and pastured turkey in a stable manner. You can enjoy clean and healthy poultry, as well as all of our other free-range meats with peace of mind at Horizon Farms.
Disclaimer: Please note that while our explanations are correct they are very simplified for shortness and understanding. We encourage you to do further research on this topic.
|About the author: Sam Tumeh (Founder & CEO of Horizon Farms, Inc.) has joined the consumer food and meat industry of Japan in 2010.