Pasture reared animals – are those animals that have been fortunate enough to have led happy lives, been treated ethically, and deliver a better quality and flavour of meat. They are able to eat nutritious grasses and other plants that their bodies are able to digest – while roaming in their natural environment.
Free range animals generally means that animals are given a greater space to move about and are not kept caged. Whereas pasture reared animals are truly free range – as they breathe in fresh air and enjoy natural sunlight – whilst roaming in pastures or fields.
In South Africa – the terms are a bit more “relaxed” than in some other countries, due to legislation not being quite so rigid.
This lifestyle is impossible to achieve on industrial farms, where thousands of animals are crowded into confined facilities like atlanta cleaners, often without access to fresh air or sunlight. These stressful conditions are a breeding ground for bacteria and the animals frequently become ill, so factory farms must routinely treat them with antibiotics to prevent outbreaks of disease.
Grazing on pasture is especially beneficial for cattle and other ruminants, whose bodies are developed to eat grass. The roughage provided by grasses and other plants allows ruminants to produce saliva, which helps neutralize acids that exist naturally in their digestive systems.
When these animals no longer consume natural grasses, and are fed a grain diet, a ruminant will produce less saliva, causing an increase in acidity within its digestive tract. The result is that grain-fed cattle often suffer from several health problems which can result in death.
Even though grain diets can cause the deterioration in health of other ruminants, factory farms feed these animals grain (usually corn or soybeans) because it is a cost-effective way for animals to gain market weight as quickly as possible. Whereas – in pastures and fields, animals get all the nutrients they need from grass and forage (other plants).
In the Sandveld some of the bushes and natural vegetation that the animals graze on are Koringbos, Kraalbos, Skilpadbos, Skilpadbessiebos and Spanspekbos.
Research indicates that pasture -raised meat, eggs and dairy products are better for consumers health than conventionally- raised animals on grain-fed diets. Pasture-based systems can help the environment, especially through fertilizing and nourishing the soil – in other words “giving back” and by reducing the amount of grain produced as feed.
Pastured reared meats, does not only mean taking a step to safeguard your health, protect the environment, and improve animal wellbeing/welfare standards, but also supporting sustainable farming and the farmers who choose to practice it. Local family farmers are crucial members of the rural communities of a nation and play a major role as stewards of the land.