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Cheshire Wildlife Trust: 'Buy local to ensure quality meat'
BUYING local is the only way to be certain of what’s on your plate, according to Cheshire Wildlife Trust.
The conservation charity has spoken out following the horsemeat scandal, and says that buying local is a ‘sure fire way’ of knowing the story behind your meat.
Cheshire Wildlife Trust (CWT) has been managing herds of traditional native-breed sheep and livestock out of its south Cheshire Bickley Farm headquarters since 2006.
In recent years, CWT has introduced meat from the herds into the consumer market in a bid to secure the future of its conservation scheme where cattle and sheep are used to benefit wildlife across nature reserves.
The flocks of sheep and herds of cattle are put to use on around 10 of the trust’s own wildlife sites and by other landowners including the RSPB, Forestry Commission and National Trust.
In doing so, customers of the resulting meat are assured of the background, welfare and grazing fodder of the animals before they enter the food chain.
“Customer confidence has been put to the test recently, and one of the sure fire ways to be certain of the story behind your meat is to buy local,” said Heather Hulse, project officer with CWT.
“At the trust, we have the highest levels of welfare, through healthy long-lived herds with full traceability – and ultimately a tastier product at the table that delivers for wildlife too.”
Recent studies by Bristol University suggest that beef raised in low-intensity, unimproved grasslands are lower in saturated fat and calories while boasting increased antioxidants.
Heather added: “What we’re talking about here is demonstrating that a low-intensity conservation-driven method of managing livestock can also look after itself financially.
“The animals are a crucial part of how we manage habitats like heathlands and wildflower meadows, but looking after them still incurs a cost.
“By maintaining cost-effective, optimum herd sizes and proving some of what we have to the consumer means that we can recoup some of those costs, while bringing locally-raised high quality meat to the marketplace.”
To see where you can buy conservation-grazed meat in your area, visit cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk