Know Your Beef – Buy British

It’s usually around this time of year that a large contingent of Veganuary enthusiasts re-join the meat-eating population, to which we ask: why adjust your eating habits for just the one month each year?

Know your beef

This may seem odd coming from a business that primarily deals in charcuterie made from beef, viewed by many as sustainability enemy number one and “carbon-releasing machines”. However, we know that beef production varies drastically across the world in terms of environmental impact.

Louise Gray recently wrote in her Guardian article ‘Life after Veganuary: the ethical guide to eating meat, eggs and dairy’ that:

“much of the information you read about the planet-wrecking capability of cows is based on the most extreme scenario. Yes, grazing cattle on pasture that used to be rainforest releases a lot of carbon dioxide. Yes, cattle kept on feedlots in the US midwest use a lot of water. But there is an easy way to avoid this – buy British”.

There is even an argument, backed by Richard Young of the Sustainability Food Trust among others, that pasture-fed British beef can be less damaging to the environment. This is due to Britain’s substantial reserves of carbon dioxide rich wet grassland that is good for little else than supporting grazing animals.

Britain also ranks in the highest echelon when it comes to animal welfare. The majority of British cattle are kept outdoors, able to enjoy relatively long, good quality lives.

The Woza Approach

At Woza we’ve always said that eating meat is a privilege, not a right. We’ve also advocated that we all eat less but better-quality meat all year round. Quality in this context essentially meaning ethically produced. Firstly, because of the environmental benefits but also because we’ve found it it undeniably true and quite serendipitous that ethically raised animals produce superior tasting meat!

The only trade off, as we see it, is that producing beef to the highest ethical standards is a costly business. This means that British beef tends to be more expensive than alternatives but, surely, this premium is justifiable given the broader context.

At Woza we deal only with certified British beef and venison suppliers that adhere to the highest ethical and sustainability standards. We hope that more follow and support this approach to ensure continued access to better tasting, if slightly less, beef for us all for a long time to come.