The future of meat eating

Is meat eating bad for the planet? Is it ethical? Should we stop eating meat altogether and switch to purely plant based diets? These are questions we see and hear regularly nowadays.

As a business we are passionate lovers of the countryside and I was really pleased to have the opportunity to meet Stuart Raw today at his stunning farm in Castle Bolton, Wensleydale. We actually use some of his beef in our pies and it was so valuable to talk to him about his farming approach. I learnt so much in just a few hours about how he raises his animals, his conservation efforts (including managing the land to help endangered birds such as Lapwings to thrive on it) along with seeing just how well these animals are cared for and reared as part of a regenerative and truly natural system that utilises the incredible upland of the Yorkshire Dales. This is true organic farming where the animals are eating foraged based diets with very little supplementary feed throughout their lives. This grazing method is highly conducive to soil health and carbon sequestration and allows wild plants and other fauna to thrive in conjunction with the animals keeping the land fertile. This is land that could not be used for other purposes and without grazing and careful management would turn into unproductive scrubland over time.

So I believe that when it comes to eating meat and the ethical and environmental effects, not all meat is created equal. There's an enormous difference in intensively raised systems where it is all about squeezing every last penny out of the process and a farming approach such as Stuart's which displays care and respect for both the animals and the landscape. So let's choose to eat better meat and look at weaning ourselves off the badly produced mass market meat that we have become addicted to!

The animals in the picture are a very rare breed called White Park cows which Stuart is trying to protect and grow as a breed. They are stunning creatures and I am told the meat is unbelievable!