Slow Meat: Sustainable Livestock Farming
Over the last 70 years the industrialization of livestock farming has led to increasingly large and polluting farms. These are factories for meat of the worst quality, paid for by the animals who live in conditions that are entirely unnatural, though they are also putting human health at risk. The system has swept away small-scale farmers, many of whom lived and worked in marginal environments where they were essential to preserving the equilibrium of the landscape and preserving quality agriculture.
Good livestock management is vital to good agriculture.
Farmers—and consumers—should take this as a starting point for rethinking livestock farming, seeking a natural relationship with the land and the animals in order to offer quality meat for consumption in smaller quantities, but bringing greater pleasure and better health.
- … farming extensively outdoors on pasture, whenever the weather allows.
- Respecting the animals’ natural growth rhythms
- Prioritizing hardy local breeds and preserving biodiversity
- Not forcing reproductive periods by deseasonalizing heats
- Avoiding corn silage and supplementing grazing only with hay and natural and local feed, if possible grown by the farmer themselves
- Limiting treatment with antibiotics, i.e. not using them preventatively/systematically but only when essential to curing an animal
- Not practicing mutilations
- Not transporting animals for long distances to reach the slaughterhouse and ensuring that at all times the animals are spared suffering and panic
- Practicing farming on a human scale, in other words with smaller dimensions, making it possible to preserve a relationship with the animals and the natural context
- Making processed products without using synthetic ingredients like artificial preservatives and other additives
Slow Food Presidia livestock farms follow strict production rules. You can find the producers listed here. By buying their products you are helping them to continue their biodiversity-preservation work.
There are also many other virtuous farmers who practice quality farming and respect their animals. Read some of their stories here.