I know this is a massive topic for 500 words, but especially today with all of the animal rights activists, I feel that it’s important to preserve our tradition of field-to-fork eating.
This impacts us all! Most of us eat meat; and I suppose if you are a BASC member, there’s a likelihood that you hunt some yourself. Game meat is highly underrated. Unfortunately, it’s seen as a very niche option, mainly because it’s not so readily available in supermarkets. However, many game meats are low in fat and high in protein, especially compared to domestic chicken/lamb.
Another example of ethical meat eating is buying through smallholdings, butchers, and directly from farms. Animals that have been raised free-range are healthier and have had a far superior quality of life. This really does make a difference in the quality of their meat (plus their dairy and egg produce). Again, this is more expensive where it’s available, but for both the health and wellbeing of the animals, and the quality of what’s produced, it is a much better ethical option.
So, what can we do?
It’s also important to keep the game you shoot. Pheasant and partridge are especially easy to prepare to eat, and you can always freeze the meat. There are so many creative ideas for cooking with game as well, it’s very versatile, and there is a huge range of what meat you can have.
I’d also make sure to support local farmers. Around us, farmers have opened vending machines for milk – you buy glass bottles, then pay £1 per litre of fresh milk. It’s much tastier, ensures you are keeping the cows healthier and support a local business.
You could keep your own chickens too. They don’t need much: water, a trough full of pellets, a hutch, and some grass to scrabble around in. They are low maintenance and actually surprisingly affectionate – even cuddly. They make great meat birds, and you can prepare them for the oven yourself. You could also try rescuing ex-layers; there’s a charity that rescues ex-laying hens from supermarket chains, the hens are only 18 months old, and only cost £3-5 per bird. They still lay beautifully, and it’s great seeing them learn how to be ‘proper’ chickens outside of cages.
It is a little harder to get a hold of some free-range products and game meat. However, if you are willing to search for it, it really has a positive impact on not only the animals, but the farmers and potentially you yourself as well.