Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Nativised" Verses Heritage Breeds

Joel Salatin makes the case for, what he has termed, "nativised" animals, verses heritage breeds.  I recently read an article he wrote on this, and, must admit, that I am intrigued.  Mr. Salatin always stirs the emotions and intellect and I am glad to trust his wisdom.

The gist of his argument is that heritage breeds (rare breeds) are fine.  It is a good thing to do your part to preserve the breed and propigate it.  The problem begins at, well, the beginning.  When purchasing the heritage breeds, the price tags often associated with them is very large.  This make the profit margin smaller.  In order to recoup what you have invested, you have to charge the same or more, to sell the animal.  In simplified terms, the meat is more expensive, but doesn't taste any different.  At least not enough difference to warrant the price tag.  The truth is that a heritage breedre can price themselves right out of business.  You have to be wealthy to maintain your herd.  Again, this is fine, if that is what you want to do.

But, if your goal is to provide good food without the injections, additives, hormones, antibiotics, poked, prodded, sardine style raised, mud bath, fecal dust, then the high priced rare breeds are silly.  He makes the case for what he calls nativised breeds.  These are your standard, plentiful breeds of animals.

But they are the same animals that the industrial, mechanical facilities use!  I hear you, but hear me out before you bring out the torches and the pitchforks.  Again, in simplified terms, it is not the breed that makes the meat healthy, eatable and injection free.  It is the way it was raised.  In other words, taking the animal, regardless of breed, and placing it in its natural invironment.  You know, nativising it.  Bringing the animal back to its native land.  It is letting a bovine be a bovine.  Brining out the pigness of the pig, the chickeness of the chicken, etc.

Once again, I must thank Mr. Salatin for causing a paradigm shift in my brain.  Now I face a difficult decision, one I have not reached, completely.  I will say that I may, now, be leaning toward the nativised.  My problem is that I really, really like the Dexter breed.  The smaller cuts of meat make for great storage in the freezer for a small family.  They eat less than larger breeds, that is a big plus.  They are gentle by nature and thrive on grass.  On the other, other hand, I can't afford to buy into a herd much less two to get started.  This brings me back to nativised, I can afford that. Hmmm......

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