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Meet Chris. He lives as part of a small herd on some rich pasture, cared for by farmers but generally left to eat as much grass as he likes and just enjoy being a calf.
Chris will live longer and grow slower than industrially farmed cattle, whose lives are almost the exact opposite of his.
For many beef cattle, the majority of their life is spent indoors on hard flooring or crowded on industrial feedlots where they are fed concentrated feeds. These grain-based feeds may be grown many miles away, or even in another country.
The stress of overcrowding and poor conditions of industrially farmed cattle means not only that they cannot behave as cattle should – grazing and exercising on pasture – but also that they can be more prone to health problems than animals like Chris, suffering from painful leg problems and internal abcesses.
The beef that Chris eventually produces can be healthier for us humans to eat than the meat from an industrial farm, containing less fat.
Eating beef from animal–friendly farms can also be kinder to our world. Industrial farms often use more precious water and energy than pasture-based ones: producing just 1kg of industrial beef can use 15,500 litres of water (that’s about 200 baths!).
Chris’ home protects our planet in other ways too.
Unlike the vast amounts of grain needed to feed industrially farmed cattle, Chris feeds mostly on grass from well-managed pasture, which may not need polluting pesticides or fertilisers.
So farming that considers each animal’s needs can be kinder, AND can play a vital part in protecting our environment.