Higher-welfare meat more nutritious, says report

A new report has revealed that ‘higher-welfare’ farming systems produce more nutritious meat than intensive systems.

The research, carried out by Compassion in World Farming, said that pasture-reared and free-range meat, dairy and eggs contain a greater proportion of the essential fatty acid Omega-3 and more antioxidants.

Free-range chicken and free-range pork was found to have 565% and 290% more Omega-3 repectively than intensively farmed chicken. Free-range eggs had 100% more Vitamin E and 280% more beta-carotene, both of which are thought to reduce the risk of of heart disease and cancer.

The report also suggested that higher-welfare meat has lower fat content, with a free-range, organic chicken having up to 50% less fat than an intensively farmed one, and pasture-reared beef having between 25-50% less fat than an industrially reared animal.

Emily Lewis-Brown, research manager at Compassion in World Farming, said: “The industrial farming model is unsustainable and relentless in its exploitation of animals, land, energy and water.

“An urgent move from intensive to higher-welfare farming is required to improve animal welfare and, in doing so, contributing to improved nutrition. The compelling results in our report indicate that raising animals in high-welfare systems can have nutritional benefits for people.”