My friend’s daughter announced last year that she wasn’t going to eat lamb anymore because it seems cruel to eat those cute things bouncing about in fields. I responded in a very over excited way, that lamb is the least cruel farm animal product you can eat. And I really mean this, and I want the whole world to know about it. The reason is this: Lamb is the only farm animal that is not repeatedly removed from its mother, and that is truly free range. Keeping mothers and babies together is a passionate part of what I do, and that passion extends to what I eat (I’m so sorry, if you are a vegetarian reading this, it might seem very odd to you, that I would eat meat at all). We have been separating mothers from their newborn babies for many decades, and part of my work is to help mums have skin to skin contact immediately after birth. Thanks to the hormones running strong in the mother, this is almost always a joy. I have recently seen numerous campaign videos suggesting that when milking cows are separated from their calves soon after birth, they show signs of distress. It is upsetting to watch. The dairy industry separates mothers and calves all the time. The chicken industry separates mothers and chicks, even before hatching. When we tried to breed ducks in our garden, I wanted them so much to hatch under their mummies tummies (not a lamp), and to follow their mums around frantically, hopping over tufts of grass and large stones (not stay chirping in a cardboard box). It was a delight to see. Lambs are the only farm animals that are routinely able to frolic around in open fields, with their mummies, eating nature’s grass, happy as a pig in muck (see what I did there?). That’s a delight to see too. You can tell that I am a little “fluffy” about this whole issue, not unlike my friend’s daughter who declined any lamb product as a result of her heart strings being twanged by the site of frolicking lambs. I have a friend who is a sheep farmer, and when I was waffling on about this one day (over one glass too many of the vino), he seemed very uninterested in what I had to say. And yet, sheep farmers, this is a marketing gold mine! You should milk this little gem for all you’ve got (see what I did there too?). It is arguably less cruel to eat lamb, than it is to drink a glass of milk. Lamb is increasingly the more expensive meat on our shelves, and there’s a reason for that. Lamb equals free range farming, as nature intended, with animal welfare top of the list. So, if you insist on eating meat, and you want to eat with animal welfare in mind, choose lamb.
Lambs, mothers and keeping them together
- by Mia Scotland