Silver Fern Farms has a made a name for itself in committing to both sustainability and respected for the natural environment in which it operates. As a dedicated food producer in animal agriculture, the company believes in the importance of treating its animals with care and respect and adhering to thorough animal welfare practices. Keeping cattle nurtured by reducing their stress levels and providing access to grazing land results in healthier, happier animals and more nutritious, high quality products for customers.
“Cattle thrive in a free roaming environment. A study on dairy cows in the U.S. discovered that cattle value grazing access as much as they value fresh feed, and work hard to achieve outdoor access when confined. Having space to roam is beneficial to these animals who experience distress from the restriction of feedlots,” stated Matt Luxton, Director of U.S. Sales.
Physical stressors, the company went on to note, not only impact the welfare of these animals, but experiencing stress before and during slaughter can have an undesirable effect on the quality of the meat produced by depleting their muscles of glycogen reserves. When an animal is killed, these reserves are converted into lactic acid, which is necessary for good taste and texture, so stress, injury or a lack of sleep can all result in a lack of glycogen and poorer meat quality.
These are but a few reasons why Silver Fern Farmers raise its animals to the highest animal welfare standards. Given that the company is committed to creating quality products with integrity and ensuring animals live decent lives, the cows are raised year-round on beautiful New Zealand pastures with access to clean air and plenty of water. They wander and graze freely. These practices result in happier and stronger herds which in turn make for quality grass-fed, leaner, and more nourishing red meat products.
Our animal raising practices adhere to the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries animal welfare standards and align with the New Zealand National Farm Assurance Programme (NZFAP), a system that assures certain standards of integrity, origin, bio-security, sustainability and animal health and welfare are met by red meat producers in the country. This system ensures animals are treated humanely every step of our chain of care.
The NZFAP replaced the company's own farm assurance program in 2016, and while 99 percent of farmers currently supplying programs are Farm Assured, Silver Ferns is currently working to achieve 100 percent accreditation for programs under NZFAP this year.
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