These important practices include the following:
- Welfare is a priority: The Scottish industry works very closely with the Scottish SPCA (Scotland’s animal welfare charity). Scottish SPCA inspectors regularly visit our farms and animal health is also a priority in Scottish livestock production.
- Abundant Water Supply: In Scotland the water cattle drink is not diverted from human use. The ample supply of rain creates lush grassland, which is ideal for the natural production of livestock.
- Encouraging Diversity Livestock: production plays an important part in sustaining the diverse landscape for which Scotland is famed. Scotland’s hill livestock farmers typically farm both cattle and sheep, a mixed grazing system which benefits landscape biodiversity (Source: Scottish Natural Heritage)
- Beef Breeds: A typical Scottish beef farming system involves suckler cows (beef breeds farmed to produce beef rather than milk) farmed on low input grassland. This type of farming is critical to the maintenance of many hill and upland habitats.
- Extensive Grass-based system: Scotland’s livestock production systems are based on free ranging livestock grazing at low stocking densities and eating grass and forage from land generally unsuitable for growing alternative food sources. This largely avoids the diversion of protein, suitable for human consumption, into the production of livestock. Permanent grass and rough grazing account for 71% of Scottish agricultural areas (Source: Scottish Government)
- Reducing carbon emissions: Through restructuring and farm efficiency improvements, the Scottish red meat industry has succeeded in reducing its carbon emissions and waste. Carbon emissions in Scotland for agriculture and related land use reduced by 27% between 1990 and 2010. (Source: National Atmospheric Emission Inventory). The industry continues to strive to further improve efficiency and reduce waste.
- Grassland’s role in carbon capture: Hill and upland farms in Scotland play a substantial role in improving the environment through the removal of C02 from the atmosphere. This capturing and storing of carbon is known as sequestration. (Source: QMS R&D Report 2011/12).
- Hormone free: Scotch Beef PGI is free from artificial growth hormones.
- Antibiotic and other Residue: Just like humans, animals can sometimes get ill, and can need prescribed drugs from the Vet to make them better. The only drugs prescribed are therapeutic and for welfare reasons. The quality scheme monitors the use of these drugs to avoid residue entering the food chain. The withdrawal period for medicine residue must be respected before the animal enters the food chain.
- Natural production methods: We believe that when it comes to producing food, nature does it best. With this ethos in mind, farmers who produce Scotch Beef PGI do not use growth promoting hormones. We allow the cattle to roam and feed outdoors where nature allows, and ensure that the cattle are fed on a natural grass and forage based diet.
For more information on Quality Meat Scotland, visit http://www.qmscotland.co.uk