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The biggest reason why British beef is the envy of the world

People all over the world love beef, and British farmers are hardly the first to have mastered the art of rearing it. But although we face fierce competition from the rest of the world - France in particular is known for the pride it takes in its beef - there’s a reason that so many people prefer to buy from British butchers, even when they’re from abroad. The reason itself is rather mundane, but all-important. Essentially, it all comes down to how we care for our cows. As for butchers, of course, even the most talented of butchers is only as good as his equipment, which is why we stock a wide array of butchers knives from manufacturers like Victorinox and F. Dick, as well as our very own BEW butcher’s knives.

Unrivalled attention to animal welfare

Some overseas attitudes are shaped towards Britain for the foot and mouth disease epidemic we suffered in the late 1990s, and it’s actually this event that ultimately shaped our biggest international strength; our animal husbandry methods. Britain has some of the highest standards in the world when it comes down to the way we care for our animals, and farmers work to strict regulations about how our beef is produced. Unlike in certain other countries, feeding cattle with any growth hormones is illegal - and punishments can be even more severe for those found to be doing it routinely, as farmers legally do in America! Antibiotics are only permitted if they have been specially administered by a vet. Where we can, we tend to shy away from the battery-system in which herds of cattle are all crammed together in a tight space. In instances like these, the cattle are usually fed grains so they fatten up as fast as possible, but this does not lead to good meat.


Instead, British farmers prefer to raise pasture fed cows, which are healthier than those on grains (this has been likened to having humans permanently fed on a diet of just porridge). Cattle which have evolved to forage means that the beef is higher in Vitamin E, providing consumers protection against toxins and neurological diseases, and beta carotene, which benefits the immune system. Crucially, here in the UK, every animal can be traced back to its mother with the Cattle Tracing System, allowing traceability of the beef and allowing independent, reliable verification of its quality.

Quality assurance questions butchers are often asked

We covered recently the vital skills it’s important to have as a butcher. One of these was a good working knowledge of the meat, as customers will often have questions as to its provenance and quality. When it comes to cattle, questions like these may well include:

  • What farm is the meat from? (And has the butcher visited personally?)
  • What’s the animal’s story? That means where was it born, where was it reared and how was it slaughtered?
  • What certifications and assurances does it come with?
  • Has the butcher themselves ever bought a whole carcass and butchered it themselves?
  • Are there any different cuts they’d recommend, or methods of cooking them?

The average customer probably won’t ask all these questions, but could well ask any one of them, so it’s important for you as a butcher to know the answers! There’s also the fact to consider that lots of people will prefer to buy local, so even if it’s British beef from the offset that may be enough, but lots of people want extra reassurance. Happily, given the UK’s globally-renowned animal husbandry methods, you can give the answer in good faith that British beef is world-class.

As for preparing it, you’ve got all sorts of options here at Butchers Equipment warehouse. We’ve got a wide range of butchers equipment, from butcher’s knives all the way up to mincers and bandsaws. Why not take a look around and see what we’ve got in stock? Or you can always give our friendly team a call on 01254 427761, and we’ll be only too happy to help.