The great Indian water buffalo have been farmed for thousands of years across the globe. Originating in the Indus Valley (now modern day Pakistan), the buffalo are highly valued as draft animals, as well as producers of rich creamy milk and excellent meat. The ancient process is environmentally sound for the most part. The agriculture of Buffalo creates a sustainable eco-system on a farm, beneficial equally to farmer, cattle and the land. However, things become problematic in the modern day.
The implications of packaging meat in plastic, that cannot be recycled easily, will be well known to the environmentally concerned public.
The question presents itself, ‘can we naturally farm the buffalo when we are burdened by the undeniable use of plastics to keep the produce fresh’?
Introducing Manor Farm, 500 acres of grassland on the rolling chalklands of West Hampshire, home to 250 buffalo and the nice people from Broughton Water Buffalo.
Broughton Water Buffalo herd and farm their own buffalo, selling lean, tasty meat at local farmers markets, pubs and restaurants in the area. They even offer a catering service for events and festivals.
Their Buffalo are reared on grass and clover pastures that do not contain concentrates (found in cereal-based feeds to speed up growth). No artificial fertilisers, weed killers or insecticides are added to the soil, allowing the indigenous flora and fauna to thrive alongside the buffalo. All of which creates the maximum biodiversity for the soil and landscape.
In fact, the buffalo herd is a vital tool in improving and building soil on the farm. During grazing season, the buffalo are arranged into a single group and moved onto a new paddock of grass every day. This gives them a fresh plateful of food every morning, whilst the trampling and dunging feeds the soil.
When it comes time, the animals are slaughtered locally and their carcasses are returned to the farm for hanging and butchering. Throughout their lives, the buffalo themselves receive no routine medicines or antibiotics due to their naturally high resistance and resilience levels to disease.
However, it is the next phase of farming that the beautifully sustainable eco-system of the farm runs into problems.
In order to comply with the regulations of British trading standards, all of the meat must be vacuum packed in plastic so that it does not become contaminated. Understandable, however, plastic is the environment’s worst enemy.
So we at Bloom are putting the question to you, ‘are there any forms of biodegradable, or eco-friendly, packaging to store meat?’
Comment on Facebook, Twitter or the In Focus blog and let us know!
Creative Bloom’s Jimmy has recently ventured to the ‘Food Ex’ trade show in Birmingham, to try and gather more information on this eco-problem!