Though the happiest cow is most probably one that stays alive, an organic beef provider based in northeastern Germany is letting its customers choose the method of slaughter for their beef, in addition to the breed and specific farm from which they come from, saying that it results in better-tasting beef.
Since 2010, Mycow.de -- a family-run company which delivers organic beef from a network of farms to subscribers -- has been offering customers the option of having the cow killed in the field, explaining that the method of pasture slaughter results in tastier meat. They explain that unlike cows killed in a conventional abattoir, cows killed in the outdoors experience no surge of flesh-toughening adrenaline prior to death:
The slaughter on pasture requires no capture, separation or fixing of the cattle. They stay until the end in a familiar environment. Through the pasture to slaughter the animal creates less stress, which manifests itself in a high quality meat. The other animals in the herd behave calmly, because they know the people they are familiar.
According to The Local, not many farmers employ the field method of slaughter as it is more expensive and difficult to stun and kill the cow, which then has to be rushed immediately to be butchered. Apparently, in Germany a license is also required to kill cows in this way.
And of course, it doesn't come cheap either; a five kilogram (11 pounds) packet of this organic, humanely-slaughtered beef will set you back US $100. But despite the costs, complicated logistics and strict regulations regarding its implementation, Mycow.de is hoping that this more humane method of slaughter will eventually catch on.
As we've noted before, short of becoming vegetarian or vegan, eating less meat is one of the quickest ways to reduce one's ecological footprint. And with the "humane movement" for sustainably-sourced and cruelty-free meat and dairy gaining traction in many places, this seemingly macabre option may actually add another distinguishing element that separates organic meat producers from large-scale industrial operations, giving those who choose sustainable meat another leg up.