Study Says “Higher Welfare” Animals Produce More Nutritious Foods

EDITOR’S NOTE: An interesting press release slid across our desk today, and we thought it might be of interest to you. It isn’t about wine, but about the foods you consume with your wine. The press release that appears below is from Compassion In World Farming, a UK-based international organization working to eliminate “factory farming” methods it deems to be cruel. The issue of cruelty in agriculture has gained traction in California through ballot initiatives and legislation, most recently the highly controversial “foie gras ban” that took effect on July 1. This publication does not wish to become embroiled in the issue or the controversy. We post the CIWF press release not to advocate, but to contribute to intelligent discourse on the many facets of this intriguing issue.

Compassion In World FarmingCompassion in World Farming’s new nutrition report reveals that meat, dairy and eggs from higher welfare farming contain higher levels of key nutrients than animal products from factory farm systems.  Products from animals reared in higher welfare environments tend to be better for our health with less fat, a greater proportion of Omega-3s and more antioxidants.

This compelling evidence will allow consumers to make more knowledgeable decisions when food shopping, and is useful for decision-makers and the food industry.

Emily Lewis-Brown, Research Manager at Compassion in World Farming, says: “The industrial farming model is unsustainable and relentless in its exploitation of animals, land, energy and water.

An urgent move from intensive to higher welfare farming is required to improve animal welfare, and in doing so, contributing to improved nutrition. The compelling results in our report indicate that raising animals in high welfare systems can have nutritional benefits for people.”

Higher welfare food has a lower fat content. A free-range or organic chicken may have up to 50% less fat than an intensively farmed one. Pasture-reared beef has between 25 – 50% less fat than its industrially farmed counterpart.

With obesity, cancer and heart disease on the rise this new information means that consumers can choose healthier foods. This could have profound implications for consumer health.

Additionally, there is more Omega-3 in higher welfare animal products. In fact, in higher welfare chicken, this percentage can be up to 565% higher – a staggering difference. Higher welfare eggs have up to 170% more Omega-3 and humanely reared pork has up to 290% higher levels.

Higher welfare equals higher levels of antioxidants: antioxidants such as Vitamin E and beta carotene, are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Our report shows that free-range eggs have up to 100% more Vitamin E & 280% more beta-carotene.

SOURCE: Compassion In World Farming (; July 19, 2012