Extensive livestock farming, a more environmentally friendly and healthier option

Our meats are from extensive livestock farming, but what does that mean?
Originally from the Pyrenees, we opened our doors 6 years ago as a space dedicated to small producers of its valleys and mountains who are dedicated to extensive livestock and pasture. But what does it mean?

First of all, let’s look at an official definition:
Extensive livestock farming is the set of livestock production systems that make efficient use of the territory’s resources with the appropriate species and breeds, making production compatible with sustainability and generating environmental and social services. It includes key aspects such as the use of native breeds, livestock mobility, animal welfare and management adjusted to the spatial and temporal availability of the resources available in each area.

Ganaderia Extensiva
Ganaderia Extensiva
Ganaderia Intensiva
Ganaderia Intensiva
But what does all this really mean? That management is adjusted to the resources available in each area means that the production system is adapted to the territory and will therefore be slightly different in, for example, mountain areas such as the Pyrenees, or in plains such as the dehesas of southern Spain. Although the specific feeding will depend on the geography, in extensive livestock farming the animal feeds mainly on pasture in lands ideally not suitable for agriculture. This diet can be supplemented with fodder and feed grown in their own fields or nearby.

It is said that this is sustainable livestock farming because it not only generates products with more flavor and a healthier ratio of saturated/unsaturated fats, but also helps control forest fires, regulates water cycles and soil quality, and maintains the biodiversity, both biological and cultural, of the territory. In addition, it reduces the consumption of energy, water, and greenhouse gas production derived, among others, from the production of feed used in intensive livestock farming.

La utilización de razas autóctonas es habitual, porque se trata de animales por definición más resilientes y adaptados a un manejo extensivo en territorios y condiciones específicos. Es decir, aprovechan mejor los recursos naturales con un coste de producción menor, y en general tienen menos necesidad de medicamentos y otros tratamientos. Además, representan una fuente de variabilidad genética que puede volverse crucial en contextos al alza como el cambio climático o las enfermedades resistentes a antibióticos. Variabilidad en riesgo, pues de las 165 razas ganaderas autóctonas españolas, actualmente 139 se encuentran en peligro de extinción.

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