Is there a definitive link between welfare and nutrition? Having looked at the findings from over 200 studies based on the relationship between the welfare of the animals and the nutrients from the animal products, Compassion then used data from 76 of the strongest.
The evidence is compelling and our key findings can be found below:
Higher welfare = lower fat content
By opting for higher welfare animal products rather than factory farmed ones, consumers could significantly reduce their dietary intake of fat, including saturated fat:
- Free-range & organic chicken – up to 50% less fat
- Slower-growing chicken – up to 65% less fat
- Pasture-reared beef – 25% - 50% less fat
Higher welfare = higher levels of Omega-3
Our new report demonstrates that the fat in higher welfare animal products consistently contains a higher proportion of Omega-3 than factory farmed animal products, making it much healthier:
- Pasture-reared beef – up to 430% higher
- Higher welfare chicken – up to 565% higher
- Higher welfare eggs – up to 170% higher
- Pasture raised lamb - 30% to 245% higher
- Pasture produced milk – 50% to 185% higher
Higher welfare = higher levels of antioxidants
Higher levels of antioxidants, which are vital to good health, and help fight diseases such as cancer, were found in higher welfare animal products compared to those from intensive factory systems.
- Free-range eggs – up to 100% more vitamin E & 280% more beta-carotene
- Free-range pig meat – up to 200% more vitamin E
- Higher welfare beef – 335-700% more beta-carotene
- Higher welfare milk – 60-436% more beta-carotene
A life worth living = food worth eating
Farm animals are sentient beings with the full capacity to experience both wellbeing and suffering. In the drive for cheap animal protein, billions of animals endure the barren confinement of factory farming systems. Overcrowded, vulnerable to disease and denied basic needs, they have little or no opportunity to exercise or to express important natural behaviours and are often pushed to their physiological limits in the pursuit of ever-higher yields.
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, as well as to reduce environmental pollution and waste.
Higher welfare farming produces healthier meat, eggs and milk than similar products from factory farms. Switching from factory farmed animal products to higher welfare meats, eggs and milk could contribute to improved consumer health, especially if consumed in moderation within a balanced diet, rich in fruit and vegetables.
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