Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-29-2010, 02:55 PM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Near the GT eeehhhh...
Posts: 27,402
Do happy cows taste better?

This question occurred to me as I was cooking lunch.

A while back, I read Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin. In it, she described how she designed animal-handling facilities according to how the animals perceived their environment and what their reactions were likely to be. The goal was to calm the animals, to prevent them from panicking.

I also recently saw Food, Inc with its criticism of factory farming: the animals are crowded and stressed, and many die prematurely.

My question is, does the emotional state of a food animal in the time before it is killed affect the quality or taste of the meat?

Obviously the act of killing them is traumatic, but that applies to every animal. And the killing can be done quickly. The food they eat will affect the final taste too, or so I've heard. And diseased animals probably aren't that great--but then we're not supposed to be getting those.

I'm wondering more about their lives before the kill. Does stress affect the meat?
  #2  
Old 05-29-2010, 03:06 PM
dukette71 dukette71 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 200
I read in "On Food and Cooking" that adrenalin makes meat tougher, so slaughterhouses have an interest in making the experience less stressful. I hope it is true.

Last edited by dukette71; 05-29-2010 at 03:07 PM.
  #3  
Old 05-29-2010, 03:09 PM
KarlGauss KarlGauss is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Between pole and tropic
Posts: 7,544
According to some. (You'll need this definition).
  #4  
Old 05-29-2010, 04:42 PM
toodlepip toodlepip is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 251
Yes, pre-slaughter stress can affect the quality and taste of the meat.

You might expect that free range, organic, less stressful husbandry produces happier animals who also taste better. In my personal experience, this is definitely the case with pork, locally reared pork from smallholdings is so different from intensively reared supermarket pork that you would be hard pushed to identify it as the same species. The same may not be true for chicken.
  #5  
Old 05-30-2010, 08:12 AM
Happy Poster Happy Poster is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,192
and dogs are said to taste better if they suffer
  #6  
Old 05-30-2010, 12:07 PM
BigT BigT is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 33,112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Poster View Post
and dogs are said to taste better if they suffer
I see what you did there.
  #7  
Old 05-30-2010, 12:20 PM
MOIDALIZE MOIDALIZE is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 5,902
Does this hold true for humans? Will excess stress make my muscles tough and unpalatable?
  #8  
Old 05-30-2010, 12:34 PM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Near the GT eeehhhh...
Posts: 27,402
Interesting. Thanks, all!
  #9  
Old 05-30-2010, 12:37 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Wisconsin USA
Posts: 16,843
Electrocution of the meat tenderizes it. Does electroshock make cows happy?
  #10  
Old 05-30-2010, 12:57 PM
Happy Poster Happy Poster is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,192
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
I see what you did there.
I don't see what you think I did there, I think - I was just passing on a commonly held belief. Seriously, google "torture equals taste".
  #11  
Old 05-30-2010, 02:09 PM
notsoheavyd3 notsoheavyd3 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by toodlepip View Post
Yes, pre-slaughter stress can affect the quality and taste of the meat.

You might expect that free range, organic, less stressful husbandry produces happier animals who also taste better. In my personal experience, this is definitely the case with pork, locally reared pork from smallholdings is so different from intensively reared supermarket pork that you would be hard pushed to identify it as the same species. The same may not be true for chicken.
Do you know if those farms are using the same breeds of pig? I ask because I kind of remember on GoodEats Alton mentioning the "standard" pig for the American market was bred to be fairly lean which makes it pretty dry.(Also for good meat to feed ratio.) I'm wondering if the real difference is those farms you go to use a different breed which tastes better.
  #12  
Old 05-30-2010, 02:52 PM
NOLA Cajun NOLA Cajun is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 262
Those Kobe cows are treated very well. And that's supposed to be the most tastiest meat you can get (by which I mean those ones raised in Kobe
  #13  
Old 05-30-2010, 07:03 PM
toodlepip toodlepip is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by notsoheavyd3 View Post
Do you know if those farms are using the same breeds of pig? I ask because I kind of remember on GoodEats Alton mentioning the "standard" pig for the American market was bred to be fairly lean which makes it pretty dry.(Also for good meat to feed ratio.) I'm wondering if the real difference is those farms you go to use a different breed which tastes better.
Absolutely, the breeds used in intensive farming are usually lean and fast growing, and the lack of fat marbling makes a big difference to the meat. Our local small scale producers have a variety of breeds and crosses, some plain Landrace and Great white, others go for the older breeds. But no matter what breeds they choose, the meat is always good. UK supermarket pork, on the other hand, is consistently awful, no matter how farm-assured or organic or outdoor reared they proclaim it to be.

I grew up in Norway, where lean Landrace pork dominates the pig industry, and their pork is pretty decent. I don't know how the same breed can taste so different in different countries, I would think they're fed much the same diet.
  #14  
Old 05-30-2010, 11:01 PM
crowmanyclouds crowmanyclouds is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: ... hiding in my room ...
Posts: 4,139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspace View Post
... Temple Grandin ...
Might find this interesting, Lowering Stress to Improve Meat Quality and Animal Welfare at grandin.com.

CMC fnord!
  #15  
Old 05-31-2010, 12:32 AM
jsmaine22 jsmaine22 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 13
Cows are dead before they know it, so the death is usually not traumatic - they have the front of their brains blown out with a bolt gun, which leaves the affective parts of the brain obliterated. But if cows are happy eating grass instead of corn and being able to walk around instead of wading in their own shit, I would say very probably yes. That is why such beef has a premium price on it.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:51 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017