Why are we doing this?
Due to the animals genetic back ground Highland Cattle are slow in growing and maturing. To reach a mature size and be of reasonable condition by 30 months in most areas of Scotland is very difficult for Highland cattle. They have evolved to wander and roam great areas of the hills and glens of Scotland consuming large amounts of poor quality vegetation and converting it into energy and growth. Highland Cattle do not convert high energy/ high protein feeds as well as the Continental breeds and cross breeds.
Large scale processors who supply the multinational supermarkets are not interested in Highland Cattle due to the lower yield of meat from these slow growing animals. Being smaller and having natural muscle development rather than the huge muscular frames of the commercial continental breeds and crosses. Also coupled with Highland cattle having horns that ‘get in’ the way when the animal was making its last few steps along to the point of slaughter, as time has moved on the majority of them have ceased dealing with Highland cattle, unless they are dehorned! All of this has seriously threatened the Highland cattle breed and traditional hill farming
The people at Highland Drovers want to create an identity for this fabulous animal and achieve the recognition it deserves for providing some of the best beef in the world. We want to give the consumer the information to make an informed choice and make a conscious deliberate decision to help support Highland Cattle farming. We want to help underpin the value of the whole breed including the pedigree markets for further benefits to the farmers of this breed. We believe that Highland Cattle can provide a valuable and appropriate source of income for hill farmers but only if it is known as an identifiable branded product. We want to distant ourselves from intensive farming and processors who supply multinational companies that are only interested in yields and margins rather than the consumer, the product and most importantly the animal!
What has changed?
On the 7th of November 2005 the government having been advised by the Food Standards Agency lifted the 30-month rule, subject to BSE testing Over 30 month beef was allowed back into the food chain. Only animals born after July 1996 subject to a strict BSE testing procedure would be allowed into the human food chain. Even after the reintroduction of older beef entering the food chain, due to commercial interests the large processors have not started to take highland cattle in any significant numbers. They have not realised the quality product that has been going unrecognised and unacknowledged. There is no comparison between an older commercial animal that has had an intensive cereal, and fertilised grass based diet for many years to that of a Highland animal that has wandered and grazed the hills and glens in a stress free natural manner receiving local natural conserved forage as the only supplement in the harshest of weather.
Highland Drovers have established a protocol where Highland Cattle are allowed to have the traditional lifestyles and express their own natural behaviour in the areas of Scotland that their heritage was established. They are allowed a quantity and quality of life that is deserved by these beautiful animals. Highland Drovers guarantees that it’s Fully Aged and Properly Matured beef will come from an animal that is at least 3 years old and then will have been hung for 21 days.
Our own hugely experienced fieldsman will have inspected the animals and only animals from like minded farmers will be used in these products
The people who have the interests of this magnificent breed and future sustainability of traditional ways of life in their hearts.
Beef from animals that are at least 3 years old and have had a guaranteed quality of life
Traditionally hung for between 21 and 28 days.
By buying Highland Drovers Fully Aged and Properly Matured beef, you will be directly helping a traditional way of sustainable farming. You are guaranteed an exceptional product with a provenance like no other beef product available in the UK.
Whilst many suppliers are still coy about telling you which country their products are from, Highland Drovers has broke the mould, we print on every cut of meat which farm the animal was reared on. That is tracability! Only the progeny of pedigree Scottish Highland cattle are acceptable to Highland Drovers. The Ancestors of each animal are known and have been recorded for generations by the Highland Cattle Society