Are Happy Animals Tastier?

 

My husband and I had a discussion this morning.  Free-range versus wild-caught versus farmed animals: which is tastier?

I propose the following: stress hormones and difficult existences cause animals to be more gamey, less tasty, with tougher meat.  This is why free-range eggs are generally more yolky tasting and orangey colored and delicious.  The chickens roam around, free from restrictions, able to scratch as they please, and still get to eat and enjoy their lives.

Happiness is delicious.

This is also true when it comes to wild-caught salmon versus farmed salmon.  People seem to really think that the wild-caught salmon is so much tastier. I don’t eat salmon, so I can’t say that I have too much of an opinion.

I feel like this is also true of birds like ducks: farmed ducks versus wild-caught, hunted ducks.  I feel like the more room and space animals have and the happier lives they live, the tastier they are.  However, if they are constantly hunted by animals higher up on the food chain, they have higher levels of stress hormones.  These would reduce their perceived tastiness since they would have to focus their existence on survival, rather than simple enjoyment.  If they had a large preserve where they were not hunted by larger animals and were protected or cared for, they should be more appetizing once caught and prepared.

Even Dr. Temple Grandin has proved it on a farm in Ireland where the cows live happily, right up to the end.

What do the hunters and food connoisseurs of Ricochet think?  Do happier animals make for tastier food?  Have you noticed a difference between wild animals and their domestic counterparts that are free-range?  Do you notice a difference in traditionally farmed animals’ taste versus wild hunted animals?

Please note: I am not here to discuss veganism, vegetarianism, animal rights or hunting.  I’m just making an observation and attempting to have a conversation based upon anecdotal and empirical evidence.  Additionally, I am not interested in discussing price structure, cost versus value, or how/why the organic farms are/aren’t a scam.

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  1. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    I think more of it depends on the feed.  Free range tend to eat different stuff so the meat has a different texture and flavor.  

    • #1
  2. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    I think the fact that wild game tastes ‘gamey’, and that ‘gamey’ is a distinct enough flavor that people know what it means when the word is used, is somehow germane to the discussion.

    • #2
  3. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Food that wants to be eaten tastes best.

    • #3
  4. Ole Summers Member
    Ole Summers
    @OleSummers

    The real difference will be in the diet (which means the available food sources in the area) and the exercise type of the animal. In the case of fish, wild caught will most be a firmer meat simply because they swim a lot more in a much larger space, etc. 

    But the plants eaten by the other animals such as deer, elk, antelope vary to the terrain – for instance antelope does not have a great rep but mostly to the ones taken in areas with a lot of sage which can favor the meat if not cleaned as fast as possible. Elk and deer tend to go to high protein vines and such plants before they do grass. Buffalo will feed on the higher growing prairie grasses before they do the lower growing ones as cattle do , etc. Then the quality of the grain or grass affects the fat content in the meat , hense the favor. So I like a mix with a little fat if possible in most of the game but still really like good game red meat – I have long since ignored the idea of “gamey” meat lol

    • #4
  5. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    What you don’t want is for the game to run. Drop it in place, for taste and all the other reasons.

    • #5
  6. Ole Summers Member
    Ole Summers
    @OleSummers

    Barfly (View Comment):

    What you don’t want is for the game to run. Drop it in place, for taste and all the other reasons.

    A good drop shot and a quick clean takes care of a lot of things, lol, including a track in the dark over rough ground!

    • #6
  7. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    I can only speak of eggs from personal experience, but home-raised chickens/eggs (I can never remember which comes first) are definitely more attractive in the frying pan and more tasty than supermarket eggs.

    • #7
  8. Hugh Member
    Hugh
    @Hugh

    “Calm” is the operative word here.  In the feedlot we tried to keep life for the feeder steers boring boring boring.  No excitement at all. even loading them on the truck we try to keep the steers from getting excited.  Its all about the release of hormones (or whatever they are) into the meat.

    A calm fat Steer is a tasty steer.

    Shooting a moose is the same.  If the moose just sees you the meat will be only fit (in my mind) for sausage and burgers.  You want to shoot the moose dead so fast they don’t have the time to be surprised which will taint the meat.

     

    • #8
  9. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    Barfly (View Comment):

    What you don’t want is for the game to run. Drop it in place, for taste and all the other reasons.

    I’ve heard that adrenaline will flavor meat, which I find plausible.

    • #9
  10. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Food that wants to be eaten tastes best.

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HLy27bK-wU

    • #10
  11. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HLy27bK-wUI

    I don’t get why this particular video won’t embed.

    • #11
  12. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Synopsis: lifelong diet and end of life stress status appear to be the two key factors in taste.   Seems logical. 

    In the past,  I read a book about a chef,  the first chapter was devoted to his obsession with feeding a pig during the last 6 months prior to harvesting, with a diet rich in herbs, and high protein gains. Then he fed raw shavings of belly fat to his best friends,  so they could appreciate the incredible flavors. 

    I have previously posted about corn and soy bean fed deer tasting nearly identical to beef,  while mountain deer, eating primarily acorns, are bitter and gamey. 

    The goats in the Dominican,  forage on wild oregano their entire lives, and are one of the tastiest meats i have ever encountered. 

     

    • #12
  13. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    kedavis (View Comment):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HLy27bK-wUI

    I don’t get why this particular video won’t embed.

    The person who uploaded it to YouTube has the option to make the video unembeddable. 

    • #13
  14. Cassandro Coolidge
    Cassandro
    @Flicker

    It’s said that torturing an animal before slaughtering makes the animal build up lactic acid that tenderizes the meat and makes it taste better.  I wouldn’t know.

    • #14
  15. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Food that wants to be eaten tastes best.

    https://youtu.be/5HLy27bK-wU

    • #15
  16. Cassandro Coolidge
    Cassandro
    @Flicker

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Food that wants to be eaten tastes best.

    https://youtu.be/5HLy27bK-wU

    My favorite Vegan rebuttal ever.

    • #16
  17. TheRightNurse, radiant figure of feminine kindness Member
    TheRightNurse, radiant figure of feminine kindness
    @TheRightNurse

    Cassandro (View Comment):

    It’s said that torturing an animal before slaughtering makes the animal build up lactic acid that tenderizes the meat and makes it taste better. I wouldn’t know.

    Which is completely counter to everything else which indicates that it releases cortisol, makes it tough and more gamey, sometimes even mushy from the abuse.

    I feel like that’s more plausible than,  “if you abuse it,  it’s tender and delicious” as opposed to mushy and yuck.

    • #17
  18. Cassandro Coolidge
    Cassandro
    @Flicker

    TheRightNurse, radiant figure … (View Comment):

    Cassandro (View Comment):

    It’s said that torturing an animal before slaughtering makes the animal build up lactic acid that tenderizes the meat and makes it taste better. I wouldn’t know.

    Which is completely counter to everything else which indicates that it releases cortisol, makes it tough and more gamey, sometimes even mushy from the abuse.

    I feel like that’s more plausible than, “if you abuse it, it’s tender and delicious” as opposed to mushy and yuck.

    I understand that this is a practice in various cultures around the world.  Maybe I’m misinformed.  But it’s been suggested that this is why God prohibited killing food animals by strangulation.  I don’t know.  I’ve never known anyone who tortured animals before slaughtering, so I wouldn’t know if it makes animals mushy, or stringy, or tender, or delicious.

    But I would certainly think that simply seeing a human being immediately before an immediate and swift death would do nothing to the meat.  On the other hand, running an mile with an arrow in your lungs should certainly do it.  Maybe any bow hunters can give an opinion, but I’ve never asked them this question.

    • #18
  19. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    A friend who raises Chickens gives my wife eggs that do indeed look different and taste better.

    I am of the opinion that Trump priced beef , chicken and pork tastes much better and has a better texture than Biden priced beef, chicken, and pork.      Maybe because the Trump priced stuff causes me less stress and cortisol when paying for it,   so I am more relaxed eating it.   I can also afford better cuts and grades of the Trump priced stuff,  and can afford to wash down the Trump priced stuff with wine and beer.

    • #19
  20. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member
    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw
    @MattBalzer

    Cassandro (View Comment):
    I’ve never known anyone who tortured animals before slaughtering, so I wouldn’t know if it makes animals mushy, or stringy, or tender, or delicious.

    I don’t know if animals can have spite but I know if it was me and they were doing that I’d be trying to make myself as disgusting as possible.

    • #20
  21. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member
    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw
    @MattBalzer

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    A friend who raises Chickens gives my wife eggs that do indeed look different and taste better.

    I am of the opinion that Trump priced beef , chicken and pork tastes much better and has a better texture than Biden priced beef, chicken, and pork. Maybe because the Trump priced stuff causes me less stress and cortisol when paying for it, so I am more relaxed eating it. I can also afford better cuts and grades of the Trump priced stuff, and can afford to wash down the Trump priced stuff with wine and beer.

    When we’re forced into eating Soylent Green I’ll know whose to avoid.

    • #21
  22. Hugh Member
    Hugh
    @Hugh

    Cassandro (View Comment):

    TheRightNurse, radiant figure … (View Comment):

    Cassandro (View Comment):

    It’s said that torturing an animal before slaughtering makes the animal build up lactic acid that tenderizes the meat and makes it taste better. I wouldn’t know.

    Which is completely counter to everything else which indicates that it releases cortisol, makes it tough and more gamey, sometimes even mushy from the abuse.

    I feel like that’s more plausible than, “if you abuse it, it’s tender and delicious” as opposed to mushy and yuck.

    I understand that this is a practice in various cultures around the world. Maybe I’m misinformed. But it’s been suggested that this is why God prohibited killing food animals by strangulation. I don’t know. I’ve never known anyone who tortured animals before slaughtering, so I wouldn’t know if it makes animals mushy, or stringy, or tender, or delicious.

    But I would certainly think that simply seeing a human being immediately before an immediate and swift death would do nothing to the meat. On the other hand, running an mile with an arrow in your lungs should certainly do it. Maybe any bow hunters can give an opinion, but I’ve never asked them this question.

    After you follow a deer for a mile as it bleeds out from a lousy shot you know in your heart its going to be time to make sausage and dog food.  As my dad would say:  “Wasted a tag”

    • #22
  23. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    There are hazards associated with free-range chickens.

    • #23
  24. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    • #24
  25. Cassandro Coolidge
    Cassandro
    @Flicker

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    Cassandro (View Comment):
    I’ve never known anyone who tortured animals before slaughtering, so I wouldn’t know if it makes animals mushy, or stringy, or tender, or delicious.

    I don’t know if animals can have spite but I know if it was me and they were doing that I’d be trying to make myself as disgusting as possible.

    It’s always bad taste to torture animals.

    • #25
  26. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Ole Summers (View Comment):

    The real difference will be in the diet (which means the available food sources in the area) and the exercise type of the animal. In the case of fish, wild caught will most be a firmer meat simply because they swim a lot more in a much larger space, etc.

    But the plants eaten by the other animals such as deer, elk, antelope vary to the terrain – for instance antelope does not have a great rep but mostly to the ones taken in areas with a lot of sage which can favor the meat if not cleaned as fast as possible. Elk and deer tend to go to high protein vines and such plants before they do grass. Buffalo will feed on the higher growing prairie grasses before they do the lower growing ones as cattle do , etc. Then the quality of the grain or grass affects the fat content in the meat , hense the favor. So I like a mix with a little fat if possible in most of the game but still really like good game red meat – I have long since ignored the idea of “gamey” meat lol

    Bacon fat.

    • #26
  27. Cassandro Coolidge
    Cassandro
    @Flicker

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Ole Summers (View Comment):

    The real difference will be in the diet (which means the available food sources in the area) and the exercise type of the animal. In the case of fish, wild caught will most be a firmer meat simply because they swim a lot more in a much larger space, etc.

    But the plants eaten by the other animals such as deer, elk, antelope vary to the terrain – for instance antelope does not have a great rep but mostly to the ones taken in areas with a lot of sage which can favor the meat if not cleaned as fast as possible. Elk and deer tend to go to high protein vines and such plants before they do grass. Buffalo will feed on the higher growing prairie grasses before they do the lower growing ones as cattle do , etc. Then the quality of the grain or grass affects the fat content in the meat , hense the favor. So I like a mix with a little fat if possible in most of the game but still really like good game red meat – I have long since ignored the idea of “gamey” meat lol

    Bacon fat.

    And cooking with juniper berries for venison.

    • #27
  28. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Cassandro (View Comment):

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Ole Summers (View Comment):

    The real difference will be in the diet (which means the available food sources in the area) and the exercise type of the animal. In the case of fish, wild caught will most be a firmer meat simply because they swim a lot more in a much larger space, etc.

    But the plants eaten by the other animals such as deer, elk, antelope vary to the terrain – for instance antelope does not have a great rep but mostly to the ones taken in areas with a lot of sage which can favor the meat if not cleaned as fast as possible. Elk and deer tend to go to high protein vines and such plants before they do grass. Buffalo will feed on the higher growing prairie grasses before they do the lower growing ones as cattle do , etc. Then the quality of the grain or grass affects the fat content in the meat , hense the favor. So I like a mix with a little fat if possible in most of the game but still really like good game red meat – I have long since ignored the idea of “gamey” meat lol

    Bacon fat.

    And cooking with juniper berries for venison.

     

    • #28
  29. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Hugh (View Comment):

    “Calm” is the operative word here. In the feedlot we tried to keep life for the feeder steers boring boring boring. No excitement at all. even loading them on the truck we try to keep the steers from getting excited. Its all about the release of hormones (or whatever they are) into the meat.

    A calm fat Steer is a tasty steer.

    Shooting a moose is the same. If the moose just sees you the meat will be only fit (in my mind) for sausage and burgers. You want to shoot the moose dead so fast they don’t have the time to be surprised which will taint the meat.

     

    This jives with my experience on the farm. We always let our cattle have as much space as was available and it was…college before I regularly ate store-bought beef. The taste difference was startling. 

    • #29
  30. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Hugh (View Comment):

    “Calm” is the operative word here. In the feedlot we tried to keep life for the feeder steers boring boring boring. No excitement at all. even loading them on the truck we try to keep the steers from getting excited. Its all about the release of hormones (or whatever they are) into the meat.

    A calm fat Steer is a tasty steer.

    Shooting a moose is the same. If the moose just sees you the meat will be only fit (in my mind) for sausage and burgers. You want to shoot the moose dead so fast they don’t have the time to be surprised which will taint the meat.

     

    This jives with my experience on the farm. We always let our cattle have as much space as was available and it was…college before I regularly ate store-bought beef. The taste difference was startling.

    That might be mostly the differences of the type of cattle, and what they were being fed:  grass vs grain, etc.

    • #30
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