Christmas, Easter, and The Simpson’s Halloween Special – some things are worth waiting a year for, and Love Lamb Week isn’t any different. Launched in 2015, Love Lamb Week is the UK’s biggest celebration of everything lamb, baa none. We took the occasion to put together some answers for some of your most popular questions about how lamb is farmed and its impact on the lambscape (okay, that’s enough puns).
How does sheep farming support the environment?
Sheep and their lambs have been farmed on the British landscape for thousands of years and we now have more than 90 breeds of sheep in the UK, which have developed to live in our most rugged locations. They receive the majority of their nutritional needs by grazing on naturally-occurring grassland, which they convert into high-grade protein that we can then eat. This means that grazing sheep on the land is equally as valuable for humans as it is for the environment – helping grasslands pull in carbon from the atmosphere and then storing it within the soil itself. Sheep also help us keep the soil healthy and look after protected areas, where grazing stimulates growth and organic manure naturally fertilises the land without any need for machinery.
How does lamb farming alter the landscape?
In particularly rural areas of countryside, sheep farming helps to protect the soil against natural corrosive effects, like flooding and erosion, and safeguards against the risk of wildfire in summer. Grazing sheep also help the countryside – without grazing, abandoned pastures would eventually turn into forest and other inaccessible land. Sheep are also the only animals that can be farmed in mountainous landscapes, without which many communities would die out. Farming brings economic benefits to rural areas by building communities, providing employment, even bringing in tourism.
How does Lamb protect biodiversity?
Sheep farmers and shepherds play a great role in protecting the biodiversity of the countryside. Maintaining field margins, hedges, copses, thickets, ditches and walls is important to help sustain a valuable and thriving ecosystem. Permanent meadowlands also provide a stable environment for a wide variety of plant species and small creatures that are otherwise sensitive to change and may not survive.
Cooking with lamb, whether it’s midweek meals, a BBQ, or old fashioned Sunday Roast helps to secure a future for the next generation of sheep farmers, whilst protecting and safeguarding the environment. So, get stuck in this Love Lamb Week and beyond by continuing to #TryLamb.
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