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Specialists in KOBE BEEF: Highland and Aberdeen Angus cattle raised in the traditional Japanese fashion
People often ask "What is Kobe Beef?". Well now these helpful people at Lucies Farm will explain. There is a wealth of in-depth information available. Plus, if you are looking for some fine quality meat, here is the opportunity to acquire some, online. The story of Kobe Beef and Wagyu cattle has a considerable history, some of which is explained in this article reproduced with the permission of Lucies Farm, and for further reading you may wish to explore the extra resources available via the affiliate link at the end of this page.
"Eating meat from four legged animals was prohibited in Japan for more than a thousand years prior to 1868. Buddhist influences were primarily responsible for this dietary restriction, but other cultural factors and the need to protect draught animals in times of famine may have reinforced the taboo. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the new leaders of Japan wanted, among other things, to reduce traditional social barriers and to encourage the adoption of beneficial Western habits. There may also have been a desire to weaken the power of the Buddhists.
Despite the formal rescinding of the prohibition against the eating of meat in the late 1860's, the consumption of meat remained extremely low for another century. Until very recent times meat (niku in Japanese) usually meant pork in eastern Japan and beef in western Japan.
For millennia the people of Japan lived on a diet of rice, vegetables, and seafood eaten with hashi (chopsticks). Although the meat taboo was removed over a hundred years earlier, by 1980 the average Japanese ate only 5.1 kg of beef. In some Western countries, where income levels are comparable with those in Japan, the average person commonly devours ten times this quantity each year. Although the younger generation has grown up with Western cuisine, most Japanese still enjoy beef best when it is prepared as very thin slices, cooked in the traditional manner and eaten with hashi.
From about 1955 onwards, the mechanization of rice cultivation led to an increase in the availability of beef, as large numbers of draught cattle were fattened and slaughtered. At the same time the rapid economic growth, which started with the Korean War boom, was gaining momentum. People could afford the luxury of meat more often.
The creation of genuine Kobe beef is a mystical folk art which may have been practiced as an underground cult before 1868. Most Japanese believe, however, that the art of producing Kobe beef cannot be traced back to feudal times.
Kobe beef traditionally comes from Wagyu cattle. "Wa" is a very old Japanese language term for Japan, or things Japanese, and one of the meanings of "gyu" is beef.
Wagyu cattle is now considered indigenous to Japan, but are not genuinely native cattle. Biochemical and genetic tests indicate that the native cattle are more closely related to the cattle of Northern Europe and Scandinavia than they are to the cattle indigenous to Taiwan, the Philippines, and other South East Asian Countries.
The four modern Wagyu breeds are the result of a substantial infusion of European blood during the Meiji Era, together with a government-sponsored selection programme initiated in 1919. For several decades prior to 1910, there was a great interest in importing European breeds to cross with native cattle. The basic aim was to improve the native strains for draught purposes, but better meat production was also a consideration. Exotic breeds were extremely popular and the price of pure-bred and cross-bred exotic animals often reached unreasonable levels, until the bubble burst in 1910. After this date, the importation of European breeds went out of fashion.
After World War I, the Japanese Government decided to encourage the selection and registration of cattle exhibiting superior traits of both native and foreign types. There was a considerable gene pool to draw upon, as a wide range of European blood had been introduced to Japan. This variation, together with the original differences among the native cattle, permitted selection according to different criteria in various parts of the country. After World War II, the National Government moved to rationalize the registration process and formally recognized three major Wagyu types or breeds: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, and Japanese Poll. The National Wagyu Cattle Registration Association was established in 1948.
According to the website of the California BBQ Association, "In order to protect its domestic beef industry, the Japanese government imposed strict laws that prohibited the export of any living Japanese Wagyu cattle. However, in 1976, four Wagyu animals were imported into the U.S.: two Tottori Black Wagyu and two Kumamoto Red Wagyu bulls. Then in 1993, two male and three female Tajima cattle were imported, and 35 male and female cattle (consisting of both red and black Wagyu) were imported in 1994.
"Most Kobe Beef today is bred and raised in California and Australia. For example, Harris Ranch in California is contracted with beef producers in Kobe to breed and raise their cattle in California, where land and grain is relatively inexpensive. The cattle is raised and fed under the exacting specifications for Kobe Beef. When the cattle is almost ready for slaughter, it is shipped to Kobe, Japan, where its feeding is completed, and the cattle is slaughtered."
Other producers, such as Lucies Farm Ltd. in England, raise pedigreed Highland and Aberdeen Angus cattle in the traditional Japanese fashion. The cattle are fed a diet of grain and beer, and massaged regularly".
To find out more, and/or to see about finding some beef, here's the link:
Link Here To Go To The Place for Kobe Beef!
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Review Copyright 2005 Lucies Farm Ltd. Lucies Farm also do other good lines of business including turkeys, free range eggs, pampered pooch dog kennelling, christmas hampers, dog food, and the services of a bull.