Natural & Halal Farming – The Willowbrook Way

Natural & Halal Farming – The Willowbrook Way

Our meat is sourced from Willowbrook Farm in Oxford. To help you get a little bit of insight as to how the Willowbrook family farm we thought we’d share some of their beliefs and principles which shape the way they work. The following text is also present on their website and can be viewed here: http://www.willowbrookorganic.org/node/25

 

Our principles

As a Muslim family we derive our principles for farming from the concepts of halal/halaal and tayib/tayyib (purity and wholesomeness). This means we adopt a holistic approach to all aspects of food production, from the soil to the consumer. We keep our flock of sheep at a naturally sustainable and manageable stocking level, meaning they have plenty of access to their fresh grass and hay. Even in our non-organic produce, we still strive to meet the highest standards: using no chemicals, or hormones on our livestock or on our pasture.

Unlike many farmers rearing large numbers of comercial fast growing birds we choose to rear traditional natural breeds of chicken in small mobile poultry units again with permanent access to their pasture. Our principles are informed by the desire to farm naturally, organically and sustainably:

    • To treat livestock ethically, meeting their physiological and behavioural needs
    • To maintain the long term fertility and biological activity of soils
    • To foster biodiversity and protect sensitive habitats and landscape features
    • To maximise use of renewable sources and recycling
    • To minimise pollution and waste
    • To develop ecologically responsible production, processing and distribution chains, emphasising local systems

What is Halal?

Halal literally means ‘acceptable’ or ‘sanctified’. But the concept of halal food goes further than the literal meaning and is used in the Quran in conjunction with the word ‘tayyib’, meaning wholesome, healthy or natural.

Chapter 5:4  “They ask you what is lawful (halal) for them. Say “what is natural and wholesome (Tayib) is lawful (halal) for you.

This requires us to ensure that animals are reared in a welfare friendly environment, fed a natural diet and are taken to slaughter in a calm environment which minimises any suffering.

 

So why choose Organic?

Unfortunately much of the mass produced food we can buy so cheaply fails to meet the true standards of halal or tayyib food. The simple act of of thanking God at the point of slaughter cannot forgive a lifetime of suffering and abuse to the animals we consume.

The principles of organic and free range farming represent the traditional methods of working in harmony with nature to produce top quality healthy produce. Organic production requires that no chemicals are used, either in the production of the animals, or the feed they consume. This includes not using medication other than natural organic remedies.

 

Why Free Range?

Free range refers to the provision of access to open pasture for animals during daylight hours. It is worth noting that natural breeds such as the chickens we rear are able to take advantage of such conditions whereas the standard commercial breeds (e.g. Ross Cobs) have no natural inclination to take advantage of a natural environment and will be unlikely to move more than a few meteres in their whole unnatural life. However, you could be unknowingly buying these varieties in supermarkets under the label Free Range or Organic.

Organic and Free Range are both labels that only scratch the surface of natural, ethical farming methods. We do our best to meet the highest standards, whilst still making a compromise to keep our prices as low as possible. If you have any questions about our farming process and ethics, please get in touch with them by email.