Campaign to save rare traditional beef breed

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The Blue Grey Cattle Group has this week launched a campaign to save the long-established traditional breed, native to northern England and the Scottish Borders.

The traditional Blue Grey is a “native first cross”with both its parents pure native breeds of cattle – Whitebred Shorthorn sire and Galloway dam.

And this is where the danger lies, as the Whitebred Shorthorn is traditionally bred solely to produce the Blue Grey and its survival continues to be dependent upon the commercial success of Blue Greys. However, a significant decline in breeders has caused the Whitebred Shorthorn to be classified as critically endangered by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and placed on their watchlist.

Part of the campaign’s purpose is to educate consumers of the superiority of slow-grown traditional beef from Blue Greys, which has been recognised for its excellent quality, succulence and traceability.

The campaign is being backed by Cumbrian celebrity chef Peter Sidwell who champions Blue Grey beef in his restaurant, Peter Sidwell @ Rheged Café.

It was his passion for local produce which led to his support of Blue Grey beef from his native fells. He will be sharing some of his own Blue Grey beef recipes on the campaign website to encourage consumers to use it in cooking.

Karen Telford, secretary for the Blue Grey Cattle Group, said there had been a lack of promotion of the breed in the past. “Consumers have the power to change demand and by launching this campaign, we hope to educate consumers about the Blue Grey traditional breed of cattle, the quality of its slow grown beef and where to find it,” she said.

ANDREW ARBUCKLE