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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 April 2006, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
Farmer hopes to sell bison meat
American bison
Lord Newborough wants to sell bison meat to London restaurants
A businessman hopes to start selling American bison meat after importing a herd for his north Wales farm.

The animals, which were once close to extinction in the USA, are settling down in their new home at Rhug Organic Farm near Corwen, Denbighshire.

Farm owner Lord Robert Newborough says the meat is as tasty as venison and lower in fat and cholesterol than fish or chicken - although twice the price.

He plans to breed enough bison to start selling the meat within a few years.

Lord Newborough bought the five cows and a bull - believed to be the first in Wales - from a herd of 250 animals in Dublin.

Healthy option

The beasts are native to North America but Lord Newborough is not expecting any problems with the bison adapting to their new home.

He said: "Their environment can range from minus 40 degrees to plus 40, so they shouldn't have a problem fitting in over here.

"We're hoping that the cows are already in calf, so hopefully, come May or June, their numbers will increase.

"We are hoping to breed from them and build their herd size.

"Further down the line, the aim is to sell the meat, both over the counter and to top restaurants in London.

"The eating property of the meat is on a par, if not better than venison.

"And from a healthy eating point of view, it's lower in cholesterol and fat than both fish and chicken."

The bison cost twice as much as cattle, but Lord Newborough, who already sells organic meat at the farm, hopes customers will not be put off the price.

He added:" I think people are prepared to pay more these days for quality products. Also, I think the demand will increase because of the health benefits."

American bison
Bison meat is said to be lower in fat than fish or chicken

It is thought there were more than 60 million bison roaming the USA just 200 years ago.

Many were wiped out by hunters because the rampaging herds would often damage train tracks being built across the plains.

Today, there are thought to be no more than 400,000.

The large, horned animals normally live for around 20 years in the wild, sometimes up to 40 years in captivity.

Males grow up to 1000kg, females to around 600kg.




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Watch the bison as they adapt to life on the farm



SEE ALSO:
Swiss bison boost Russian herds
18 Nov 02 |  Europe
Bison bones open ancient window
14 Nov 02 |  Science/Nature


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