What makes the UK’s best butchers? Ones that offer great-tasting meat from animals that have genuinely been free to roam and fed a natural diet that means they are the healthiest for you and your family to enjoy.

Although a staggering 70% of meat is factory farmed in the UK, 70% of the world’s food is actually still produced by smallholder farmers (and a lot of them are women, but that’s another topic, for another time). One of the biggest food myths of our time is that we need factory farming to feed the world. We don’t.

Broadly speaking, factory farms are created in boardrooms because they provide big profits for the people in those boardrooms – at the expense of the farmer, the environment, animal welfare and our health. This video from Farms not Factories, sums up the ugly truth about pig factory farming in Northern Ireland, beautifully. But it’s not just happening there. Whether you’re in Suffolk or Yorkshire and eating “locally produced” meat – there’s a good chance it’s from an intensive farm. Here’s what you need to know about how the meat you eat is really farmed when it comes to chicken, pork, beef and lamb.

This page is celebrating the really great farmers in the UK who care for their animals and the environment and create great tasting food. Below are our guides to buying top-quality meat. Below that, our growing list of favourite butchers. Know of one who should be listed? Send us your recommendations to hello@bicbim.co.uk.

IT'S THEM NOT YOU: THE QUESTIONS TO ASK TO FIND A BRILLIANT BUTCHER

Clever marketing using words such as local, farm fresh, British and natural are meaningless when it comes to animal welfare, but conveniently lead people to believe they’re purchasing a higher-quality product. It’s purposefully confusing and it can be intimidating to ask questions if you’re not 100% sure of the answers you’re looking for.

A genuinely good butcher will be proud to answer your questions, and if they’re dismissive or unclear, be assured it’s more likely to be them trying to cover something up than you asking a stupid question.

Five Questions To Ask Your Butcher About Beef

ASK ABOUT BEEF

Six Questions To Ask Your Butcher About Pork

ASK ABOUT PORK

Three Questions To Ask Your Butcher About Chicken

ASK ABOUT CHICKEN

Three Questions To Ask Your Butcher About Lamb

ASK ABOUT LAMB

BUTCHERS WE RECOMMEND

Unsurprisingly, the butchers with the best quality – and by that we mean tastiest meat – have the best welfare standards from birth to slaughter. Taking that for granted, here’s some of our favourite butchers and the reasons why we think they’re so good…

FOOD STORIES