Talking about Japanese wagyu, there are a lot of rumors about it, from good to bad ones. One of the most popular rumor is about “Wagyu cattle are drinking beer to stimulate their appetite”, that might be one of the reasons that Muslims are very concerned about enjoying Japanese wagyu.
The Rumour “Wagyu Cattle Drink Beer”; Resolve the Misunderstanding
To resolve your concern, we interviewed Mr. Lee, a butcher specialist from 120-year-old Kobe beef shop “Kobe Motomachi Tatsuya” that distributes halal Kobe beef to all over Japan.
Mr. Lee said, “most wagyu farmers are doing the basic things of creating a living environment for their cows, rather than letting them drink beer and relax. They are focusing on making the cows live as stress-free as possible, by understanding the personality of each cow and its compatibility with other cows before putting them in the barn, and by keeping the rearing environment clean and well maintained. Because cows don’t eat a lot of food if they don’t spend their time in a stress-free environment as much as possible”.
This is also mentioned by Mr. Yoshinori Nakanishi, a Kobe cattle farmer who’s been in the business for nearly 40 years. “Neither I nor any beef farmer I know would ever dream of giving cows beer,” he says, as quoted from the Japan Times.
Mr. Lee added, “Basically, the cows grow up on grain feed. There are various types of feed and the combinations of the feed are controlled carefully according to the condition and age of the cow, as well as the season”.
Mr. Nakanishi also mentioned the same phrase, explains that what Kobe beef really comes down to is love for the highly sensitive creatures, proper care, and feeding them the right blend of grains and grass. The rest is taken care of by nature, which does a fine job of turning out meat whose level of quality is in the stratosphere (quoted from the Japan Times).
Why The Rumour is Spreading?
According to Mr. Lee, it is true that there are some farmers who actually give the cows beer which is said to be started by the Matsuzaka wagyu cattle farmer. However, it is in a very small number. Some medias made a coverage about this ‘very small number’, with a high possibility to disseminate high-impact information.
Furthermore, Kobe Beef Marketing & Distribution Promotion Association mentioned,
“There may well be some farms rearing low numbers of cattle who are doing things bordering on this. But, this does not mean that these rearing methods are all standards for producing prime Kobe Beef. For example, if you make it a custom of playing music at feeding time, then the cows as a conditioned reflex know that it’s feeding time just by hearing the music, and this, it is said, increases their appetite. However, the effect of music on improving meat quality has not yet been proved. There is also the theory that beer is useful in improving cows’ appetites. Actually, however, it can be said that there have been almost no cases of cows being raised on beer. And, massage, too, is considered to be useful in lowering cows’ stress because of the close, physical contact it provides and in indirectly helping to improve the quality of the meat. Once again, however, the massage itself neither softens meat nor increases the amount of marbling”
What We Can Do
In conclusion, we do not have to worry nor directing our ears to such rumors. Especially for the halal wagyu meat in Japan, it is breed carefully with a great combination of grain with skillful Wagyu cattle farmers and slaughtered in Syariah way, at a halal-certified slaughtered house, and with Muslim staff.