The cattle that produce PGI Extremaduran Veal are reared on the Extremaduran dehesa grasslands in all the counties within the region.
The local breeds that graze on the dehesas and that are covered by the PGI are Retinta, Avileña-Negra Ibérica, Morucha, Blanca Cacereña, Berrenda en Negro and Berrenda en Colorado and the crosses between them.
The Blanca Cacereña breed was on the brink of disappearing in the mid-1970s. This breed and its crosses with black stock resulted in the Barroso Extremeño variant.
The animals are cared for intensively from birth. The calves feed on mother’s milk up to the age of five months, and the rest of their lives they feed on dehesa grasses. They only receive food supplements when the pasture runs out, and the food provided by the PGI Regulatory Board is always controlled and based on straw, hay, grains and legumes and fibrous concentrates.
Another distinctive feature of animals from the Dehesa de Extremadura PGI is that they live alongside stock of Merino sheep and Iberian pigs, as well as wild fauna. Once again, the dehesa farming system may be the best ally of the human-ecosystem relationship, at a time when there is so much emphasis on sustainability, respect and conservation of the environment.
The PGI certifies three kinds of animals for slaughter:
heifer calf, between seven and 12 months old, characterised by its bright pink meat with white fat, mainly fed mother’s milk, although this can be supplemented with authorised food sources;
yearling bulls, between 12 and 16 months old, with light red to purplish meat and white fat;
and young bull, between 16 and 36 months old, with cherry red meat and yellowish fat.
Everything is strictly controlled from source to labelling and product certification, meaning PGI Extremaduran Veal lives up to its motto, ‘from dehesa to table’.
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