Yes, genetics gives Kobe beef better taste than other beef. For centuries, cattle farmers of Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, bred the Wagyu cattle by strict standards. Canadian ranchers maintained this genetic line when they cross-bred the Wagyu cows with Angus bulls. Because of this unique DNA, Kobe beef has that special marbling of low-saturated fat so that when you quick grill it, the meat is soft and succulent, almost buttery as it melts in your mouth. Mother Nature took care of that.

The cattle ranchers of Alberta, Canada, add to what evolution and selective breeding offer. Take a pure-bred Wagyu cow and put it into a factory farm and you’ll get less than ideal tasting meat. Genetics doesn’t make it all happen.

What do the Alberta ranchers do that is so special? It’s more of what they don’t do. They don’t crowd their herds into small sheds. They don’t feed low-nutritional quality but high-calorie diets to their cows. They don’t shoot their cows with unnecessary hormones and antibiotics, and their cows still seldom get sick. Healthy living, for humans or for cows, leads to health. It’s simple.

A recent Martlet newspaper article on an Alberta rancher personalizes this point. The writer Kristi Sipes details the simple but hard life that the local cattle farmers go through. A factory farm may own hundreds of head of cattle cooped up in a small acre-sized shed. Many Kobe beef family ranchers own 50 to 100 head and acres of open pasture for the cows to graze with their calves at their sides.

Sipes helped feed the cattle a rich diet of wheat, barley, and hay, along with straw for bedding both inside the barn and outside during the winter. This high-quality feed actually results in better beef. Cattle eating this type of food have lower levels of bad fat and higher levels of good fat, the exact opposite of the typical mass-produced meat available at the supermarkets.

The list of how Kobe beef ranchers differ from their factory counterparts goes on and on. One bottom line fact remains: Kobe beef comes from healthier cows and healthier cows result in better tasting meat.

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