All Riverview Sausage bison is locally produced & naturally raised by Qu'Appelle Valley Bison, in Saskatchewan.
QVB maintains a Herd that is grass-fed/finished, no grains, without injections, and no exposure to chemicals. This is the basis of our operational model. Our goal is to give the bison as natural an existence as possible (within the boundaries of our property), and to give the end consumer the healthiest meat available.
Meat labeling can often be difficult for the consumer to fully understand, as it is, mostly, an unregulated area of marketing. Terms such as “Organic”, ”Free Run” or ”Pasture Raised” are open to a broad range of interpretations. As for “grass-fed” and “grass-raised”, it only means that the animal has had grass in its diet, but likely may also have had grains. Our position is that modern grains are not a historic component of bison’s food source, and therefore they don’t have the ability to digest it without developing rumen acidosis (similar to dyspepsia or indigestion). As well, modern grains change the lipid profile of bison, giving rise to a higher than desirable Omega 6 content, which has been shown to cause inflammation in humans.
We’ve chosen to raise our Herd on a primarily grass diet (native-grass pasture for most of the year, hay bales in the Winter), along with a legume based supplement that provides additional minerals & vitamins. Elements such as copper and selenium have either been played out in the soil, or are in very short supply here. Both are critical to the health and wellbeing of bison. Native species legumes are found in the Prairie ecosystem, so subsequently bison evolved with this food over thousands of years. Our Herd rounds out its diet on various other forbs, shrubs and plants that naturally occur on our land, drinking fresh spring water year ’round. Given the above diet, we market our bison meat as “Grass-fed, grass-finished”.
When it comes to “finishing” our bulls for harvest, we do not have a protocol that deviates from our Whole Herd concept of keeping the calves, cows, & bulls together as an integrated group. A common method with livestock producers is to use feedlots for the last 90 to 120 days prior to processing animals, whereby a large component of the animal’s diet is supplemented by modern grains. The term ”feedlot” has fallen out of use, replaced by the euphemism ”Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation”, known by the acronym “CAFO”. While this method achieves rapid weight gains in the animal, we’ve chosen not to use this option. While it means that our animals take several months longer to reach marketable weight, it doesn’t align with our principles. We do, however, respect that every producer has his own preferred way of raising animals.
So, when you’re trying to determine what the healthiest meat is for you and your family, take a bit of time to fully appreciate what the label on your food means. Most bison producers are happy to let you know how their bison is raised, including supplements or other interventions such as injections. If you’re in the market for the most natural end-product of bison farming, then we’re your number one source. Grass-fed, grass-finished, no additives, and roaming the Prairie landscape much like they’ve done since the last Ice Age.