Mattresses make for tender meat

Animal welfare is obviously high on the list of priorities of Marks & Spencer customers.

If not, why on earth would M&S be shouting about some of its Welsh Black beef cattle sleeping on mattresses?

And the result, according to Rob Cumine, M&S's agricultural specialist, can be tasted: "This is some of the most tender, succulent British meat you will ever taste. It is so delicious that it melts in your mouth. Welsh Black Beef cows are reared in the best conditions imaginable. They spend their lives grazing in the beautiful Welsh countryside."

The Welsh Black breed is one of Britain's few surviving pure breeds, which have never been cross-bred and have been grazing in Wales since Roman times. The M&S cattle are from suckler herds and the cows have the benefit of hearing the Welsh language, the "lilting tones" of which "may be more relaxing to listen to than English," claimed M&S.

Bizarre, yes. But the name of the Welsh Black breed seems to attract odd behaviour. Earlier in the year at the Royal Welsh Show, a woman performed a striptease in a Welsh Black cattle shed, the finale of which, according to witnesses, saw her fling her thong onto the end of a pitchfork. Perhaps it was just all part of the entertainment for the pampered cows.

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