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Bison Farming brings the Wild West to Bulgaria

Bulgaria is now home to Eastern Europe’s first ever bison farm.  The farm is located in the village of Orlov Dol, which means "Eagle's Valley" in Bulgarian. The village is part of Haskovo Municipality and lies 45 km from Elhovo and 15 km from Topolovgrad. Its natural rural surroundings make it the perfect place for hunting and fishing and other forms of eco tourism.

 

Swiss Innovation

Eurobison, the Swiss company behind the bison venture have set up the farm with 12 male North American prairie bison. The company have invested 1 million Euros and will also qualify for further EU finding to develop their business here. Eurobison plan to have 184 bison by February 2009 and this number will include 70 pregnant females. The first of the bison herd will have 500 decares on which to roam. In all the company have rented 1,500 decares of land for their project, but as the farm grows they will ultimately need greater acreage, as each bison needs 10 decares of land.


Eurobison’s aim is to farm the bison for their meat as well as developing hunting tourism. Hunters will be able to shoot a bison for a staggering 4,000 Euros, for which the hunter will receive a trophy after the shoot and the company will keep and process the meat. The company also plans to support developments in Orlov Dol by creating some elements of the American Wild West, which will include a saloon bar, a church and town square and regular rodeo shows.

Bison, a healthy option


Bison have hardly changed over the last 40 million years, yet in the 1800’s bison were hunted to virtual extermination, but thanks to a few savvy farmers they are no longer an endangered species. More and more farming concerns worldwide have been turning to bison as an alternative livestock. The nutritional value of the meat alone has alerted healthy eaters to the benefits of eating bison meat. Bison meat is much less fatty than beef and contains 25–30% more protein. It is also lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol than beef, pork and skinless chicken. The meat is usually cooked in the same way that you would cook cuts of beef, including mince, but it cooks much faster.

Bison are extremely fit animals capable of swimming wide rivers and climbing high mountain peaks. An adult male is generally 3.5 m in length and 1.5 tons in weight, yet it survives on a very simple diet, which consists mainly of grass and low-lying shrubs. During winter, when grass is covered by deep snow, they eat the twigs of shrubs and plants, although bison farmers tend to feed them on grain as well. Euro bison animals will be raised on a diet, which excludes any chemical or genetically modified products.