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Why Do We Eat Lamb and Not Sheep?

People prefer to eat lamb instead of adult sheep because the meat is more tender and better tasting. However, many still eat sheep meat, which is also called mutton. Both types of meat are popular around the world, but lamb is more prestigious.

Lamb is seen as a more prestigious type of meat. It is often a part of specialty cuisines and high-class recipes.

Mutton, on the other hand, is slightly more common than lamb. Lamb is seen as more quality meat because it’s more tender and more flavorous, and it’s also much rarer than mutton.

Why Do We Eat Lamb and Not Sheep

Why Do Some People Not Eat Sheep?

Sheep meat, or mutton, is not preferred by some people because it’s dry and bland, and it’s not as flavorful as lamb meat. Other types of meat are preferred instead, such as pork, beef, and chicken.

Some people simply don’t like the taste of mutton. They find it too hard and bland to eat, so they prefer to eat other types of meat. Beef, chicken, and pork might be preferred because of the richer taste, while others simply choose to eat lamb instead.

Mutton is also sometimes not eaten because the meat is not available in the region. In some stores, sheep meat is simply not sold, so many people don’t even get the chance to eat sheep meat.

Fact File

The regions that eat the most sheep meat include:

  • North Africa
  • Middle East
  • India
  • Parts of Europe 

In some of these regions, particularly in some countries of Asia and the Middle East, sheep meat represents more than 20% of all the meat consumption in the country.

So it’s fair to say that whether people eat sheep meat or not comes down mostly to personal taste, but also to cultural reasons.

In some cultures, sheep meat is simply not common and not popular. It is more prevalent in other cultures where sheep meat is eaten widely and is the preferred type of meat.

Which is Better, Lamb or Mutton?

Lamb is seen as a better type of meat than mutton because it’s not as common, it’s more tender, and it has more juice and flavor. On the other hand, mutton is much more easily available and cheaper.

Many people compare lamb and mutton, but the reality is that these two types of meat are quite different, even though they come from the same animal. The technical difference is that lamb meat comes from lambs that are up to 12 months old, while mutton comes from sheep that are older than a year.

This makes a big difference in the quality of meat. The meat from younger sheep is much more tender because the muscles of the animal are not fully developed yet. This makes the meat more tender and juicier when compared to mutton, which is the meat of a fully developed sheep and it is thus a bit tougher.

But in terms of quality, lamb is seen as the better option than mutton. It is of a higher quality because lambs are still not fully developed and the meat is more tender.

This makes lamb more preferred in many cuisines. Another thing is that lamb meat is not as common or as easily available as mutton, so it can be quite a bit more expensive.

Mutton and lamb meat are also used in very different cuisines and scenarios.

For instance, lamb is very popular in Mediterranean cuisines where the meat is grilled. It’s a great type of meat for barbecue or smoking because of its fuller flavor and slightly more tender nature. 

Mutton, on the other hand, is mostly seen in slow-cooking recipes and cuisines. It needs a bit more cooking time since it is slightly tougher than lamb, which makes mutton a bit more desirable in such recipes. This also makes mutton easier to digest and consume.

Related Article: Is a Lamb a Goat or a Sheep?

Why Do Some People Not Eat Lamb?

Some people don’t eat lamb for personal reasons, while others don’t eat it because of cultural, geographical, or religious reasons. Many people believe that eating lamb meat is cruel and unethical.

1. Personal Ethics

One of the main reasons why many people don’t eat lamb is because of ethical reasons. Some believe that slaying lamb for meat is cruel and unethical, especially because they feel that we’re taking the babies away from the mothers purely for meat. However, this is a matter of personal choice and opinion.

Others are simply not pleased with the meat industry in general and have turned to other sources of food. This is especially true for vegans and vegetarians who have started eating other types of food and switched diets because of these ethical reasons.

2. Cost

Another reason why some people don’t eat lamb is because of the higher cost that is connected to the lamb meat. Lamb can be quite expensive to purchase, so some people prefer other sources of meat, such as beef, pork, or chicken. These are more affordable compared to lamb.

Lamb is more expensive because it’s not as easy to procure as other types of meat. Lamb meat is also quite complex and requires more work to obtain. So this is why lamb meat can be a bit more expensive. In some cases, lamb is also imported, which drives the costs of lamb meat up.

3. Religion

Religions, such as Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism don’t eat lamb because their religious texts forbid it. These religions are generally against eating animals for reasons such as ethics and belief in the sanctity of the soul.

Is Lamb Meat Always Baby Sheep?

Yes, lamb meat comes from lambs. These are baby sheep of ages of up to 12 months. In most cases, lamb meat comes from sheep that are between 5 and 8 months old.

Lamb meat comes from sheep of different ages of up to 12 months. In some cases, lamb meat is sold where the sheep are of ages of between 5 and 10 weeks. This is the earliest point where lamb meat is sold.

In most cases, though, lamb meat comes from sheep that are between 3 and 10 months old. This is usually the “sweet spot” when it comes to the quality of lamb meat.

Related Articles about Lambs:


Lamb meat is seen as better quality meat compared to mutton because it’s more tender and more full of flavor. However, some people do eat full-grown sheep, called mutton, and in particular, it can be popular in some non-western cultures.

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