Let me preface this post by saying this is not directed towards vegans or vegetarians or anybody who chooses not to eat meat. If you have chosen to avoid meat, more power to ya.’
It all started with undescended goat testicles (as most stories do)…
Our little Nigerian Dwarf goat, Lacey, had just given birth to triplets. Because we don’t typically keep the males, we listed him on Craigslist to be sold either as a buck (with testicles and the ability to breed) or as a wether (no testicles and no breeding abilities).
We got a call right away from a young woman (let’s call her Andrea) who had always wanted a pet goat. We thought she would be a great fit for our little male because castrated males make wonderful little loving pets.
Unfortunately, when it came time to castrate the little fella, we discovered that his testicles hadn’t descended, something we were pretty discouraged about. You see, to have him as a buck or a wether would be detrimental either way. It would cost about $300 to have them surgically removed, a big financial setback considering wethers can only be sold for about $50. Keeping the testicles wasn’t an option either because his hormones would turn him into an aggressive, smelly buck. And YET, his sperm wouldn’t be viable because they die from being stored in his abdomen, so nobody would buy him as a buck. Those scrotum sacs are there for reason: To keep the sperm alive at an optimal temperature.
So, you see our conundrum. When we called Andrea to tell her the bad news, she was undeterred. She loved his sweet face and personality she said she’d pay the cost to have him castrated surgically.
She took him home the next day.
4 months later I get a phone call…
Yep, you guessed it. It was Andrea. She was upset that he was starting to become aggressive and humping everything in sight. We told her she could castrate him, but she said instead she wanted to sell him. She asked if I knew anybody, and I told her I would ask around, even though I knew the chances of somebody taking a goat with issues like this would be slim.
Luckily, I found the perfect person to take him. His name was Mundo and he is the most adorable, knowledgeable, and helpful, 80 year old man I know. He agreed to take him and I was happy I’d found a place for the little guy.
Mundo was born in Mexico, and his culture and heritage has many traditions. One of them is raising and butchering their own meat. They use EVERY part of the animal, and to me, it’s a beautiful thing to see such appreciation for animal husbandry. Mundo has come to our home often to teach us his butchering methods. He taught my children that killing animals is never funny, and that we should thank God for every harvest.
Here’s where it gets complicated.
Now, I specifically chose to NOT tell Andrea that Mundo raises goats for meat. Some of you may think that was wrong, but I had a feeling she’d have issues with it and I thought it best if she didn’t know. Sort of an “ignorance is bliss” kind of thing.
Everything was arranged and Andrea scheduled a time to drop the 6 month old male goat off at Mundo’s place.
A few minutes later Andrea called me crying because she had driven to Mundo’s house and he was butchering a goat “RIGHT THERE IN HIS BACKYARD!” She couldn’t believe that he was so mean to goats and she said she wasn’t comfortable dropping her goat off in his care.
I tried to talk to her and tell her that Mundo would let him live a good life, that he’d be with other goats and that when Mundo butchered his animals he gently pierced their jugular veins so they’d pass out first. I told her he was a kind and gentle man. But yes, he did raise his own meat, just like we do here on our farm.
She could not be convinced. She said it was brutal, and she thought it was wrong.
I asked her if she ate meat. She said she did, but that was different, that she “bought meat from the store.”
I’m sorry, but if you can’t tolerate farm butchering, you shouldn’t eat meat.
I understand when people choose to avoid eating meat. There are plenty of vegans and vegetarian with conviction and who live what they believe.
What I don’t understand is people who ALREADY EAT MEAT that have issues with home butchering.
I don’t understand why it’s okay to buy meat from the store, from a source where the animal is raised in poor conditions, living in their own feces, eating less than optimal food, some never seeing the sun. BUT YET an animal who is raised on a farm, with rich green grass, plenty land to run and play… somehow THAT is worse?
It reminds me of the person who commented on one of my butchering posts, “Why don’t you just get meat from the store where it’s made?”
What??? When did we get so disconnected to where our food comes from? And when did it become so wrong to teach children proper butchering techniques?
I get that everybody doesn’t want to butcher animals in their backyard, but…
People have GOT to get more comfortable with those of us that do. If you decide to purchase farm animals, whether it’s a chicken or a goat, you’ve got to understand that if you can no longer care for it, others may just raise them for meat. And that’s okay.
Once of my biggest pet peeves is seeing chickens for sale on Craigslist with the clause that they will not sell them to anybody who plans on eating them. Um, I’m sorry, but if you can no longer care for your farm animal, you’ve got to understand that 90% of people who you’re selling to may decide to harvest it.
What I wish people would understand about us farm people is…
We don’t do this because we are ravenous monsters who eat exorbitant amounts of meat. We do this because we appreciate REAL MEAT, from animals that are raised naturally.
We also tend to eat LESS MEAT because we know the work that goes into it and we want to make it last. Just the other day I was talking to my friend Shaye about how we try to avoid eating our meat chickens stored in the freezer, simply because we know all the work it took to get them there. We make it last as long as possible.
Part of the reason why we raise our own animals is to take ownership of our choice to eat meat. We feel that if we cannot do it ourselves, we shouldn’t be eating it period.
So, next time you start a hobby flock of chickens and decide they are no longer worth your time, just remember that there are people who would gladly take them off your hands. Yes, they’ll probably butcher them. And you’re just going to have to be okay with that.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them!
If you’re interested in at-home butchering, check out my previous blog posts on the subjects…
- How to Butcher & Process a Lamb Part 1
- How to Butcher & Process a Lamb Part 2
- How to Raise Meat Chickens: Part 1
- How to Butcher a Chicken (the right way)
Jocelin Montijo says
I have no problem with butchering but I can’t do the cutting myself. Like I’m so clumsy, I cut and burn myself every time I cook dinner. I do have 2 big problems with this story though. First the goat shouldn’t have been sold as a pet, even a homestead should have quality control. Second it was not ok to withhold information from the buyer about the new home. That was a pet to her and she shouldn’t have been in a situation where she is bringing her pet to a new home to be confronted with this unknown fate. What if she asked to visit him? What if she asked for photos? Being open and honest about farm butchering is one way we can change the narrative around it. For those of us that do butcher, it is also important to respect that some people get woosey when seeing the actual act even if they don’t think it is wrong. (I’m guessing Mundo knew that Andrea was being misled about the fate of her goat).
I agree entirely with the sentiment expressed here. I have no trouble whatsoever killing an animal, I’ve watched death occur from every angle since I was a toddler. It’s a reality of the universe that in order to continue existing, animals must consume and exploit the nutrients of other lifeforms. The world is one big buffet all the way down to the dirt which consists of endless feasting microbes.
I love the taste of meat, I love the ease with which it supplies nutrients and humanity’s long history of acquiring it. But I can never fully get over the brutality of it. Even if every attempt to make the process as humane as possible is taken, there’s just some nagging force gives me a squeamish feeling. I come from a family of hunters, butchers and fishermen. I have hunted and killed hundreds of animals with firearms. Each time it came to the knife and the processing of the dead animal into edible meat the weight of that force has come down on me. If I’m hungry enough, if I’m irritable or if I’m just not thinking about it, I can get through without problems. But sitting down, even as I type this, the feeling returns. What is it? How do I get rid of it?
Catherine A O'Connell says
I totally agree and that why id love to have a farm. Because these animals deserve respect. And i totally would love some info on how to utilize animals from nose to tail.
Thank you for this post. It helped me better wrap my head around the thought of butchering an animal I raise. I want goats but I live in a location where selling a kid or three every year will be very challenging. This helped!
Great post. My husband and I raise meat rabbits and we just had a great moment with some family over Easter. Some of my cousins were mortified that we raise rabbits to butcher them. “I just don’t understand how you can kill an animal,” said one of my cousins… as he was tearing into a roast leg of lamb. We pointed out what he was eating and his only reply was “Yeah but I didn’t kill it.” People have become so far removed from where their food comes from it’s no wonder they waste so much of it.
It’s sad that people have become so disconnected to their food. That disconnection leads to so many problems. I understand not everyone has the ability to raise their own food, but they should know and respect where it comes from. Good luck with your rabbit production! Thanks for posting! -Bobbi (DaNelle’s Assistant)
I have the greatest respect for small farmers. I know how much time and love goes into the animals they tend to. The People who say ‘I could never do that’ are people who have never been hungry. I have not in my lifetime raised and harvested an animal but I am sure if my children needed it it would be done. At least I would know the animal would have been loved.
Thank you for this post, DaNelle. I agree you, people who can`t tolerate farm butchering should not eat meat – or be quiet! Your video showing processing a chicken step by step I saw a few months ago was very interesting. We think about rising chickens at home, but we won`t if I`m not able to slaughter them when the time comes. So I decide to try killing a chicken at my girl friend in a few weeks. But `m not sure if the method shown in your other post is the best… and if I can do this. What do you think about chopping the chicken`s head off instead of sliding through the throat and let it bleed out? Which method is better? I suppose I will try it, but I don`t want to make the chicken suffering in any way. I`m already excited…
Either method will work and both are humane. So pick whichever you think will work best for you. If you’ve never decapitated a chicken before, I’d suggest looking up a video or two to get some useful tips so it goes smoothly and you keep all your digits and appendages free from harm. Best of luck! Thank you -Bobbi (DaNelle’s Assistant)
Andrea Parker-Straub says
The reason why you hang them, slit their throat and let them bleed out is because when you simply behead a chicken their nerves are still active and they flop crazily around. This causes the meat to become bruised and not as good quality.
Hope this helps?
-The Good Shepherd Project-
Paul Patterson says
I can NOT do it myself. Dad would kill the chickens when I was a kid, and I’d help Momma pluck them. Then I would eat the dumplings and not touch the chicken. As an adult, I still can’t butcher. BUT that said, I have absolutely no problem with others doing it, and in fact fresh butchered from a farm is SO much better!
I just found this site from a friend sharing this article, and I will be reading the rest 🙂
Thank you for this post! I grew up on a farm, and we had a small beef operation. We also raised chickens for the eggs, and geese, ducks, and at one point, a pig. It was a hobby farm, essentially, for my parents, because my father has a full-time job (more than full-time, really, but that’s neither here nor there). As a part of growing up like that, you start to appreciate where your food comes from. It was definitely startling when I first learned where the steak that I enjoyed came from one of the bulls we had had. Oh, childhood. 🙂
That all being said, I know that I have a hard time with butchering. I have an appreciation for where my meat comes from, and I take time to thank the Universe every time I get some meat from my parents’ farm. We do make sure that our meat is processed by a local, small, humane operation, and while it’s not quite like butchering your own, I still feel good about it. And so, I continue to eat meat.
Maybe one day I’ll get there. I would like to have my own homestead within the next 5 years. We’ll see. Thanks again!
Melinda Sykes says
I’ve been enjoying a few of your articles on farming, raising goats, gardening, and slaughtering your “for meat” livestock. I really appreciate your approach and common sense.
I’m in the infancy stages of moving to a simpler and sustainable way of living. I have a 3-5 year plan to buy 3+ acres and start a small farm for my needs and possibly raise enough goats and chickens to also sell to support myself.
On the matter of slaughtering. I’m currently 51 and I sure don’t have the physical strength presently to do my own slaughtering. Are there options for assistance with this? Maybe after I build up my physical strength I could manage with some lessons. My lack of physical strength is another reason I want a small farm. I know if I go at it gradually, I’ll build up to handling a dozen goats, a flock of chickens, and rabbits along with a vegetable and herb garden.
Thank you kindly for any suggestions you might have. Please reply in my email in addition to here.
DaNelle Wolford says
There are usually meat processors in the area. Look around and you might find some that you can bring your animals to!
I will be getting a couple of Nigerian dwarf/Nubian mix doe’s here in 5 more weeks they were born 7/4/2016 so July 4th. I will be breeding them in about 10months with a Nigerian dwarf buck well I am breeding both does to other bucks from the same breeder. But if I have bucks I will be castrating them and raising them to butcher I know you won’t get much meat off of them but I love goat meat.
I know some people have problems with people who butcher farm animals. I would rather have my own raised turkey or chicken or my own raised duck and goat instead of giving money to the stores who get there meat from where the animals sit in there own filth and get there babies taken away from there mothers so they can keep the milk it is just horrible that people get all up set when they see people butcher farm animals that lived a happy healthy life.
DaNelle Wolford says
Please excuse autocorrect for my misspelling of “their” in my previous post.
Chimps eat meat. They’re teeth are just like ours.
Looks like you need to take your misinformed lectures to the jungle. Teach an enlightened chimp sign language so they too, may spread the good word.
My thoughts exactly. I am a vegitarian for this very reason. I can not bring myself to kill an animal, so I am not going to pay someone else to do it. If other people want to eat (humane) meat, go ahead. Each of us makes chioces which we deem are best for us. Meat can be a very heathly addition to one’s diet. Who am I to tell you not to do something?
There is a high level of thought which allows us to eat animal. You raised the animal and gave it the best life you could. you fed the animal, and it, as a thank you, gives its life to feed you. Quite beautfull actually.
I was raised old fashioned, homeschooled, and while I understand and agree that we should raise our own meat if possible, I have to admit that while we had milk goats, I did get pretty attached to them. we had one where she got foxtails in her jaw and we did not know that they were bad for any animal, and they worked into the bottom jaw. It was horrible, but even then (pet milk doe) we had her butchered and ate her. At that point it was the only humane thing to do. Then we had to pull the foxtails out of all the other animals that we had, to prevent it happening to them. I also have to admit that I have to nerve myself up to kill any animal from poultry to cows. although I would have a hard time eating any animal that was raised not specifically for meat, I would have to know that I was raising them for meat to be able to easily butcher them.
I agree though that we as a society have become way to removed from the food process that we need to survive, and as for dogs and cats being able to survive without meat, they need a lot of supplemental vitamins and minerals to replace what the meat gave them. As well as having tooth problems from not eating meat, even humans can have problems with their teeth, and other organs when they do not eat meat. Just as those people who only eat meat will have problems because they do not get the vitamins and nutrients that plants provide.
“interesting point: planes took a long time to become popular for travel in the really cold places (alaska, yukon…etc), because if you where snowed in by a blizzard, for long enough to have no food left, you could not eat a plane.
My philosophy: If I can’t kill it I’m not eating it. I’ve determined that I cannot kill a goat so I don’t eat goat meat. However, I don’t judge anyone else for raising goats for meat. If I had a pet goat & needed to sell it, I would make sure it wasn’t going for meat… To me that’s no different than making sure a dog is going to a safe loving home. I can kill a chicken so I eat chicken. I eat beef so I’ve decided that eventually I need to kill a cow, just to be sure thay I can. My sister thinks I’m brutal because I’m planning to raise my own chickens for meat in the next couple years. She is a vegetarian so I told her she is allowed to have that opinion. However, she does not think other members of the family who eat store bought meat are brutal. We’ve had numerous debates on this topic. Anyway… For those who don’t want to sell there chickens or animals, etc. for meat I think that’s ok. For some people their chickens, goats, etc. are like there dogs, and so what if they don’t want them butchered. They don’t have to accept that if they don’t want to. However, I agree that they should not eat whatever meat it is that they couldn’t see killed, chickens, cows, goats, whatever it may be. One thing that’s always been interesting to me though is how some animals such as dogs are considered different in our society. If someone were selling a dog on craigslist & wanted to make sure it had a loving home as a pet, would we tell them that they should just accept that some people kill & butcher dogs? I’ve always found that concept strange.
Cal me a Prude if you must but, i was right there with my grandfather and father butchering a hog and i actually UNDERSTOOD that it was so we could eat it and boy did it taste better then store bought pig meats. it tasted natural and had no chemical taste. I also raised chickens and ate the eggs but i did NOT eat the birds they were pets of mine and special. how ever when i had to get rid of them i gave them to the school for the FFA. would i change how i was raised just to satisfy others HELL NO! if you cant eat meat fine but dont badger people who do. we dont berate you for your life choices. i
d skin and butcher a hog or chicken or even a cow for the meat. and quite frankly i like my steaks rare.
I think your article is spot on! My husband and I just got our first laying chickens and we plan on having broilers soon. We also are going to get bees and possibly a few hogs in the future. We dreamed of this lifestyle for several years, but my husband is in the Army and moving every couple of years prevented us from wanting to start this up. But, now he is very close to retirement and we bought ourselves our “forever home” and are beginning what we hope will be a long healthy path of self sufficiency. I really don’t understand people who judge people who want to live like this. I get sick when I am driving on the highway in our area and see the “chicken trucks” as I call them 18 wheelers stuffed full of chickens. They are in tiny cages with no room to move, there is nothing to protect them from wind, rocks flying up, etc. This is what people think is humane practice for meat? These birds are what people are getting at the grocery store. That is what I consider inhumane and cruel.
Teresa Nutter says
The way I look at it is. There is no reason why an animal raised to be butchered should miss out on the good life and love before being humanly killed. I know I could go to the sale barn and buy a pig that is ready for slaughter, but I want to know what all went into that pig. I give my pigs great food and lots of love. I stand there and just laugh at them as they play in the fresh hay I give them. Or the straw I give them for their house. Yes it will hurt me terribly when the time comes to butcher them. We are going to do it ouselves. I am so tired of taking an animal to the slaughter house and not getting our meat back. Also I want them to be at peace right up until the end. I will have to have someone else do the killing and cutting the jugular. I just can’t do that as of yet. After they are dead, then I can handle the rest. I also have sheep,meat rabbits,&a jursey steer to butcher. A lot of work but I will know exactly what we are eating. Thank you for your post.
I’m a vegetarian and I loved this article. I CAN’T stand the thought of harming an animal, especially one I’ve cared for BUT I hate the ignorance that has consumed people in this modern day. The average American has truly disconnected the meat they eat bought from a store or restaurant from a living animal. They think “pets” are animals they see and meat are animals they don’t see. I’m not anti-meat eaters, I’m anti-ignorance. If you don’t want to harm animals, then don’t eat meat. If you want to eat meat, then respect what’s involved in creating that meat, and applaud the people who will give their meals a comfortable life and a quick death first.
DaNelle Wolford says
Thank you, Sarah!
Hi, I just found your site while searching for info on getting started with goats. I love raw milk, and we have a few chickens already. I’m inspired that you do so much on one acre. I have 5, plenty of room to fulfill all my farming fantasies, right?
Any how I completely agree with you about knowing where your food comes from and taking responsibility. My first time butchering a chicken was this spring, one of our hens was an incorrigible egg eater. As long as she only messed with her own egg, I let it slide. The day I came out to the coop and found 3 destroyed eggs, and her beak covered in yolk, I knew we were done here. I was saving eggs to incubate, she was not only a worthless freeloader, she had actually started sabotaging the future of my flock. I watched a few YouTube videos, seriously considered waiting for my husband, but in the end I knew I needed to take the responsibility. She had a good life, and I made the end of it as peaceful as I could. It was good practice, my incubator worked great. I hatched out 13 fine healthy birds, 11 cockerels and 2 pullets. Butchered 10 of the males a few weeks ago. It was messy smelly work, but it was worth it for us to be able to do for ourselves.
Next month we hope to bring home our goats, pregnant and used to being handled. I should get to meet them this week. My friend who raised them is breeding them for us, and will breed them next year if we want. I am so excited, this has been a wish of mine for several years now.
Cara Dailey says
Kathryn, I think I can help you with your VERY uneven hatch rate 🙂 Until recently I worked on a farm that raises game birds and we hatched 10’s of thousands of eggs every year. When you get an unusually high ratio of roosters to hens it’s because your incubator temperature is slightly too high. You will still have a good hatch rate, but your ratio will be off. We found it’s actually better to have your temp set 2/10 of a degree low.
I believe that killing the meat you eat your self and thanking god for it and honoring the animal is the best way to go by far but I always have my husband do it I just can never bring myself to actually kill we have chickens and i grew up dunking and plucking the chickens my dad and grandpa killed in front of me every time I go to do it I just freeze up to afraid that I’ll miss and it’ll suffer i hate not being able to because I don’t think it’s right for my husband to be the one who has to. I would love it if you would write about the proper way to go about doing it I think it’s somthing a lot of people should know about and even though I was raised around it nobody ever taught me the right way of going about it
Sorry just found your chicken butchering video! Thank you very very helpful
Well said to the Author! We just started a small flock of chickens in our one acre yard. We left a big city for a more country style life. I have to say so far it was a decision I wish we had made sooner. We have 6 pullets and 1 Roo. None are laying yet, soon our two oldest will(cant wait). Once everyone is laying and ready for breeding we plan to let the hens raise some chicks for meat. Not sure if I am going to do the butchering myself as of yet, or if we will take it down the road to our local butcher. We hope to get a couple milking goat doelings next and will do the same with their offspring, sell or butcher the kids for a little extra fresh meat for our family.
Even when we lived in a Big city, my two young daughters have always been told how we get food, where it comes from, how animals kill eachother to survive, just as humans have to consume food that is grown or slaughtered for our survival. They look at a whole raw chicken at the store and I will say someday we will do that and eat some of our chickens too. My girls are 3 and 6, they are young but they get it. I swear as the generations go on children are left to believe that food comes from the grocery store and that is it. Parents need to show their children(I took mine a few times a year to the local Orchard to pick our own fruits and veggies in the middle of Las Vegas, so yes it can be done) and explain how it gets from the orchard, or the farm to the store. Dont let them be so nieve in thinking that burgers come from McDonalds, or that fruit comes from a shelf in a store!
One more thing… How the F do we go from farm animals to abortions?! But to throw in my two cents, my view is that its not a definitive line that is right or wrong, I think its citcumstantial. I think its wrong for the same girl or woman to have an abortion multiple times and abuse it as an alternative to birth control and people like that should just be given a hysterectomy(the end). But is it wrong for a woman who is raped or molested and abused by anyone to not want to keep a fetus that was made out of pain, fear, and hate, rather than love? Would you want to carry the burden of being raped inside you for 9 months? And then be faced with looking at this tiny person who reminds you of, or even looks like someone that hurt you so deeply? And dont say then give it up for adoption, because then you are just a moron. Adoption would just add to the damage and add to the pain cause by someone else. Im just saying Crap happens, so how can you define something as 100% completely wrong and against it if you dont know their story? What about someone on pain medications for an accident, and a BC pill was missed or a condom got a hole or tear? Should they go ahead and have the baby knowing that(and being told by doctors and medication labels) it may be severely disabled in either physical or mental capability because of the strong prescribed drugs they were on for the first 2 months before they realized they were pregnant. Again, Crap happens. To each their own I say. If you dont know them, how can you judge them? Theres my 2 cents, or I guess that was more like 45 cents. Lol
This discussion has been quite interesting. I thank God that I live in a country where I have the freedom to speak my mind and to make my own decisions. This same freedom applies to those who disagree. Once someone is able to dictate based on their view of marality what others can or cannot do, then we begin to lose our freedomes. If I may, I want to throw a few questions out there for those who believe they hold the moral high ground: How do you feel about abortion, is it morally right? Do you own anything at all made from animals, leather shoes, belts, bags, car seats…you get the idea. Do you have pets and if so what do you feed them? How about humting…without it how do you keep wild herds healthy and fromdying due to lack of food and habitat. Remember this wonderful country was founded on freedom and personal responsibility. Thanks for listening.
Jennifer Moore says
I do not hold any moral higher ground at all but I will answer your questions . I am against abortion. I do my level best not to purchase anything made with animals…animal skin really does belong on the animals. I feed my cats cat food which contains meat because they are carnivore’s and cannot survive without it. The dogs get a meat based diet but but I am learning that they do not have to have meat either so I am looking into other alternatives for them. I am against hunting. You seem to care so much about rights…what about the animals rights? Do they not have any so you can have yours?
“We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.”
~Albert Schweitzer, The Philosophy of Civilization
Egghead Hill says
Albert Schweitzer wasn’t actually a vegetarian.
In Here’s Harmlessness: An Anthology of Ahimsa, compiled by H. Jay Dinshah (founder of the American Vegan Society) are quotations by Schweitzer including the following: “I am conscious that flesh-eating is not in accordance with the finer feelings and I abstain from it whenever I can.”
From The Vegetable Passion by Janet Barkas (New York 1975): “…Schweitzer was convinced of vegetarianism as an ideal of reverence for life and regretted he could not fulfil that goal as completely as he would have liked”.
From ‘Olga – the memoirs of Olga La Marquise de St. Innocent’ published in 1974: “Woody and I often lunched or dined with Schweitzer and his wife. He always ate with gusto – veal cutlets, steak, or chicken – whatever was put before him. In spite of the fact that he had invented that wonderful phrase, “respect for life,” those cutlets from the little dead calf got no respect from Schweitzer. “
Humans are omnivores
Hi! Thanks for the honest article! I, too, am moving in a more sustainable, less dependent life style. I am starting out with some laying hens and I am adding a couple of ducks here shortly. I live in town, so that’s about the extent of what I can do at the moment. BUT my boyfriend and I are planning on making The Move just as soon as we feasible can, to a more rural area in Western NC to purchase a farm. Our intent is to start raising meat chickens, a couple of hogs a year, hens for eggs, ducks for eggs and pest control and goats for dairy and meat. I KNOW that the slaughter part will be extremely difficult for both of us, but especially for me. I used to be a vet tech. I spent my days and nights saving animals. I intend to return to that field (I really missed the discounts!) when we move. But I also know that I will feel better, both physically and emotionally, knowing that each animal that ends up in the freezer first had the kind of life it was meant to. It will have lived outside and felt the sunshine on its back and the grasses under its feet. It will be fed an organic, non-GMO diet of locally milled grains and fresh garden veggies and herbs, free of antibiotics and hormones. And what I’m really hoping for is to be able to find a mobile abattoir so that a qualified humane butcher can come to us and that none of my animals will ever know the stress of being loaded up and shipped off the farm to a slaughterhouse. We can dream, can’t we?
DaNelle Wolford says
Wow, how fun! You’ll do great!
Jennifer Moore says
Wow. Reading this just blew me away and most of the comments too. I mean how in the heck can you raise an animal it’s whole life and then eat them? I don’t care how good of a life you give it. Animals are not here for you to eat, you don’t need to eat them, you eat them because you want to and I don’t care how you sugar coat it, it is unethical.
Animals bleed, they feel, they fear just as we do, there is no way to justify killing them and eating them.
This is 2015, educate yourselves.
As a Christian I go back to Genesis 1:26 and Genesis 9:3 (alot of vegetarians and vegans quote Genesis 1:29, life before the fall). Everything on this earth has a purpose, and animals are here as a source of food. There is a reason there is something called a “food chain” – plants, animals and humans are all on different levels. Rabbits reproduce like, well, rabbits, because they are naturally prey animals and need to have some chance of continuing the next generation. If every rabbit that was ever born lived we would quickly be inundated with them.
Egghead Hill says
I think you’re missing the point of this blog article. She isn’t saying that you have to eat meat. She’s only saying that IF you are going to eat meet, it is more ethical, morally sound, and honest to raise and kill it yourself. That’s all.
I went vegetarian in 1980, so I sympathize with your views (I do eat seafood now, but still no warmblooded animals). But I also recognize that most people aren’t going to do what I do. And as a step along the way, raising and butchering your own food is a huge advancement over factory farming. So try to give a little credit where credit is due.
Thank you for that respectful reply! I have had some really ugly things said to me about eating meat, especially since we started raising our own, and it seems somewhat “acceptable” to do so. I don’t seek out vegetarians/vegans to bash, I don’t understand why it’s OK to do it to people who eat meat 🙁 . I definitely don’t think everyone HAS to eat meat, but I feel like would should be able to agree to disagree (I guess my initial reply might have sounded like I was saying everyone should, but not at all what I meant… I just gave my reasons for why I believe what I believe).
Jennifer Moore says
Giving credit to someone who butchers innocent animals is not something I would ever do. Morals are something you either have or you don’t. Killing animals for food when you do not even need to is unethical no matter which way you say it.. The fact that a person can raise an animal, care for them watch them grow up and not see the value in that animal other than being food on a plate or money in the pocket scares the hell out of me. When the animals stop being killed by people who show so little compassion or respect for their lives then we will have an advancement . Where the animal is being killed is really not the point here it is the actual ‘killing’ that bothers me and so many others. So what if you were nice to the animal and even gained its trust, can you not hear how awful that sounds?
And Renee, as a Christian, I realize that long ago, we did not know what we know today about heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and so many other diseases that are being linked to eating meat. As a Christian , I cannot in good faith, feed my children something that I know for a fact will put them at a higher risk for theses ailments.
Educate yourselves so we can keep you and the animals alive. It’s the right thing to do.
Egghead Hill says
What do you feed your dogs? What do you feed your cats? I will bet that you don’t give them vegetarian food — and, yes, both species CAN survive as vegetarians if given supplements. Morality is not nearly as black and white as you might wish it to be.
Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi, and other great spiritual leaders have all known that you don’t lead people towards enlightenment by shunning them or by talking down to them. A better way to educate people is by showing them respect and talking WITH them, rather than shouting AT them.
I’m not here to argue… we all have our beliefs and our opinions, and it’s evident that we differ in some areas. It would seem that the respectful thing to do would be to agree to disagree….
Jennifer Moore says
Egghead Hill… I feed my dogs meat and my cats meat because that is what they would eat in the wild. Look into their mouths and look at their teeth…then look into the mirror and look at your own teeth. That should tell you all that you need to know . And how do you shout on here? I would never talk down to anyone, for any reason. What I said was about love not hate.
Egghead Hill says
“Look into their mouths and look at their teeth…then look into the mirror and look at your own teeth. That should tell you all that you need to know . ”
Humans are evolved to be omnivores, not vegetarians. As I’ve mentioned, I support vegetarianism — but don’t kid yourself. That’s not what we evolved for.
With you 100% Jennifer, don’t worry times are a-changin’ 😉 and you’re definitely not alone in your feelings ?
Umm not trying to be rude but just saying when I brushed my teeth this morning I saw 4 canine teeth. Our teeth are actually pretty similar to a dogs set of teeth they just have more. (they don’t have more canine teeth though) Oh and dogs sometimes will eat plants in the wild if they are starving. 🙂
DaNelle Wolford says
Thanks for commenting! I understand where you’re coming from because I, too, used to be vegan. For me, it became a matter of thriving. My body simply could not sustain certain nutrient levels on a vegan diet. I think it’s awesome that you have chosen veganism as your path and that you thrive on it. Many people that eat meat are conscious of the life they take and try to do so with responsibility. I would suggest that if you’re upset with people eating meat, that you read blogs that are more in line with your way of thinking:)
I’m not meaning to be mean. But that is nonsense Jennifer.
OMG!!! Do you mean meat doesn’t naturally come wrapped in plastic on a styrofoam tray?! Only kidding. But we have a ranch where we also raise livestock as our livelihood and while butchering is unpleasant it is a necessity. Thank you for this post…it was entertaining and real world.
DaNelle Wolford says
Haha, yes! Can you believe it?! 😉
I am vegan because I can’t butcher anything. I totally agree with your post. It is very frustrating to hear someone bash hunting or home butchering while they eat meat from a store, from animals so horrifically abused it is incomprehensible.
This is a great post my grandparents (my moms parents) had a small farm and raised there own meat and my grandpa from my dads side had a angus cattle farm but we never raised our own animals but I am raising chickens for eggs and when they are done laying then we are going to eat them. It’s going to be hard to let go because I spend so much time with them but at least I know how they are raised and what they ate.
Thank-you so much for this honest post. I am a vegan and have always believed that if I could kill and butcher an animal myself, then I am allowed to eat it. Since I cannot, I don’t eat meat. We are so removed from the food we eat – like Andrea, “But that’s meat I buy from the store!” we’ve lost all connection to the cycle of life.
Thanks again –
THANK YOU. I’ve always believed this as well. One of my favorite things about animals is that God has given them to us for SO many wonderful purposes. It is important to be grateful and acknowledge all of their uses/sacrifices.
Wow this touched a nerve!! My husband and I began our own mini-farm just over a year ago. We now have 11 chickens, 3 ducks and 2 Kinder goats. The purpose was to be as self-sufficient as possible and really know where our food came from. We feed them as organically as possible and stay away from the chemicals as much as can be accomplished living in this time. We thought chickens for meat and eggs, goats for meat and milk and ducks for pest control and eggs. Well then the research started on how to slaughter – we both knew HOW it was done we had just NEVER done it. Then the conversation began about becoming vegetarians started – lol, We both realize that part of life is death and we will be the ones responsible for a gentle death for our animals. The thought of some stranger doing who knows what to slaughter one of them is out of the question. So here we are still coming to grips with the whole thing. Sigh. Great article with a big dose of truth and what the heck are some people thinking?????????????
Firstly, thank you for writing your book because this his how I found you! 🙂 I totally agree! I don’t personally want to raise the animals that I will be eating but I have no qualms with that people who do. I started to purchase my meat from a farm about 70 miles north of me as they raise all their livestock in the great out doors and let them be happy animals. I am confident in their slaughtering practices since they care so much for how their animals live, I am willing to bet money they are just as caring about how their animals die. It blows my mind that people actually think meat comes from the store … I wish they would put pictures of how that animal lived on each label … lets see which meat sells! lol I think people chose to be ignorant because if they actually knew the truth it would turn their world on it’s axis.
Steffanie Mormino says
Our food system is a mess! We have become so disconnected from our food that people don’t even connect the meat they eat with the actual animal. They also don’t realize the terrible life and death most of those animals endure in commercial farming. I personally eat raw vegan most of the time but we still raise as much meat as we can on our little homestead. If my children want to eat meat they need to know the cost. This way they appreciate and learn to use every part of the animal. I’m sure this was a big learning experience for Andrea.
Thank you for gently telling others the full process of animal husbandry. I know first hand the struggle with butchering. When I started up this last flock of chickens, I did so knowing that I will someday have to either sell or butcher some of the birds. The personal challenge that I face is taking their lives. Yes, this is making me more of a vegetable eater. 🙂 I am praying that I will find the strength and method that will allow me to do the task at hand and not be a woos. I love working with my animals. Having good, wholesome meat in my freezer is also desired. I will be researching your sight to hopefully have what I need to do the task at hand.
I agree 100% and admire your integrity. I asked my friend to teach me to fish for this very reason. Not casting the line but harvesting the fish I was lucky enough to catch.
Great post! I’m a vegetarian for precisely the reason that I know how supermarket meat is raised, fed and tortured. When I post things about factory farming on my wall, some of my friends and family get offended, but just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. For me, it’s all about living with integrity, meaning believe what you chose and live your beliefs. If you eat factory farmed meat – then believe that it is ok to treat animals that way! I really believe that dairy is not healthy for me, however I continue to eat cheese – therefore I am not living with integrity! Hopefully some day I’ll evolve to align my behavior with my beliefs :). I understand omnivoire’s not being able to butcher their own food – but please don’t be an ostrich and criticize someone else for doing it! Walk the talk!
Great rant!! True on all counts. when we raised our 3Jersey steers on bottles and came time to butcher them it was hard. They were part of our family and they all had names. People would ask me ‘ how can you eat an animal you named?!’ My standard. reply was/is ‘with a fork!!’ They felt that because we chose. to give names to our farm animals it was cruel. to then butcher the, and eat them. People can be so narrow minded. How do they know none of the cattle in that feed lot that supplies. to Wal Mart didn’t have names? Our steers were very important to us alive and butchered and my children were taught the value and importance of a life no matter what it is. Commercial meat makes my daughter and I physically ill if we have to eat it so until we can afford to buy a cow or two we pay through the nose for grass fed beef from a small organic family farm. It will be a long time before we can afford to buy our own cattle too have you seen what calfs are going for at the sale / auction houses now days?! A person on disability can’t afford those prices. But I am glad for the cattle people that are getting good money again for their hard work. Please remember NO FARM NO FOOD. Thanks
As a vegetarian, it always shocks me that some people are so against this. I am a vegetarian because I am appreciative of life, and it is clear that Mundo is also appreciative of life by the way he treats his animals. I feel that everybody should be able to choose what they eat and what source they get it from (which is why I don’t judge people who buy meat at the store). therefore it saddens me that people can’t return this respect with butchering.
LOVE this post!! I 100% agree, and almost feel like I wrote that myself! 🙂 Growing up on a farm, we were well aware of what goes into the raising of meat animals, and what it takes to eat them. My husband protests and won’t watch any food documentaries that show food animals being mistreated (i.e. in CAFO’s), but yet he’s fine with eating meat from the grocery store which was treated in this way, which I don’t understand! I tell him, just because you didn’t see it happening doesn’t change the fact that it did – and does!
The epitome of animal ignorance is when people eat eggs as a protein source thinking it’s ‘humane’ since no one dies. Who has been to a commercial hatchery? I have and I would rather be a cow that spends most of its life on pasture followed by a feedlot than be a commercial laying hen. Ignorance of the process of feeding ourselves has beget so many strange behaviors. We think food comes from the store, if it’s not in a box it’s not good for you, and unless it’s sealed in celophane it’s not ‘clean’. We are so spoiled that we have a nation of children and young adults that literally would go into hysterics if chicken nuggets were suddenly unavailable. I happily butcher cows, chickens, ducks, goats, and would even eat a horse if I had to. We as a nation have no idea what true hunger can be.
This nation is spoiled. My grandmother was a young girl in Berlin Germany during WWII… if a soldier in the street riding a horse was shot, you damn well better believe that every able body child and woman would run out of hiding and start cutting up that still dying (kicking and screaming) horse with shards of glass or pocket knives because the last meal they ate was candle wax, and before that, one chicken egg for the day! We will eat our own chickens one of these days, and when we get goats we will eat some of them as well… and I grew up in big cities my whole life, but I dont want my children being so nieve that if it ever came down to another WW they wouldnt know what to do or how to survive if the supermarkets had no food on the shelves. Plus, store meat is kinda scary sometimes, Ill feel better when we are eating things that we grew or raised ourselves
So much work, and so worth savoring the good clean meat. Thanks for the post.
I volunteer through Indiana Farm Bureau Inc. No matter how many times I try to “teach” kids and adults, I run into this problem. People truly believe that the “grocery store” makes everything! I’m only 34 years old and I feel I have a healthy dose of understanding of my food but when an adult 20 years older than me tries to prove that I’m wrong about butchering or where milk comes from…..I go nuts!
So many families are generations from the farm that they have lost all sense of the life and where food comes from. Its very sad, but its an education problem now. We try to go into the classrooms to show children how to make butter and more, they are amazed! The comments I receive are hysterical and sad at the same time.
I’m so glad you wrote this post. It needs to spread, need to change America one day at a time to help educate the public where their food comes from. Honestly, if people are going to judge about butchering or how farmers tend their animals, they shouldn’t eat the meat.
Egghead Hill says
Great post. I’m a vegetarian — I haven’t eaten warmblooded animals since 1980, though I started eating seafood around 10 years ago. BUT — huge but — I have a small farm and lots of animals. I breed chickens, ducks, and goats. Now, the birds are all egg-laying breeds and the goats are for dairy, but I don’t kid myself — there is inevitably going to be some butchering involved, either by me (sick animals, excess roos, etc.) or by a purchaser.
I’m with ya — if you’re going to eat an animal, eat one that had a good life first. And if you’re going to eat an animal, have the guts and the honesty to face what that really means. There is no such thing as a chicken tree.
Wonderful!! I’m so glad to hear you address the unfortunate disconnect that our society has with where our food comes from. We’ve become spoiled, entitled and shielded. Now we have a have an enormous population just shoving literally tons of meat that comes from an unknown source, filled with unknown substances and not concerned with any of that. That seems backward to me.
Love the “rant” 🙂 We raise and butcher a flock of meat chickens each year. We’ve found that most people are actually interested in how and why we do it. We’ve had more positive responses than negative. In fact it seems each butchering day has more and more “helpers” and interested onlookers. One if my son’s friends actually comes home from college just to help.
I truly believe that everyone leaves with a greater respect for the animals that give their lives for us. It’s really all about that respect and thankfullness for all things whether we have our own meat source or we purchase meat from a store.
Beautiful rant. One I’ve ranted on myself. I raise and butcher rabbits in our tiny back yard, but am always careful to make sure that I’m well hidden so the neighbors don’t see me. I know what their response would be. But, possibly a little more extreme even than your position, I’ve come to decide that if one can not butcher THEIR OWN MEAT, they shouldn’t eat meat at all. And your lovely “Andrea” shows us exactly why — because of the ignorance involved in buying meat from the grocery store. This seemingly simple act removes all personal connection from what is a rather barbaric need of ours; the need to eat animals. If you’re going to eat them (and I do/will), then you should know EXACTLY what you’re doing — you should face the fact in all it’s ugly glory, you should face that sweet little animal while it’s alive, and watch the process of it being transformed into your next meal. You should be keenly and deeply aware of the fact that you’re taking a life, and be deeply and profoundly humbled by that very fact……and you should be keenly aware of every single animal that dies so that you might eat. I am a meat eater. I do not love butchering animals by any stretch of the imagination. But I sure as hell won’t eat anything that I don’t know the history of. And I will not allow myself to become so far removed from the process of taking that life that I can forget what is actually involved. Mundo is right, it’s never funny. But it’s also not trivial. If we all had to butcher our own meat, we’d eat far, far, far less of it. And that would be a good thing. It would become sacred again, as it should be. And we’d put those horrible commercial meat raisers out of business. We’d place the raising of our meat firmly in the hands of small, local growers again…..and we’d be part of the process, and we’d respect it, and understand it.
Ok, enough of my own rant. 🙂
I don’t know you, but I love you. 🙂 Great rant!
Also, this might sound a little odd, but hear me out: I was watching an Australian-made show called “Gourmet Farmer” where a former chef and food critic sets out to raise his own animals, and I was AMAZED at how community-minded this guy became. He asked his neighbors for their expertise, welcomed them to a meal after, joined them (or had them join him) in preserving it. The shared knowledge and community around the raising of animals for food is something that is seriously lost in most of the developed world.
I absolutely agree — community has been lost. Imagine how we could change ours by doing this same thing — inviting neighbors to participate in the harvest and preparation, and then “breaking bread” with them. The problems of the world could be solved simply by initiating this process in every community around the globe. 🙂
Very well said. I was raised on farms an we always butchered our own chooks and sheep. The way I was taught to do it was very business like, practical and very much saw the creature as a commodity. Later in my life I moved to the city, and engaged with a cityfarm. There was a different education there, one that taught the same things that you speak of in your comment. It was a much better way to approach the situation of taking a life,The lesson was simply to be much more personally involved in the process and it brought with it an intense responsibilty to perform the task with care, precision and mindfullness of that moment at the end of another creatures life that is in your hands.
What a spoiled brat society we live in. She waned to recoup her money on the special snowflake of a goat she made a foolish purchasing decision on, assuming she could avoid doing a $300 surgery, and then has the balls to get upset when the one person who would buy him is going to eat him later in his life? Really? If you so desire to have a meat pet without considering the cost involved then maybe you shouldn’t have pets. Then to say eating abused animals is okay because you don’t see it? Ugh… I don’t understand the lack of logic.
I’m with you here too. It’s my opinion, in fact, that skilled, on-farm butchering of one’s own animals is FAR AND AWAY more humane than buying factory-farmed and production-slaughtered meat (except when absolute best practices are followed). It’s one of my top reasons for wanting to raise our own livestock actually.
I would love to be able to do this! Unfortunately, we live inside city limits and are not allowed to raise chickens or goats. I am trying to convince my hubby to let me raise bees, but so far it’s a no go. I grew up in southern California and had never given much thought to farming until I moved to rural Virginia for collage. It’s amazing what small family farms do and so wonderful to see this way of life preserved and taught to a new generation.
You should do a search and see if there is any group that is applying to your city council for the allowing of backyard chickens 🙂 I was pleasantly surprised to find such a group in my area, and now on Monday it’s going before Council! Very exciting stuff. Many more cities are getting on-board with it.
Rabbits! You could totally do rabbits! They are quiet, don’t smell too much (a slight aroma, but no where near as bad as even a dog, IMO), require very little space, and reproduce FAST! Our breeders are more “pet like” and the babies (once grown(ish) 12 weeks or so), will be reading for eating. Oh, and they are one of the easiest to process… it can go from alive to freezer in a matter of minutes once you get the hang of it.
What a good rant/post.
You are right, there is a disconnect. You may even say an ignorance. Why do people read your blog if they don’t like the content. People want it easy and full of unicorns and fairy dust. Bird flu due to poor living and butchering conditions of store chickens but God forbid you butcher a healthy chicken in a humane clean way. You animal. People are ridiculous. Keep doing what you are doing. Those that oppose you or come up with stupid comparisons of chickens to dogs or eating meat from the store where it is made (that cracked me up) can live in denial about why they keep getting sick with random diseases.
Erin Robison says
Totally agree with this post. I am trying to get away from conventional meat sources because of the way they treat the animals glad to know others feel the same. Butchering a lamb and turkey within the month and might do a chicken at the end of the year.
Guess such a strongly worded post title would bring plenty of argument, but I agree that people who aren’t willing to come to terms with where meat comes from don’t deserve to eat meat. I don’t personally enjoy killing the animals either, but someone has to do it and we can’t just act like the grocery store grows it on trees. Personal responsibility. We should feel sobered that something has to literally die to feed us if we do eat animals.
“Yes, they’ll probably butcher them. And you’re just going to have to be okay with that.” No, nobody has to be okay with it, there’s nothing wrong with people wanting their old pets to go to a new loving home. Let’s say you couldn’t take care of your dog anymore, you’re not gonna sell it to someone who wants to eat him. Some people see farm/livestock animals as pets instead of food.
Listen, I really like this page, but by the looks of it, it was pretty plain obvious that Andrea wouldn’t have wanted her goat to be eaten by someone, she bought it to be a pet and clearly had some emotional attachment to it. You should try respect that a large amount of people, if not nearly all of them, are a lot more sensitive these days, what with the way we all have life fairly easy (our food packaged, technology etc) it’s not hard to see why people are like this.
You should have been honest and told her exactly who it was going too, instead of deeming her unworthy of such information and going on a little rant about why your way is better than anyone else’s way.
This post kind of bums me out, because you did something you shouldn’t have done and are now flocking to some faithful followers who will agree with you and make you feel better. Would you teach your kids that it’s okay to hide the truth like that?
Is farm butchering better? Of course it is. Should you look down on people like Andrea who wouldn’t want their pet butchered (and write a little short piece about how they’re wrong and you’re right on the internet)? No. Good grief no.
Sad as it is, your ways of preparing food are somewhat rare these days despite it being the healthier option. There’s going to be a lot of people who may frown upon, disagree with or just not have the stomach to attempt living (even if they wanted to) your lifestyle. That doesn’t mean you should slate em for it.
If you want people to respect your ways, respect their ways back, even if it doesn’t seem logical to you.
i agree susie, it wasnt right to be dishonest. a teachable opportunity to say to andrea, your little goat has some issues and you were aware of them when you bought him, i can probably only find a place for him to go where he will eventually end up butchered. or maybe give him away to someone who would like their buck to have a companion,. we must respect others beliefs if we would like the same respect. there is no right or wrong. btw, all of our bucks are well behaved and sweet, and dont smell that bad, except for a short time when they are in rut.
just some other random thoughts;
did andrea have goats before you sold her this one? did you not tell her she should have other goats as a companion. goats should never be alone. i would have probably just given her the goat since he had those issues or done a two for deal. i believe in solutions which satisfy everyone, not just one short sided view. i dont see why she didnt just get another whether or buckling and keep them. they arent that expensive to feed, if she didnt want to put some effort into finding a no kill home for him.
you probably knew dealing with andrea was going to be an issue and you both learned from the experience. the world is such a harsh judgmental place and if having a homestead is to get away from modern society, then we shouldn’t bring this aspect with us.
Peacock Orchard says
We do kill our own food, well poultry. However, last year I had to kill a sick chick and I cried while I did it. So, life is tough! Really though, anyone who tells me they have spare roosters they want to know if I’ll take KNOWS we are going to kill them.
Hettie Sørenson says
I really enjoyed reading this and the comments. I think it is a lot of food for thought!
For me- personally- I agree with the post. I have felt that if I was unable to understand how meat is butchered and processed than I shouldn’t eat it. I watched a sheep being killed and butchered once and it was pretty…well, interesting. It isn’t something I enjoyed (but I mean, who does?) but it cemented the idea of respecting the food I have. I am more conscious of what I eat because I know what has been done to get my food from point A to point B. I don’t think it is about doing the butchering, but comprehending and knowing how it works. Too many people don’t want to think about it and that is why subpar factory farm practices flourish, I feel. We choose ignorance because it is easier and less queasy.
Again, this is just my POV and I could be wrong 🙂
I agree with your comments. We raise our own animals for meat, but we often have them partially butchered off farm as just chopping and packing the meat takes long enough, and i appreciate skill sets of the butcher. Our kids have all seen meat hung and cut on farm too….still remember the look of horror on someones face at a takeaway place when i told my 3 year old girl she could choose to eat “cow, sheep or pig”…he came back with “beef, lamb or pork!”…i told him “same thing!” Never could work out why people refuse to “connect” with their food!
Although I would never harvest my own animals…. they are all pets (chickens, goats, and sheep)…. I do have a degree in Animal Science from Fresno State University and I took several courses in meat science for my degree. (I even considered a meat science major.) Fresno State has a full scale meat lab. The students raise the animals, butcher the animals (we are FDA inspected), process and cut the meat, package the meat, and lastly sell the meat at the student run school market. I understand how the process is done. I am surrounded by families in my area that raise meat goats to eat. And although I could never eat my own animals, I see nothing wrong with it as long as the animal is treated fairly thru life & death. As Temple Grandin said, “I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we’ve got to do it right. We’ve got to give those animals a decent life and we’ve got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect.”
USDA inspected. 😉
I understand what you are saying but I do not appreciate your statement saying that people shouldn’t eat meat if they can’t handle butchering it. Your attitude seems slightly elitist and maybe you should consider that some people are more sensitive than others. Just because they don’t care to see it being killed or to take part in killing it, doesn’t mean that they don’t understand the process or that they don’t deserve to eat and enjoy meat…many people raise chickens specifically for the purpose of selling the meat to people who want real meat but who do not want to or are not capable of raising and butchering the animal themselves. Those who sell that meat rely on that income and most of them whom I have met and happy to provide good healthy meat for others. They are not bitter about it or think they are better than others just because they can kill and butcher animals…that is just plain dumb.
I think the point she was making was more that if you couldn’t handle the fact of people raising and butchering animals, you shouldn’t eat meat. Not necessarily if you don’t do it personally, because hey, we’re all good at different things. But if you are horrified that your sister-in-law raises a steer each year then puts that sucker in the freezer, but see no problem with running down to the local market for a few pounds of hamburger, there’s something wrong with that picture. I personally don’t have the stomach to raise my own meat–although I’d like to develop it, because at least then I’d know the animals I was eating had a humane life and death–but I have absolutely no problem with the fact that some people do so. I’m not cheerfully picking up a package of chicken breasts at the store while looking down on my neighbor for raising and slaughtering his own flock. It’s sad but true that many people these days actually do believe meat comes from the store, and that’s the end of it.
Well we got started with 6 hens and added twice more to that since, w/ the 3rd batch still too young to put outdoors at the moment. I appreciate their eggs and intend to have hubby build them an ‘Old Hens Home’ so those done laying can retire there. I couldn’t bring myself to eating them because I’ve made the BAD mistake of befriending them. THEN hubby added 2 goats to the mix….cute when they were about 40 lbs but now they’re in their 70s I believe and with my health issues, it’s become harder for me to tend to them & their needs. Hubby gave me the ultimatum of either breeding for milk or butchering. I know that breeding them will be even more work than I can physically do now and I shudder to think what would happen to those babies they’d have, given to someone else. So I am really hoping against all hope that if I contact the family we got them from, they will take them & keep them w/ no thought of butchering. I know….. that’s a BIG IF! I guess I just wasn’t cut out to be a farm person. 🙁 I admire those that can ‘farm properly’. Wish there was a fairy wand you could wave and fix my problem!
Dina-Marie @ Cultured Palate says
Love your post! We butcher our own chickens and cows – I want my children to learn where their food comes from and to participate in the process.
Loved your post. We added chickens and rabbits to our homestead with the intention of butchering them for meat. I found a lot of people to react negatively when we told them about our intentions. Mostly, people were grossed out and thought it was horrible that we could consider killing something. I feel better about eating our meat over grocery store meat because I know the kind of life the animal had before landing on the dinner table. I know that it included sunshine and fresh air, green grass and garden-grown vegetables. You are what you eat, and what your food eats.
Amen and amen. Sister…sometimes you just have to put on your big girl pants and butcher something for the table. We live in an overly pampered society that does not understand the order of things. Thanks for speaking up on this topic.
Erin Turner says
Bravo! Great post! You have literally taken the words out of my mouth! We home butcher our chickens, pigs and beef. We feel the same way…we do it because we believe in it and care about quality animals and quality food! Thank you for your honesty and putting this topic out there!
Great post! I am really squeamish and have a hard time with blood. Unless my family was starving, I don’t think I could butcher an animal myself. I’d probably faint. However, I have no problem with people raising and butchering their meat animals. You’re right! Animals raised and butchered on the farm are happier and healthier (and make healthier meat) than their factory farmed counter parts. Thanks for the post!
I am all for farmers who eat their own homegrown meat. Personally, I don’t want to see it butchered. That’s the part that makes me squeamish. My husband and I were talking about buying some property to have a small farm, and I told him that if we were, our meat animals would have to be kept in the back forty so I don’t get attached. That’s just the type of person I am. I personally would not be able to butcher my own animals. I would hire someone to do it for me, or make friends with a neighbour who I could take them to. I think we may revisit the acreage/farm thing. 🙂
Erin Robison says
I feel the same way I can handle the chickens but goats just have so much personality I would get attached.
Totally. I think there’s a big difference between being squeamish at the sight of blood or a dead animal and being against farm butchering. 🙂 Where I live there are many mobile abattoirs for that very reason! Good call about the back forty, too; I think I’ll have to do the same.
I’m with you on this one. Definitely. I’ve read all your posts on butchering, and believe that I could do it, if I actually started a backyard farm. I believe that being thankful for the animal that you watched grow, and who will now nourish your family is a good thing. You don’t have to worry about getting sick from a random outbreak in a warehouse somewhere. You get more flavorful food, and it teaches children the circle of life from a young age (with or without the big musical number).
I feel for Andrea, but honestly, goats aren’t a “normal” pet by any stretch of the imagination (to people who believe meat is made in the grocery store, anyway). Maybe she should get a parakeet?