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Respectful Raising and Harvesting of Animals

 
gardener
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I was reading the short story Meat by C.S. Malerich in the short story collection Among Animals. I enjoyed how the story addressed a concern that people make about eating meat.

I liked how the story addressed concerns of treatment of animals and respect for life and death. In the story, I think their raising of the animal is a way to make sure that the animal that their meat comes from is treated respectfully.

'Raising our own food.' He explained how bad factory farms were and how he wanted us to understand the circle of life and respect animals. 'Like the Indians,” said Mrs. Beauchamp, catching on, “using every bit of the animal and thanking its spirit and all that?'



I liked how the narrator in the story thought about her relationship with Meat.

'We feed her and take care of her now, and she’ll feed and take care of us later.' Perfectly reasonable. 'So she can be part of the family now!'



And I liked how the buthcer talked about the harvesting, it's place in the circles of life and death, and how he finds respect in doing his work.

'I stun her in the temple so she can’t feel a thing, then we hang her upside down. One clean cut to the jugular, and she bleeds out in less than a minute. It’ll be quick and peaceful.'...
Dad breathed a sigh. 'That was fast,' he congratulated the butcher. 'And painless. Thank you for your quick work.' I was as numb as if the butcher had stunned me, too...
'You’re welcome, of course,' said the butcher. 'I only do for them what I hope someone will do for me when it’s my time.'



I also liked how the narrator felt about the situation in the end.

There had been all that blood, gushing out of her throat and onto the floor in two streams. I dreamt about it over and over, and I asked a lot of questions about what happens when you die...  He made a little toast to Meat and thanked her for her life and said we were glad to know her. Which was all true. After my first bite, with the tender flesh practically melting on my tongue, I thought Dad was right—something you raise yourself always tastes better.

 
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Thanks for sharing. It's a topic that is overlooked by many who are not into permaculture or environmentalism. I'm sure there area plenty of meat eaters on Permies and I'm confident that most are putting some thought into it and trying to do things in a respectful way.

I still buy a fair amount of food from the grocery which gives me the privileged option of sustaining my dietary needs without eating meat.

I can understand how difficult it could be though, to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs in a self-sufficient manner using only a plant-based diet. That could also be a huge gamble come winter time in most places!

If people are hunting, or raising their own animals for food then so be it - at least there is a direct connection to the life that was taken to provide the sustenance.

The more care that goes into all areas of the animal eating process the better, but for me it boils down to "need vs. want" and trying to balance that with my current living conditions.

If my dream of living on the farm comes to reality then maybe I can consider raising some animals for meat or hunting...but I would put a lot of effort into eggs and growing/stockpiling things like beans, potatoes, and nuts first.

I dare say that a hunter/sustainable farm raised meat eater is better for the natural environment than a grocery store vegan ? Of course many factors may sway that either way...

 
gardener
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This has been a focus for me and and have done a lot but am not 100% there.

I am there with my small cattle herd. Even to the point of changing slaughterhouses. The previous one had an alley. Pigs, sheep, and cows in line. Maybe waiting hours for their turn. The new place takes 2 cows a day. No other animals. Before i walked to the counter to give my specs the deed was done with very little stress.

Sheep i am almost there but more paddocks are needed. They seems happy. Harvest is done onsite. No transport stress.

Chickens are now 100% free range during the day. An automatic door opens and closes it.

Turkeys are not happy. Current plans is to double the size of their run (from 12' x 40' to 24' x 40') and have 2 of these so they can always have plants on the ground. I have 5 turkeys but try to breed them. All offspring will be harvested. Turkeys are not chickens. They'd rather fly up into a tree than come back to a protected coop.

Deer. This seems like the top bar of eating "happy meat". No caging. No stressfull transport, etc. They are happy and they are down. If meat is in your diet, this seems (to me) like the most viable method to prevent cruelty yet many people take the opposite view.

Fish. In this area we have gradually changed our methods. With one bait i can go out and catch 50 undersized and maybe 0 to 3( limit is 3) of keepers. Another bait i can catch 5 undersized and 0 to 3 keepers. I am tuning in to the fact that x% of undersized will die from the catch. We switched to circle hooks years ago which dramatically reduced the gut hooks. We also learning iki jibe (sp?). A Japanese method of killing the fish quickly. Bringing home fish is becoming greater importance than the entertainment of catching 50 fish.

I think i am at 3 years of not buying any meats from stores with the exception of experiments. Like  3months before our first cows went to slaughter i bought a brisket to make corned beef to test the viability of that for our future needs.
 
pollinator
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Sadly a lot of people just don't get this.

All they know is factory farming and so can't understand that people can have a deep love and respect of the animals that they eat.

Worse a lot of the militant vegans just can't wrap their heads around the idea that being vegan in a city is still worse for the environment than the rural farmer and hunter who respectfully harvests meat.

Our culture has sadly worked very hard to separate people from their food source. Both plants and animals in their raw state are a mystery to most. The fact that both must be killed to create food for us is out of sight and mind. Unless forced to be recognized, usually in horrible expose videos of factory farming.

I would love for people to be more exposed to the realities of food and where it comes from. I think a lot of different choices would be made if people actually had to face their food and see what is done before it is on their table.
 
master pollinator
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When my daughter went to Kindergarten, I had to tell the teacher specifically that my daughter understood the circle of life.

As a sheep farm, the healthy lambs never make it into the house, only the really sick ones. That is because we need to tend them every 4 hours so we want them nearby, not all the way out in the barn, and because the house is warm and dry. Katie and I got to know our sheep well, and could tell after a few years the ones that would not make it, and those that would.

HOWEVER...

We took the approach that every lamb should be given every opportunity to live, and so we never spared one dollar on medications by treating some, and not others. EVERY lamb was give a chance, and so we lost a lot of lambs that came into the house. And this allowed my young daughters to understand if you have livestock, you are going to get deadstock. I had to tell that to her teacher because a lot of kids today do not understand death is a part of life.

But all was not doom and gloom, some lambs surprised us and went on to thrive. I have a breeding ram now that I would never have thought would have lived, much less become the stout ram that he is today.

I have dedicated myself as a farmer to having skills and a farm that allows sheep to thrive here, but when it is time, they do not suffer either. I have an incredibly clear conscious on this.
 
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