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Salebarns ethical?

 
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I know a lot of you will roll your eyes at this and that’s okay. I am a livestock farmer who struggles with the ethics of it all. I have come to accept raising animals with compassion and allowing them to have “one bad day” where they are then harvested to feed us. Anyway, as we expand we have the opportunity to sell lamb to a wholesaler who has their meat processed at a local and very humane processing facility. But they pay the same or less then a sale barn (selling finished lambs). I don’t know the exact process of sale barns but I imagine it’s 1. Sold at salebarn 2. Shipped to processing 3. Harvested at processing. Is this exceptionally stressful/fearful for the livestock? More then us delivering them to a local processing facility? I don’t have to guts to talk with our farmer neighbors about this because I know there justgoig to look at me like an idiot.
I guess I’m trying to figure out which one is a more dignified way to go, and if they are similar than sale barn it is. But it that is not the case it is worth it to me to make less money and providing them a more peaceful death.
 
pollinator
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I can't say anything about this as I don't breed meat animals, but I know that here it's the shipping that is most inhumane. I haven't seen meat animals transported with some higher standards, like pets or breeding animals are.

I'm about to buy sheep meat from a local breeder (will be my first meat bought not at store) and I know that he works with a man who does the butchering. I don't know where exactly. But it's a single person, not any company or something. The breeder is not a permaculture person, but he's into wildlife conservation and gets to learn about permaculture from me (yay!).
 
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I don't use sale barns.  But, why not talk with other farmers? An eye roll is not going to harm you, and you may get some valuable information.
I have 11 acres. My neighbor has .....well let's say he gets over 5 mil a year from farm substitutes in this county alone.  I still get valuable information from him.  He has a good grasp on what I am about.   I would hate to lose him as a resource.
 
Taylor Cleveland
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John F Dean wrote:I don't use sale barns.  But, why not talk with other farmers? An eye roll is not going to harm you, and you may get some valuable information.
I have 11 acres. My neighbor has .....well let's say he gets over 5 mil a year from farm substitutes in this county alone.  I still get valuable information from him.  He has a good grasp on what I am about.   I would hate to lose him as a resource.


I have great relationships with our neighbors. They have taught us sooo much. They just have no/very little compassion for animals so the very idea of what I am asking is unthinkable for them. His sons dog got hit by a car (beloved dog) she he just walked in and said “go shoot your dog Cole, it just got hit by a car”.
 
John F Dean
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Hi taylor,


I have encountered people with that approach.  And, while I try to get along with them, it can be frustrating.  Then,  I have also encountered those, that say, " well given your concerns, this is what you might consider....."  The first group I try to get along with.  The second group I value.
 
pollinator
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Go to a salebarn and check it out. You don't have to buy or sell in order to be there. Decide for yourself if the animals look more stressed than you're comfortable with.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Ellendra

Excellent idea!
 
pollinator
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Taylor Cleveland wrote:I know a lot of you will roll your eyes at this and that’s okay. I am a livestock farmer who struggles with the ethics of it all. I have come to accept raising animals with compassion and allowing them to have “one bad day” where they are then harvested to feed us. Anyway, as we expand we have the opportunity to sell lamb to a wholesaler who has their meat processed at a local and very humane processing facility. But they pay the same or less then a sale barn (selling finished lambs). I don’t know the exact process of sale barns but I imagine it’s 1. Sold at salebarn 2. Shipped to processing 3. Harvested at processing. Is this exceptionally stressful/fearful for the livestock? More then us delivering them to a local processing facility? I don’t have to guts to talk with our farmer neighbors about this because I know there justgoig to look at me like an idiot.
I guess I’m trying to figure out which one is a more dignified way to go, and if they are similar than sale barn it is. But it that is not the case it is worth it to me to make less money and providing them a more peaceful death.



I have no input regarding your question never even having heard of a sale barn, but I think it's wonderful and I have a lot of respect for you for the fact that you are thinking about your animals so humanely. Kudos to you for that.
 
gardener
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Taylor, i have similar objectives. I think the main stress is just getting them loaded INTO a trailer. Infrastructure is so important and i could talk for hours about epic fails relating to that process with cattle.

I don't have any issues down here in cattle country Texas asking questions relating to the happiness of the animals.

With our sheep, the only slaughterhouse  that does them also does cattle and pigs. You drop them off and they are all in a hallway together, going in one at a time. You make an appointment so they are not overloaded in a day. They are down the same day but i don't know how many hours. I asked if i could put the sheep down and bring it. They said no, it was not legal. I asked about hunters bringing in deer. They said that was ok, maybe because the meat is not "sold". They were nice about it, but i opted to do everything myself from putting down to butchering. I am sure that is not ok when selling the meat.

This does bring up a valid question though. Am i "making" more money by eating them vs selling them? Granted my operation is small. 4 is the most that will be harvested in a year. If i can consume it without the hassles to me and the animal, its a win win. Of course that can't happen with 100 sheep. I am confused by the number of people that raise sheep or cattle that buy their meat from the grocery store. Whats the profit when you add that cost back in? Just food for thought.

With cows, its a little more complicated because of their size. Correct infrastructure and the correct slaughterhouse. Fortunately for me, the closest place is the correct place. They take 2 a day. They are down within minutes of drop off. I consider it as stress free as i can do. I take my time getting them in the trailer. I am gentle doing it.

The sale barn, yes go visit it. I have only been to one dealing with cattle. They go out into a chute in the auditorium and are auctioned. Some are calm, some are trying to jump over a 6ft rail fence. One guy is slapping a red flag to move them through, another has a cattle prod to shock them through.  My wife left after 5 minutes. She had enough of it.

Probably the best scenario is to market the animal as cuts of meat and not an animal. This can be legally done if you sell the animal and deliver it to the slaughterhouse. The buyer picks up the boxes of meat. You skip the sale barn completely. With cows you skip the sale barn and the feedlot completely. If you can legally pay the slaughter fees, you will get much more $$ per animal as now you are not selling a cow, you are selling 600 pounds of meat in an assortment of cuts that average x dollars per pound.
 
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I go to sale barns to watch when I get the chance.  You can get the best appraisal of any product when multiple people are bidding on them.  Abusive people aren't really tolerated at the ones I've been to.  I haven't seen a hot shot or prod in the ring.  These are sales that sell a few hundred to thousands of cattle some weeks.  In my opinion they are the last hope for cattle, sheep, and goats to not become like the hog and chicken industries.  Also another specialty sale that sells poultry and all other livestock except cattle once a month is in the area.  I was amazed at what some of those animals brought.  Simply put--they are places where buyers and sellers meet.
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