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My Thanksgiving Goat Story

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I am continuing to try and infect minds with Permaculture by telling stories on my blog. Please feel free to share on social media if you like.

What a great weekend! All our children were here for T-day. We spent the rest of the time right at home. It was better than a permaculture sustainability conference. Katrina and I learned so much.

As some of my friends know, we are striving to live a healthier lifestyle, including a radically different diet than that prescribed to us by the chem-ag industry. We are quasi-Paleo now, and that means eating more local foods. You don't get much more local than this hamburger. Blessed.

It is hard to put your animals down. That is the most difficult part of it especially when you have taken care of them since they were born. We have three justifications for the process.

First, we remember how we cared for the animal while he lived. He was free to roam on pastures. He lived with his herd and shared comradeship. His pen was regularly cleaned. He lived in a dry, roomy, and comfortable shelter and pen. He was loved and treated kindly by his human care-takers.

The care and treatment of factory farm animals, on the other hand, is troubling. In most cases, the factory-farm animals are caged from birth. There is minimal human interaction. They eat food that comes from who-knows-where with the main goal to drive them to a market weight as quickly as possible. They are killed mechanically in large numbers by persons or machines that do the job without remorse.

If you are a meat-eating human, you eat animals killed in one of the two systems. We think ours is a more ethical one.

Second, the quality of the meat produced in our system is significantly higher. We take care to raise our chickens, guineas, goats, and pigs on pasture and in woods where they can self -regulate and eat appropriate herbs. The animals are periodically rotated and ingest a high mineral content from a polyculture of pasture grasses and browse. The supplemental grain we feed is exclusively organic, soy-free, and non-GMO. Animal de-worming treatment is weekly and consistently herbal (not chemical). No hormone-laced feed was ever used. The meat produced is highly nutritious.

The third justification is that we benefit spiritually. Becoming directly involved in the harvest, strongly reinforces an appreciation of the sacrifice all animals make so that humans can eat meat. I think a lot of people miss that component, detached as much as possible from where their meat actually comes.

In the story of the Passover lamb told in ancient sacred writings, the people were instructed to bring the young lamb (or goat) into the home with them for four days before its sacrifice. A greater attachment to the animal was formed by living with it. And therefore, a greater appreciation of its sacrifice was realized.

The third reason is more intangible and woo-woo than the first two. But it may be the more important of all three. We are blessed by the reminder of a sacrifice that makes our life as a human being possible.
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