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Farm animals for fun or food?

"Are you going to eat them?" is a question that I have been asked a dozen or so times.  Hmmm...what do you say to that?  And how do you decide?  And why would we have them if we weren't going to?  These are all things we talked about before getting livestock.  Do we have the heart for it?  Some people keep farm animals for pets.  I've heard those kinds of livestock called "freeloaders".  But when you have a big feed bill, you have to consider those carefully.

I know that some just wiggle their way into your hearts and you couldn't bear to do away with them.  My pet chicken, Lizzie, is an example of that.  But the others, well, they are chickens.  I love on them, talk to them, give them treats, and they lay beautiful eggs for me.  If they stop laying, should I continue to feed them until they die?  Could I eat them?  We will have to wait and see on that one.

But a steer and pigs, what else do you do with them?  Several of you asked me specifically about the piglets.  And the answer is yes, we intend to eat them.  (Sorry, Rachel, I hope you'll forgive me and still follow my blog.) 

We have decide to adopt this attitude for our livestock animals: 
  • Give them a better life than they would have anywhere else
  • Grow healthy animals for healthy food
  • Understand and appreciate the sacrifice animals make
  • And lastly be thankful that we had the opportunity to raise them

Plain and simple, most people eat meat.  And the truth is we have become so disconnected from our food that we feel it is more humane to buy bacon at the store than to raise a pig and eat it yourself.  But is it?  But please know that I am not speaking from experience on this yet!  We are newbies to farm life.  And the Charlotte's Web images of saving Wilber are firmly etched in my mind.  But I saw those piglets mama and she was big, stinky and scary.  I think it will be easier when they are not so cute.  Until then we will call the steer - Ribeye and the piglets - Bacon, Sausage, and Pepperoni (although pepperoni is technically a mixture of meats).  Just so we will continually reminded ourselves that they are not just for fun but also for food.

Comments

  1. That's essentially the same mindset we've adopted here. I can't face the thought of ever eating Sheila, my favorite Highland cow, but the others have their places and purposes. If it comes down to a choice of selling subpar stock to someone else (who may not know better), or selling the beef from that animal, we'll always opt for the latter. (And I can say from experience, they DO taste great. I thank Lana for her delicious rib steaks and tenderloins every time we eat one.)

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  2. Good for you!!! I fully agree. The day my chickens stop laying will be a hard day. They all just started laying...but I'm thinking chicken soup will be in my future in a few years.

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  3. I'm sure it will be one of the hardest things you'll ever do when that first time comes around but those animals are exactly what the Lord intended for us to eat.

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  4. ~*~* You are too cute Kim!! Its ok.. really.. I just personally chose not to eat meat..BUT my husband and boys are true carnivores!!lol.. I just think it would be so hard to when you get attached to the animals.I personally couldnt't but Im sure I am the rarity~ Take care and I still love your blog!!! Hugs~ Rachel~*~*~*

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  5. Kim, I think you have a very good attitude about the farm animals, and I'm quite convinced that the animals who find themselves on your farm are far luckier than most. They will have a good life while it lasts, and that is saying a lot.

    I love animals, and in fact was a vegetarian for fifteen years. It became too difficult after I retired and started cooking more meals at home -- because my husband has always eaten meat and does not consider a meal a meal without it. I'm not sure personally that I would be able to raise an animal and then eat it, but I do recognize that when I buy meat at the store that I am complicate in the miserable lives that many farm animals endure on corporate farms. I have to admit that I live with that conflict because it is easier than finding alternatives, but it does bother me, and it wouldn't take much of a push to turn me back into a non-meat eater.

    I applaud your thoughtful way of approaching the difficult subject -- difficult, anyway, for anyone who loves animals the way you do, and I'm glad you shared it on your blog.

    It does comfort me some to know that Elizabeth will never be in a stew pot.

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  6. This is exactly why we decided to raise our own meat (or as much as we can given our small acreage). It's nice knowing the meat on your plate was respected and got to live a normal animal life until the very end.

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So what do you think of that?