Raising animals for slaughter
Posted: February 17th, 2021- Nathan, the Land Manager
Recently we took our two hogs, Tubby and Wubby, to the meat processors. One of the reasons Cynthia and I feel it is important to raise our own meat is so that we can have a high degree of control over how the many moments of each animal’s life are experienced by the animals themselves. It is a very visceral thing to kill and eat another living thing. Causing that to be done to an animal you nurtured can make that even harder. It is something that many of us … indeed most of us … spend very little time actually thinking about.
Of course we all cringe a little inside when we see a story about the awfulness that is factory farmed meat. Whether it is the concentrated animal feedlots of the midwest or the warehouses of chickens lodged on family farms across the piedmont of North Carolina, we know, when we let ourselves consider it, that eating animals raised in these ways is not okay. This is not a right relationship with the animal world.
Raising animals with compassion is hard, and it is not for everyone. It can be so easy to just ignore the reality and disconnect from the animals themselves, but we believe this does a real disservice to the animals, and to us. If we wish to continue eating meat as individuals and as society, it is imperative that we pursue all avenues for raising those animals ethically. There is a strange catch 22 here, though. Cynthia and I have found that the more we engage with the animals we are raising, the more we learn about the depth of intellect and understanding that these animals can possess. Learning from them how to better provide what they need is crucial to our success as we move towards a more sustainable future. Yet that only makes it harder to resolve the internal distress that results from ultimately taking that one last trip together.
I find this to be a very hard topic to write about, but I spend a lot of time thinking about it. It is crucial that we have more conversations about where our meat comes from, and what it means that it was raised however it was raised. I’d argue that the natural world is owed a pretty massive debt from humanity, and learning to listen to the non-human creatures within it is one step towards healing some of the damage that has resulted from our inability to look these problems in the eye, and accept our part in bringing about solutions.