Home production of meat and sustainability

Lucky for me, in the next few months especially once we get moved into our home out of this temporary one, I will go back to baking all of our bread and if I am lucky I might find someone who has a cow down there who might  be interested in a trade of milk for cheese, so I can start doing more of that.  Our  new house has lots of fruit and I can put in a garden so by this time next year I think we’ll be doing well.  Which reminds me, I have also made the official food decision that by this time next year we will be on100% home or locally produced meat.  I am now renaming this post since I have something to say about this 🙂

We’ve already got some good experience this year with butchering and processing chickens.  I plan on adding rabbits to the mix sometime this winter, and my extended family and I are going to share a locally produced beef this winter.  We will be getting a weaner pig (not WIENER pig as so many people like to call them!) and my parents will raise it for us since they will have one of their own, and the proper facility.  We will also start beef this year in anticipation for next year.  More chickens will be raised next year, and now that I am at home I will have the time to fully utilize all the meat we get.  Add to that the possibility of hunting, and I think between all of that we should have no problem moving away from store-bought meat.

I have been feeling very convicted about commercially produced food, meat especially.  With the vegetables and non-meat food, it is just plain irresponsibility and greed that causes the problems that we see these days.  But with meat, you have the element of a life.  There is a life that is sacrificed so you can have that hamburger or skinless chicken breast.  CAFO (Confined Animal Feeding Operation) meat is so inhumane to these lives, and has no respect for that sacrifice.  The meat comes in little styrofoam packages and then people go buy them in the store and have no idea, respect or consideration of the fact that that little package was once a life.

I am a carnivore, and I am not ashamed.  I believe firmly that we as humans need the amino acids and vitamins that flesh provides, protein content aside.  But I believe that along with being a carnivore there comes a responsibility to make sure where your food comes from is a humane source, and that you acknowledge and be grateful for the fact that the animal had given its life for you.  I realize that not everyone has the space and facility to raise their own meat, and that’s okay.  However, for me it had gotten to the point earlier this year that I didn’t feel right about what I was doing – buying meat in packages.

When the meat chickens that my parents were raising were ready, I ended up being the one who did most of the killing.  We each had our jobs in the processing of those chickens. It’s quite interesting how much more important it is to use the entire chicken when you raised it from a chick but then also had to be the one to end it’s life.  Butchering is a difficult thing emotionally.  I thought that the first one I killed would be the hard one… it wasn’t.  I was prepared for it, I think, but what I was not prepared for was the emotional toll of taking multiple lives that day.  We ended up stopping at about half and then did the rest on another day.  I know as I continue producing meat it will get a bit easier (plus there’s just the learning curve to consider also) but that didn’t make it easier at the time.

The point is, I am not trying to tell anyone to not eat meat.  I will not stop eating it myself.  But we need to realize and respect that our meat was a life.  Producing it yourself ensures that you are eating meat that was from a happy animal, not one that was produced in a CAFO.  It’s healthier, more responsible, considerate and respectful.  The Native Americans had it right when they thanked the spirit of each and every animal they killed for food.  If you are not willing to even try to produce your own meat, please reconsider the meat you do eat.  If anything, please just eat locally produced meat.  It simply is not humane or responsible in any way to continue to support the CAFOs.

If you are wondering what is so bad about the CAFOs, here is a little bit of information:

http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/factoryfarming/

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3176184587819334935&q=sierra+club+michigan#

http://www.bohemian.com/bohemian/10.13.10/eats-1041.html

And I will end this post by posting some pictures of our happy chickens making eggs and meat for us.

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