Friday, March 1, 2013

Responsible Meat Eater

My passion in life from the time I was 5 years old has always been animals.  I have loved them since before I can remember, and I was always that kid that brought home every stray that need a warm place to sleep, and a meal to fill it's starving belly.  As I grew into adulthood that part of me never changed.  I still bring home every stray in need.  Anyone who knows me, knows my passion and I can't think of anyone who would question that.  Because I write about my farm life and rescue on my blog, sometimes I catch heat from equally passionate people behind the scenes.  These people don't always agree with the fact that I raise animals for my consumption.  Thankfully I have broad shoulders and I am able to take whatever comes my way via passionate people.

Usually when dealing with these passionate and somewhat radical people, I can internalize and remind myself "it is all for the animals", however I am really struggling with this issue this week.  I was contacted by an animal advocacy group over the weekend and was asked to help with the seizure and removal of several hundred animals, including many farm animals.  I told them I would help, but after the conversation I felt like I was being judged by the organization because I eat meat and raise my own animals to sustain my life.

In the end, although I was literally 1/4 mile down the road from the seizure, they declined my help.  I would be lying if I said that my feelings weren't hurt and I wasn't offended.  Here is an animal advocacy group that I have worked with several times on recent situations, questioning my ability to foster animals all because I eat meat.  I felt like I was being compared to the cast of Twilight.  "Don't let her foster your animals or she might eat them!"  I don't like having my love for animals questioned anymore than they like to eat meat!

As strange as it sounds, it is my love of animals that makes me want to farm.  For many years I was a vegetarian.  I wasn't a vegetarian because I didn't like meat.  I was a vegetarian because I hated factory farming.  I did not want to eat meat that had been stuffed into cages, never being allowed to touch grass.  I did not want to eat eggs from chickens with physiological issues due to living in small cages, with wire bottoms and no sunlight.  I did not want my dietary choices to contribute to the cruelty of animals.  It wasn't good for my soul.

It is because I love animals that I choose to raise my own meat.  I have to know my food personally.  In my opinion that is the only way to farm.  I want to know my dinner from birth to death and everywhere in between.  It is imperative that I know where my animals come from, ensure that they were treated kindly and that they were respected.  I have to know that they were free to run around, feel the grass under their feet, the sun on their back and that they, in the end were thanked for giving their life to sustain me.  I am not the type of person who doesn't know how they die either, and even that has to be humane.  I have watched this process several times, and am comfortable in the fact that I was with them until the end and they don't suffer.  I do not take any aspect of this farm for granted.  It isn't my style and it isn't why I do this.  I farm to nourish myself and my family with whole food that was raised in a humane environment.  So don't get mad at me and shun me because I eat meat.  I am being a responsible consumer.  Do you think less of the person who works along side of you as a volunteer and buys her chicken from her grocer's freezer?!  I think not....

I would be a poor excuse of a person if I didn't treat these animals with the same love and respect that I feel I deserve myself.  The fact that I eat meat bears no prediction on my desire or ability to rescue animals.  Just as these people are concerned for animal welfare, I am too!


  1. I agree with you 100%! We have cows, sheep, rabbits and chickens. I care for them, worry about them, sit up with them at night. They have names. We take very good care of them and their purpose is for our consumption. I enjoy your blog.

    1. Thank you Sheltiemom for your kind words, and I am so happy that you enjoy my blog. People don't seem to understand that you can do both, but my hope is that if they read this post then maybe there won't be judgement, only understanding.

  2. I agree with you and appreciate the fact that there is at least one more person that thinks this way. We are not vegetarian but my daughter and I can get along with a lot less meat than most people. However the man likes his meat and potatoes so although I don't have the ability to raise our own meat I am careful where and what I shop. Recently we purchased a goat from my old breeder to be slaughtered in November but because the place she usually uses for that purpose was busy with hunting season we started looking for an alternative. I didn't like the alternatives so we waited until January and I made sure she took that little goat in herself so she wouldn't be frightened by having a stranger loading her into a strange vehicle and taking her somewhere. (that goat was use to her crate and car)The goat was also not allowed to loiter at the shop and be afraid. The deed was done quickly and humanly. Worth the wait just for that. Goat is a good alternative to beef that gets slaughtered at some feed lot but when I do buy beef I get a brand I found that is range raised and slaughter according to Temple Grandins process. So don't let the jerks get you down.

  3. I wouldn't give it a second thought, do what you do and help when you can. I have been in discussions with vegetarians who disagree with killing an animal to eat, regardless of how humane it is done. At the same time they are wearing animal by products. I don't agree with, but can respect, those that are true to their beliefs, it's their personal choice. As long as they don't interfere with mine. Those that pick and choose depending on their personal comfort- I don't give them a thought.

  4. I know this post is old, but thought I would chime in with my "well said, lady!" comment.
    I as well raise rabbits, quail and chickens for meat on my tiny suburban lot for many of the same reasons you stated. It's a lifestyle choice. I like to know that they eat organically, get lot's of special attention and are processed in a healthy, calm and respectful way.
    Keep on keeping on. If they're shootin' at us, we must be doing something right!