I love meat. Call me old fashioned but I think animals are here for our consumption and use. I think they are a gift. However much I love to eat them though, I recently began thinking that I don’t have the right to eat them. It’s not the animals though, its me.
Since moving to the country, I am starting to see a little bit about what it actually takes to put food on the shelf in a grocery store. It isn’t so much the move that has heightened my observations though as much as my interest. I am enjoying learning about raising animals, raising crops and trying to do it all in a way that would not cost more than just buying it off the shelf. I haven’t come close to that yet though, in concept or in practice. The chickens and ducks we bought in early September have cost a fortune so far in trying to prepare a good environment for them and protection from predators and Wisconsin weather.
The chickens and ducks, however, are also the reason that I don’t feel I have a right to eat meat. These animals were purchased so that we could learn about caring for them, but also ultimately understand the process of raising to consumption. We recently had a chicken that wasn’t handling the cold real well and it was my moment to attempt my first butchering. No pun intended but I chickened out. I knew what it would take to humanely end the life of the animal so that it could be processed, but I was just not ready. I was just plain scared.
I realize how much I take for granted the food on the shelf in the store, especially the meat. If I can’t bring myself to do what men have been doing for hundreds of years, a necessary step in order to have meat on the table, then do I really deserve to eat meat?
I tell myself to start with hunting. A practice that hopes the animal is dead by the time you reach it. I think this would be easier. But in the end, raising farm animals for food is kind of pointless if you can’t get passed one of the single most important steps before eating them. I am going to do it. I will tell you all about my experience when I do. Wish me luck.