This past weekend we started wrapping up the meat-raising portion of our micro farm. Slaughtering time.
T'is a hard thing.
For thousands of years man has been raising and slaughtering his own animals. You'd think it would come rather simply and naturally with all that history behind it. It isn't so matter-of-fact. And it certainly isn't heartless and cold blooded.
Humble gratitude is how I described it on my facebook post.
My husband was a champion both in humane effectiveness and in vulnerable humbleness. We did our pig and culled a rabbit that had contracted pneumonia.
It wasn't our first animal harvest. We raised meat ducks a few years ago. But, this was more poignant. This was the first from our serious micro farming endeavors. This was our first large livestock and our first babies born and raised for such a purpose.
I prepared myself for the harvest, finding that balance that every thoughtful farmer and hunter has to. And as the deed was done, and some criticism from those around us fell upon our ears, I understood deeply that no one has any right to call a thoughtful farmer heartless, cruel, or inhumane.
In our forgetful and convenient modern world there is a place in between survival of the fittest and pet spas. You can lovingly and carefully raise an animal, slaughter it, and eat it without a hint of heartlessness. It is called animal husbandry, stewardship.
And it is teaching me to be more thoughtful, more heartfelt, more careful, more environmentally concerned, less wasteful, and yes, even less of a meat-eater. When your meat comes to you that slowly, over months of care, you learn to ration it more appropriately than just grabbing chicken nuggets out of the grocer's freezer and gobbling up as much as you want.
It is a hard thing, but it is a good thing.
UPDATE: My pig dressed out at 250 lbs! Not bad for the runt of the litter!