Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Seems like Ziggy might not be as silly as he looks. The last two nights he's gone around to his side, had a cursory suck and moved on to the feed tub. I thought it would be game over for a second let down, but it seems he just sucks enough to start it and then moves on. If he doesn't suck at all I put him back in the yard and he doesn't get to share the feed tub... Could a calf be smart enough to figure out that he can quickly get me the let down and then go to the solid food ?

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This is the portable cool room sitting next to the back gate this week. Inside is a sheep carcass. The only wether we got this year. This is the hardest part of farming for me. I know that he had a better life and very much quicker and cleaner death than the meat in the supermarket. I am proud that I can make this so for my dinner. I can say absolutely that my livestock suffer no cruelty. But I always feel rotten when the day comes.

The saying goes that "where you have livestock you have dead stock". This means that where there is life there will be death, there is never one without the other. No matter what, living things will die for no seeming reason and live despite all adversity and the only thing you can do is try to tilt the odds in your direction. It's the same for people... a little slip and a knock of the head and someone is gone. Or found alive after two weeks in the rubble after an earthquake. Life is so insanely fragile and monstrously strong at the same time.

We lost one lamb at three days old to a heart condition (nothing we could do) and one at five months to pulpy kidney (complete mismanagement).  Even though both would have been destined for the freezer, I feel it is my responsibility to give them the best of care. To provide all their needs and as many of their wants as I can. They have names, because to attempt to leave them nameless is silly in a flock this small, and it feels disrespectful, as if they were not deserving of their own names.

Some people have asked how I could "eat meat which had a face", as if every sheep, chicken or cow doesn't have a face. Or how could I eat something I cared for so well. For me the question is, doesn't every animal that is eaten deserve to be treated the way I treat my animals ?

See if you can nudge the odds towards a good life for your dinner. Buy free range eggs. See if you can source free range pork. Stand up for mandatory stunning in every abattoir. Look for cheeses made from dairies where they know their cow or goat's names. Better still, keep your own chickens. You'll be suprised at how ten minutes a day watching the chookies go about chicken business will put the world in perspective. And there's nothing like your own fresh free range eggs...

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If you read this blog and it makes you think or reminds you of something, or you'd just like to say hi or to argue a point or ask a question... please feel free to comment. I like to know you're out there :-)

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