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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Kill What You Eat

Here is my new life plan.

1. Start some new fangled social networking site.
2. Become a Billionaire.
3. Institute one major goal to accomplish each year thereafter like learning Chinese,or killing my own meat.

Sound familiar? Recently Mark Zuckerberg, one of the creators of Facebook, posted on his Facebook account that he is going to start killing all of the meat that he eats. According to this CNN Money article he killed a goat and a pig in his back yard. Then he sent them to a butcher who cut them into parts and sent them back to him ready to cook. Zuckerberg is also is limiting waste waste by eating all parts of the animal.

 Uncle Dale Harvesting Chickens

I am fascinated by the rise in popularity in sustainable foods and eating local. It has gotten so popular that billionaire tech giants are posting about there experiences with killing food and they probably think they are extremely original by doing so. This practice is not new nor groundbreaking. Many of our readers and contributors already produce and kill/harvest some or all of our food.

The idea of killing my food appeals to me in some ways although I know some of our vegetarian readers find the idea reprehensible. It would be extremely hard for me to kill an animal. Maybe the fact that it is not easy is a reason it should be done. I think that killing my own meat would cause me to be more thankful to the animal that gave it's life for my families sustenance. I even wonder if it would make me a little less likely to eat as much meat as I do. Would it cause me to waste less of my food as well?

Where do you stand in this regard? Are there benefits to killing your own food? Is this something you would do if you had the means? Are you against it completely? Let us know.

19 comments:

Rachel said...

I eat a LOT less meat now that we raise and kill our own. It's not easy nor should it be.

Have you read Heidi's open letter to Mr. Zuckerberg about this? I think it's awesome and should be read by everyone. It takes him to task to not only kill his own meat but to also raise it so he knows the hard, thankless work that goes into raising livestock. http://ittybittyfarminthecity.blogspot.com

Rachael said...

This sounds crazy but if I had to kill my own meat I wouldn't eat meat. Our chickens, Geese, and bunnies are like pets.....

It has really made me think more about where food comes from, and in what condition animals are treated. I do however, spend a little more to purchase from smaller farms, and local farms who treat their animals well. I am always so sad to see those shows on tv, about the inhumane treatment of animals in processing "farms".

Vee and the Kid said...

It's a little odd that you posted that today. Just about an hour and a half ago, my husband left with four of our chickens in his car. Taking to a processing place. Our first time. We plan to butcher future chickens but this is a test to see if we can eat something that was a pet. And our chickens are definitely pets ... all 61 of them!

Maybe it will help us eat less meat. We'll see.

Vikki at http://vikkisverandah.blogspot.com

Alexis E. said...

I completely agree that it's the raising of the meat, and not the killing that makes one appreciate a meal. I have chickens, which are easy by comparison to cows and sheep, but still require coops cleanings, daily feedings, extra nutrients, etc. I support anyone wanting know where their meat comes from, but please do the work!

Dollwood Farms said...

I would find it extremely hard to kill any animal. However, if it was out of necessity (do or die) I guess I could do it. I do find myself eating a lot less meat these day though, for the simple reason of wanting to make our meals last longer. Groceries are so expensive these days. :( My garden is small and hasn't had any substantial yields yet either.

Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

I grew up with my family hunting and killing our own food, fishing, trapping, etc. We always ate what we killed and although it was a bit of a "sport" for the younger ones, we quickly learned that 1) you ALWAYS respect a weapon and 2) you never kill something unless you need it for food. I'm sure there is always someone who doesn't "get" this lesson when hunting, but for the most part, it comes with the territory. I find it very strange that people who only get their meat in cellophane wrap can be so critical of a process they really know nothing about and they insist on forcing their ideas on everyone else (ie: no guns allowed group).

Now we are raising our own meat birds (Freedom Rangers) and I'm not having fun. These have turned out to be way too much like Cornish Cross and it seems cruel (only because they do not act like anything like normal chickens and they have a host of issues with their legs, etc.). We'll finish this batch and butcher them, but in the future, I'll be raising an heirloom meat bird that can live a normal life until it's time for butchering. I often tell my children, it's fine to raise animals for food, but it's never fine to be "cruel".

I always enjoy your discussions, Michael. Great food for thought (no pun intended!).

Julie said...

For 30 yrs eating meat never bothered me, then, suddenly *it got to me*. Mainly the way animals are treated prior to being killed, so I thought, I'll raise my own meat animals, which brought me to, oh yeah, I'd actually have to *kill* them and this stopped me dead in my tracks. I know I don't have it in me to take a life that way so I decided if I can't do it myself, I'm not gonna ask someone else to do it for me.
That said, I have complete respect to others who have decided to eat only humanely raised meat and/or do the raising and killing themselves. We're way too far removed from the food we eat, all of it. And we prefer to hold others accountable. Not fair. You are accountable for what you choose to eat!

Rachel said...

Amy, Thanks for the info on the FRs. I don't want to raise CX birds because of the health issues (my husband does though) so I was thinking FRs would be a better idea, but obviously not. We're trying Light Sussex next to see how they do.

Veggie PAK said...

I grew up with hunting, fishing and trapping for food purposes. I lived in the city, but my grandparents had a 175 acre "almost" self-sustaining farm, so that's where I got my experience. Since I was 14, I cleaned and dressed everything I ever brought back from the hunt. I don't have an issue with killing an animal if it is for food. I don't like hunting for the "sport" of it.

K-Koira said...

I've always thought someone who wants to eat meat should have to kill and butcher an animal at least once. Too many people have no idea where their food comes from.

That said, I think it is the raising and butchering of the animal that is the important part, more so than the killing of it.

Shaunika said...

When you become a billionaire, can I have just a smidge of it? Ya know...as a faithful follower of Backyard Farming. What? No? Okay, fine. :)

teekaroo said...

I don't enjoy the actual killing, but I do like knowing that the animal had a peaceful, easy life and that they were handled humanely. All my life growing up, I knew that the cute pig or lamb or cow would eventually be in the freezer. I took care of them until then and then they took care of me.

David said...

Michael, I have this philosophy about life. I believe the plants are alive until we harvest them or at least they have the spark of life in them until we cook it out or digest it out. It's been proven that plants have responded to different kinds of music or positive and negative words spoken to them. So no matter what you eat, some form of life has to die. So the issue becomes how high up the food chain is one willing to kill and eat.

It's just a thought from a retired old backyard farmer. Give me some corn and potatoes and pass the pork chops please.

daisy said...

I don't eat red meat or poultry, but I do make it for my family. Since watching "Food, Inc.", we only purchase grain-fed, "clean" poultry. I don't see myself ever killing birds for consumption, and I am grateful that I can purchase the food I feed my family. I think it's honorable that people want to raise their own food and treat the animals with dignity in life and death. It's not for me to judge what others eat. Everyone's on their own journey in this life...

Paul and Ines said...

I read this article too & found it honorable of Zuckerberg. I would eat less meat if I had to do it myself. But I think thats the point. As a society, we are gluttonous. We do need to educate ourselves on the process & definately labor the land. BTW i love your blog!

Mary Ann said...

Well, I have watched Uncle Dale's videos on your blog, and I see he is processing his broilers in the picture... Our problem, though we talk a good game regularly, is time and patience. We have ten cockerels/roosters to process.... and the time is what we are lacking. We also would have to hand-pluck for such a small number, so it gets put off and put off and put off. We would rather do it here than watch someone tie their legs together and throw them in the back of a truck (almost happened once to a batch of cockerels here)... but time is always getting away from us, too.

doglady said...

I do kill my own rabbits but take the turkeys and chickens to a processor. This year though, I do plan to process my meat chickens too. Presumably, people killing an animal for food have also raised it. I only eat Maine grass fed beef, pastured pork, and my own chicken, turkey and rabbit. I do not want to support CFOs in any way and that the animals have had as good a life as possible. I also want to know my meat hasn't been fed antibiotics and GMO grain.

Dale Johnson said...

Amy,

I always appreciates your comments.

I am surprised by you comments about Freedom Rangers. I grew them last year and have several friends who grow them. I found them to be much different than Cornish Cross. First and foremost, I didn't lose any where I usually lose several Cornish Cross. Mine were very active with no health problems. The biggest problem that I had was that they are much slower growing than Cornish Cross that the feed conversion is much lower.

I think that the variety of Cornish Cross is much more homogeneous. I think that the variety of Freedom Rangers may be more diverse as different hatcheries have different characteristics. I got my Freedom Rangers J&M Hatchery, (the link is on this blog).

I you try other varieties and find success, please let us know. After another year of growing Cornish Cross with a high mortality, I want to try something else.

katiegirl said...

I hate the comments like, "Oh, I could never kill my own food" from people who talk down at you like they're the better person because they couldn't kill an animal---and I'm only talking about certain coworkers of mine, not people from the comments. One coworker in particular always says how she prefers her meat shrink-wrapped. Well, what she doesn't understand is that while her head is in the sand chickens are living in conditions that are much less than desirable. If she'd rather have her head in the sand that's fine, but don't act like you're high and mighty. Some of us like to know how our food has been treated from beginning to end!

And I'm surprised at comments on both the Freedom Rangers and Cornish X. Cornishes always get bad raps, but every time I've raised them I've had healthy chickens that are still running around chasing bugs until the day they die. In fact, I have a year old Cornish X hen we decided to keep back (she escaped being caught on processing day) and she lays eggs, runs around for food, and roosts at night!