I Admit It…I’m A Softie

I went to college with a bunch of animal loving vegetarians. “How can you eat your animals!?” they would ask.

My response? I’m not ready to stop eating meat so the next best thing I can do is make sure the animals I eat have the best life possible and that their lives are ended in a humane way. Even my classmates could respect that.

And blah blah blah. I know what I told them is true. I do. It is my responsibility to raise our meat, raise it well, and well… decide when it is time for them to go. If I have a bunch of pampered farm animals and buy my meat at the grocery store that doesn’t make much sense. But it isn’t always easy.

What’s making me think of this? Well we have that one lonely ram lamb and his date with destiny is scheduled for tomorrow. We’re going to “try a lamb” ourselves as in eat one to see how to cook it so we can share our experience with any of our customers who may want to buy some lamb.

The lamb has to go to the same place the cattle go to. Brian usually takes them. Sure, the calves are cute but by the time they’re big enough to go they are big and rude and could care less about me unless I’m carrying a bucket of corn. He takes them and they come back in a cooler. Well, this time Brian can’t take the lamb so I have to. I’d love to say that I’m all in touch with my food chain and can’t wait to tour the slaughterhouse. To be honest, I’m scared. What if I show up and they’re offing some animal in the next pen. What if the lamb looks at me with that look in his eyes. Ugg.

What’s the difference? Well, sheep are already scared and prone to panic by nature. I’ve spent this lamb’s whole life trying to convince him that I’m not going to hurt him.

I’m really going to be fine with this, it’s not like I’m crying in my Wheaties or anything. I just wanted to put it out there that I’m not heartless and these things aren’t always easy. If anyone wants to jump in and make me feel better I’d love that!


12 thoughts on “I Admit It…I’m A Softie

  1. Ruth

    Jena~I know what you mean about bulls; they grow out of that “affectionate” period by a year and it’s probably easier to put them in your freezer. I’m not so sure about lambs because we don’t raise them, but I find it’s easier it you don’t name an animal a pet name that has that destiny.

    I’m not much of a meat eater, not because I find it offensive, but I really don’t care for it that much and I look for protein in dairy products and fish. My three BIG guys on the other hand couldn’t live without it.

    It’s true that animals have the best life and are treated well–especially in your care or other caring farmers–and there is a reason they’re here. You’re much better of eating your own meat if you can “stomach” it than meat from animals whose life you know nothing about.

    Not sure that helped . . .

  2. Farmer's Daughter

    I feel your pain! The day is coming for our turkeys and pigs. I don’t know how Ed and his dad do it when it’s time to kill them, I’m not sure I could. But I do help to butcher and package.

    Just think of the wonderful life you’ve given this lamb. Then think about how most of our meat is raised. I’ll always choose to eat an animal that was raised humanely, loved, named, etc. than factory meat that lived a horrible abused life.

  3. Tara

    “I’ve spent this lamb’s whole life trying to convince him that I’m not going to hurt him.”

    I know exactly what you mean! I’ve done the same thing here, and yet I am the executioner. And yes, it does sometimes feel cold and hypocritical, but I have to remind myself that they’ve gotten a much nicer life than most livestock animals, and a much better death than they get by predation (I’ve seen what predators do to my animals – the damage and fear they cause. Slaughter by US is a much better alternative).

    Don’t worry – you’re not a monster OR a softie. You’re well-reasoned and human.

  4. Angie

    Hi Jena,

    I’ve never gone thru this personally, so I got nothing so to speak. However, I aspire to this and we hope to raise our own meat soon. In the meantime, we only buy meat from small farmers that we know or whose farms we have visited.

    You are doing the right thing!

  5. Lisa

    I’m like Ruth, I’m not a big meat eater. My husband on the other hand loves meat. I do try and source ours from environmentally and animal friendly places.

    I could never raise meat. I can’t eat something I have seen alive. I’ve always been this way. I’m glad there are people that are willing to do this though.

  6. Captain's Wife - Jennifer

    Well heck, I had the link to your new blog all wrong! I think you are doing a wonderful thing. I wish we could get tothat place! We haven’t raised and butchered anything, but someone mentioned eating the ducks when they are past their laying prime, and we had thought of that when we got them. Could we actually do it? I don’t know! 🙂 How’d it go with the lamb?


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