Grit Blogs > Acorn and Thistle

Butchering Day

Acorn and ThistleWell, we knew it was coming. Today’s the day that our steer gets turned into beef. I’m a little apprehensive, because my neighbor is out of town and I’m meeting the mobile butcher at the property this afternoon – by myself. I’m also bringing my camera and my notepad, so I can document the whole process and the experience for the blog.  

As a result, this post is going to be short. Just like processing the rabbits, I need to gather my thoughts and prepare myself ahead of time for what is to come. It’s a big responsibility, one that I take very seriously, to ensure that the animals we raise for food are treated well, even in death. It’s the least I can do, I think, for choosing to eat meat.

beef 

It’s easy to forget where our food comes from, if the only time we see it is when it arrives on our plate. Today, my food has a face … and I’m not sure how I feel about that fact, right at this moment. It's different than the rabbits somehow – but I can't put my finger on it, yet. 

What was it like for you, the first time you raised beef?

texaslady
9/9/2014 9:05:33 AM

I came from a farming background, and I saw animals harvested all my life. I always hated it. But when it came to the first time we harvested our own, I couldn't watch because I felt guilty and sad for the animal. My husband watched, and he also hated it. We have progressed to him not watching, mostly because he's not here, when they come. But I've decided I need to watch to make sure that they are killed quickly and humanely. It is the price I exact from myself so that I can eat meat. I am always sad for them, but I also realize that they had a purpose, and in their death, their purpose is fulfilled. If I had not wanted to eat meat, they would not have been born. Although being alive isn't the greatest thing for them, unless they live out the fullest extent of their life in a large pasture with other cattle without human or predator contact ever and with continuous food supply, their life is not perfect. And so I adjust to the fact that they have eaten the best food that is designed (by me) to make them the happiest, healthiest and most content for months. I am still sad for them, and I often think of Neytiri in the Avatar movie, who goes down on her knee, and prays for the animal that was killed, and I often do the same. This comes from my Judeo-Christian background where we should "pour the blood on the ground" out of respect for the animal who sacrificed for our health. I feel a great deal of respect for the animal that gives its life so that I can be healthy--without meat, I do not believe I could eat a healthy diet. So it is a sad and somber day for us. Yet it is a day of thanksgiving that they are now going to supply my family with health. Life is terminal for every living being. They died health and happy and content. Others are not so lucky.


nebraskadave
8/27/2014 8:04:16 AM

Laura, the slaughter of an animal should be a somber moment. For one life to feed another is how nature works but it shouldn't be taken lightly. I can only remember one time when Dad slaughtered a hog himself. Many people came over to help with the processing. Since I was only about 8 or 9 years old, I didn't actually get to see the taking of the life. I did, however, get to help with the processing of the animal. After that one time, Dad usually just took the animal to the butcher and it came back all wrapped and frozen. It's kind of sad how disconnected consumers are from the source of food in today's culture. ***** Have a great processing day.