Meat-eater or vegetarian? Learning to look dinner in the eye


| 1/5/2011 8:34:34 PM


Tags: farming, livestock, lamb, vegetarian, recipe, Colleen Newquist,

A-photo-of-Colleen-NewquistFor some time now, I’ve been saying that if I’m going to eat meat, I ought to be able to look an animal in the eye and be OK with its death for my dinner, or I should become a vegetarian.

I hadn’t had the opportunity to test this premise, though, until my friend Karen, owner of Three Fates Farm, called to say she was sending some of her lambs to slaughter and asked if we wanted one. I jumped at the opportunity.

I didn’t meet the exact lamb I’d be eating, but I had visited all the lambs when they were just days and weeks old, adorably following their mothers around the pasture, and I felt that the criteria of looking my dinner in the eye was satisfied.

Leicester-Longwool-lamb 

The lamb would be ready in a week or so, available at a local slaughterhouse, where it would all be neatly packaged and labeled and ready for our pickup. We bought a small freezer in anticipation of our homegrown meat. Finally one Saturday it was ready.

I was ushered around the counter of the shop, which was doing a brisk business with a mostly Mexican clientele. I wondered why I hadn’t been here before and vowed to come back and explore. I followed a butcher to a back room, where I made small talk with the owner, a smiling gray-haired man with a Greek accent, while the butcher searched for my box of lamb.

almost country_1
1/17/2011 10:41:00 AM

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I would love to be part of "real" farm life and would like to participate/witness a slaughter. If anyone's in the Midwest and willing to have me visit, let me know!


almost country_1
1/17/2011 10:39:06 AM

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I would love to be part of "real" farm life and would like to participate/witness a slaughter. If anyone's in the Midwest and willing to have me visit, let me know!


bobbi
1/14/2011 10:20:04 PM

Removing the lentils will also remove some of the wonderful nutrition that lentils provide. We're getting chickens for eggs this year and after over a decade of being a pescatarian (a vegetarian who eats fish) I've been considering whether or not I would eat a chicken that I'd raised. I came to the conclusion that I could, even if I had to hide a few tears from my son :)


pj cooper
1/14/2011 4:06:40 PM

the next time you find yourself with a slaughtered animal head,make Headcheese or Souse or Scrapple. My grandparents taught me to use everything but the squeal or you will never really appreciate the usefulness of the animal.


donna may
1/14/2011 1:01:03 PM

I have always lived on a farm except for a brief 2 years after we were first married, my new (1955) husband was not a farmer. Then when 2 years later he desided it would be a good place to raise our son (over the next 10 years we had a total of 4 sons), We raised a large garden and most of our own meat, chicken, duck, rabit, beef and pork. Our boys always thought of certain animals as meat and others were pets or mothers but at an early age they understood where the meat was headed and never were bothered by it. All four learned how to butcher and three still raise their own garden and meat/eggs.


pam welty
1/14/2011 7:47:09 AM

Excellent post! We have been raising our own poultry and pork for several years now and feel so much better about eating it, knowing that the animals had happy, healthy lives here on our own farm, and were humanely slaughtered. I almost hate eating meat "out" anymore, b/c I am uncomfortable not knowing how it was raised. Thanks for posting!


nebraska dave
1/10/2011 9:24:00 AM

Colleen, I just grew up from before I can remember with harvest time and slaughter time in the fall. I didn't know it was supposed to be a sad time for the animals. We never named any of our animals except maybe the milk cows that I was so intwined with during my high school years. They were never eaten and usually just sent off the the stock yards to be sold when they passed their prime. Hogs loose their cuteness after they grow out of infancy and get out of the hog yard a few times. We never had sheep until I was long gone and I can't ever remember eating mutton that Mom fixed at home. It's really not a common dish here in Nebraska. Chickens were never a favorite of mine as my job was to clean the coop after the flock of fryers were process by Mom. Quite frankly in those early farm days I thought the best part about chickens was Mom's fried chicken. Eggs were OK, but getting them from those old bitty hens was rather scary for a young lad but I didn't let them get the best of me. I'm glad you came to terms with one of you life's concerns about eating meat. Have a wonderful day.


almost country_1
1/9/2011 12:04:54 PM

Thanks, Amy. It IS a hard decision, and really, it should be. I wish I could have more "home-grown" meat, though. Will keep searching for sources...and maybe grow my own someday!


amy manning
1/7/2011 12:38:29 PM

Great post! Its hard to make that decision, isn't it? We've only handled a couple of chickens here on our little homestead and it wasn't fun. But it is the right thing to do.


amy manning
1/7/2011 12:31:51 PM

Great post! Its hard to make that decision, isn't it? We've only handled a couple of chickens here on our little homestead and it wasn't fun. But it is the right thing to do.





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