Compassion in World Farming

Friday, 8 April 2011

Dinner time

Meet Hilda Ogden & Norah Batty the Transylvanian Naked Neck chicks that are the latest birds to join our big happy family. Hubs fell in love with them during a visit to the Domestic Fowl Trust. Now I know they're not everyones cup of tea, looking as they do like baby vultures, but they really do have the sweetest of natures.

A chance snippet of information I read about them that suggested that they are eaten a lot in France (gasp!) got me thinking about the whole issue of eating meat again. I've yet to find a diet I'm happy with both health & conscience wise. I recently tried veganism, but with 2 meat eaters & a vegetarian in the house already it just seemed impossible to sort meal times so everyone was happy & my diet was healthy enough. I did start to feel unwell. I don't enjoy milk & don't want dairy produce to be a part of my diet. Cow's milk is meant for cows & I detest the dairy industry, so that's sorted. But meat? Is there a way for me to be able to eat meat occasionally & feel happy with myself?

There's no way I could eat any kind of battery farmed meat without needing to flog myself with razor blades. The enormous suffering of battery farmed animals (not just chickens!) makes me want to weep & scream in equal measures. When I originally starting keeping chickens it was with the romantic notion that I would rear my own meat birds. Ha! That didn't exactly go to plan did it? I believe it's wholly perverse & wrong to kill any creature you bond with & that trusts you. I was talking about this subject to a friend of mine who spent some time living with North American Indian tribe that believe that if a deer looks you in the eye you can't shoot it. I get that.

One thing that is puzzling me at the moment is that so many people are getting emotionally involved in the lambing season. People get moved to tears if a little lamb loses its life. Yet these same people feel no emotion towards the same creature just a few months older shrink wrapped in a supermarket. Are they wrong to remove that emotion towards that lamb? At what point does an animal go from being a creature that inspires love & compassion in us to just a slab of meat?

There are no easy answers to these questions & I certainly don't judge anyone for their choice of diet. The mass over population of the human race on this planet makes humane eating extremely difficult. Of course Nature's way is the way of the hunter. But there simply isn't enough wild prey for all of us to hunt, even if we had the time in our busy modern day lives to try.

At the moment I am considering a vegetarian, dairy free diet with the inclusion of a limited amount of organic, free range meat. I just need to find a source of this organic, free range meat reared with the kind of ethics that fit with me, else take responsibility for rearing my own meat as I intended in the first place but without forming an attachment to the animal. Hmmmmm. I'll keep you posted.....


  1. It's certainly a difficult one for you, especially as I know how much you get attached emotionally to your feathered friends.

    I have gone on the thought that I have incubated and raised my birds for eating, I am not naming them and although I am giving them as good as life as I can, I am not treating them as pets.

    The hatch, match and dispatch course I attended also helped both myself and my husband realise how humane the actual dispatch was and how there was very little distress to the birds.

    Perhaps you need to find someone who keeps birds for meat to buy as your source.

    Ruth x

  2. I think if you want to eat meat knowing the animal has had a good life is really important. I admire you Ruth xx

  3. Damn you sis, you make it hard for me to come up with smart/funny comments when you write such serious posts!!

    Anyway, I'm sure you'll come to the right conclusions, you usually do, and for that I admire you! x x

  4. I like them.... but as youamericans say
    "they sure is ugly!"

  5. 'ello! It's Gaina in my new disguise :D

    There is a forager called Fergus Drennan who only eats meat in the form of roadkill when he comes across it. He even got a PETA award for this practice!

    You're not involved in the death of the animal in any way and you can also link it to your spirituality and see it as Mother Earth offering you some protein :).