36
   

Could you kill your own meat?

 
 
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 09:51 pm
Morality bites
Mustering some sympathy for the bedeviled ham and beef


Monica Eng wrote:
I didn't want to see a pig get killed. Heck, I don't think anyone does.

But I felt like I couldn't continue eating meat if I didn't. So this summer I embarked on an unpleasant pilgrimage to bear witness to the death of every kind of animal I ate. And in some cases, to kill the animal myself. Before you start with the angry letters, please hear me out. We're probably more similar than you think. Like most of you reading this story, I love animals. I love to pet them. And I love to hold them. But I also love to eat them. So the thought of their execution"something my appetites demand"both frightened and revolted me. But if I couldn't take the reality of what was on my plate, how could I justify eating it? And how could I feed it to my kids? I'd been asking myself this for years, but urban life made it easy to avoid the issue. Meat here comes in manicured cuts covered with shiny plastic. It doesn't have a face (as long as you avoid those ghastly ethnic markets) and certainly doesn't make noise. It's easy to imagine that these cuts come from the rib machine or the chicken tender factory or even the brisket dispenser down the street.

But after reading Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" (2006) in which he personally kills and forages his dinner, I found it harder to tune out the question. My own foodie concerns about the provenance of my meat drove my curiosity further. But the biggest factor was my conviction that it's wrong to ask someone to do something for you that you morally could not do yourself.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/media/photo/2008-09/42506841.jpg
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Type: Discussion • Score: 36 • Views: 15,828 • Replies: 168

 
Aglowing
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 10:01 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I watched a pig shot. Right between the eyes and he fell over like they describe 'cow tipping', then the man swiftly drew a sharp blade over the jugular-- deep. They hung him by his hind feet with wire, over a tree limb, with a pit dug beneath his final viewing, to drain into. Pouring him over and over with boiling water they scraped him very clean, and the further it went, them more I could see pickled pigs feet taking place .
Somewhere there I lost interest, but I am sure my grandfather and the neighbor were the ones who hung good smelling ham and shoulders int he smoke house.
Then there were great crispy rinds to munch on all day.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 10:04 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Good question. I think in my youth, I was more open minded to using a gun to kill animals, but as I aged, that changed to the point that I myself will refuse to kill any game.

My mother used to send me to the chicken store where they had live chickens, and they would cut the neck, bathe the chicken in hot water, then clean off the feathers with some kind of spinning instrument.

While still in my teens, I had a friend who's father was a doctor, and he'd invite me over to his place to go and shoot at birds or other dry targets. During my air force days in New Mexico, my friend and I used to go rabbit hunting, but it was common to see dead rabbits on the roads of New Mexico. Didn't see the harm

I still eat meats and fish food and will do so till the day of my demise.
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 10:06 pm
@cicerone imposter,
I would also like to add that I've been to two African safaris, and saw what happens in the wilds by animals against other animals. I think it's natural for animals to kill other animals for food. The Masai drinks the bloods of cows for nourishment; something I'm not sure I'm capable of doing today, even though I like my meats medium-rare.
NickFun
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 10:21 pm
@cicerone imposter,
When I was in my early 20's I lived a life similar to "Into the Wild" for a few months. I ate anything that lived. I knew mushrooms by their look and smell. I could cultivate a meal from forest dressings. Now I prefer my meat with the shiny plastic.
0 Replies
 
Borat Sister
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 10:22 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I could manage fish, and (having seen chooks and sheep killed) I could likely steel myself to kill a chook.

I killed an injured mouse of mine once....so I can do it.


I think the whole question of the morality of avoiding facing up to the processes by which we get meat is an important one.

0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 10:52 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I sacrificed animals once in the lab so I know I could do it (we usually didn't have to, they just lived on and on and on and on producing antisera to human immunoglobulins), but that was then. Now, no. Even then, we needed a cage and didn't need the rabbit. I found a friend to take the rabbit. Little did she know it would be a BIG rabbit. It lived for a while on her apartment porch, and then she found a friend with a yard and a way to build a rabbit "house". I think of him as mr. bigfoot.

I'm in the midst of reading another book by Pollan, on building a place of your own. Will bring that up on a couple of "tiny house" threads.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 11:15 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
Could you kill your own meat?

I coud n I woud if it became necessary; I have the necessary equipment,
but I 'd rather continue attending the best restaurants that I can find, instead.




David
0 Replies
 
Dogz
 
  4  
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 11:23 pm
@ossobuco,
We recently made the decision to have our 3 lambs slaughtered. They were about 8-10 months old, and rather unfriendly...I suppose almost feral. Because we could not get close to them, I never really looked upon them as "pets", so it made the decision a lot easier. I drove them over one hour away to the country abattoir, and only felt a twinge of unease when the thought of them actually being put to death was realised.

After collecting the assorted cuts of meat from the butcher afterwards, I was looking forward to a piping hot roast lamb dinner. That night, the strangest thing happened. I could not eat the meat. What was once my favourite roast meal had become something I could no longer stomach...with the thought of eating it invoking nausea.

This odd and unpleasant feeling was purely psychological. I did not feel sorry for the lambs, nor did I have a problem thinking about consuming our once-grazing animals. I cannot explain why I was suddenly repulsed, only that I have lost all desire for lamb in the future. It would be interesting if anyone can shed any light on why this happened, or if it has happened to them when the time came to eating one of their animals.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 11:58 pm
@Dogz,
I imagine that's about how I would react, Dogz.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 11:59 pm
@Dogz,
How do u feel about mutton ?

Anyway, u have reminded me of something
that I accidentally did to my mind, when I was 4.

My mother opined that it was not good for my father
to smoke. She did not believe that sucking dirt into
your lungs was a terrific idea. I did not care; had not considered it.
I saw airborne tobacco smoke around a lot, but took no
particular notice. Having been convinced by my mother 's logic,
I silently decided that when my father returned home,
I 'd end his smoking by deception, telling him that the smoke
was olfactorily offensive. I did not know the concept of addiction.

I thought that, being so advised, he 'd just stop smoking.
I was semi-astonished when he just continued to smoke,
as if I had not said anything about it,
but from THAT DAY on, it became something like a
self fullfilling prophesy, in that tabacco smoke really DID
stink me out, as I had falsely claimed that it had.

"The fault ... is not in our stars,… but in ourselves…". Shakespeare




David
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 12:51 am
I can easily kill my own meat and have done many times in the past. small game and domestic animals both.

Show's laid-back moment before the hard bit
Darren Gray
September 23, 2008
http://images.watoday.com.au/2008/09/23/215890/N_SHOW-420x0.jpg

Quote:
Rosa, 14, and her friend Fabia Howard-Smith are two of 20 year 9 Timbertop students attending the Royal Melbourne Show with nine steers raised at the campus in the foothills around Mount Buller. Their steers are going head to head with others raised by secondary school and TAFE students from country Victoria and NSW in the Show's "beef carcase competition".

Having been judged "on the hoof", the steers will now be judged "on the hook" by meat experts at an abattoir tomorrow. Schools use the competition to teach students agricultural and animal husbandry skills, discipline and responsibility. It also teaches them how meat gets from the paddock to the plate.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  0  
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 01:14 am
@Robert Gentel,
>Could you kill your own meat?

Can and just did Tues(yesterday) evening: six pointer, one of the Aftershock 100-gr mechanicals from about 40 yards with the pin set at 20, basically aimed at the line of the back above the shoulder and fired, deer didn't make it 30 yards.

http://www.aftershockarchery.com/images/icon_antiwedge.jpg

0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 01:18 am
For whatever it's worth....

Stupidest thing the white man ever did was to bring European cattle to the Americas. Cattle have every sort of problem trying to live here while we had at least three perfectly good large meat animals which didn't have any problems i.e. moose, elk, and bison.
gungasnake
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 01:19 am
@gungasnake,
Stupidest normal sort of thing that is... not talking about world wars or communism or anything here.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 05:14 am
@gungasnake,
Now gungas a livestock expert. Cross breeding of herefords with longhorns has led to a more thrifty grazing animal well equipped for dry pasture.
Wasting good pasture on forest bison or longhorns here in the east is stupid. People who raise bison for the boutique market take much longer to finish the animals for market.I know several farmers who raise bison or elk or white tail deer. These are raisedmostly for restaurants. A bison can be a huge megafauna that needs to be carefully managed.There is no mass market potential in raising bison because their breeding schedules are just too slow and they are slow growing. But there is a specialty meat market for many of these animals and someone is out there raising them (mostly as a hobby)

We keep several of our sheep or steer (or two) for meat. I dont butcher any animals because , mainly because Im no good at it due to my crippled arm. Butchering is an art, not meant to be parcticed without training and expwerience. Instead, I load the animals into a carrier and drive them to a country butcher with whom weve dealt for almost two decades.
I think deer meat tastes like **** so Im not worrying about them. I do like antelope or rabbits , or wild canada goose and , since a about 2002, Ive been going hunting for rabbits and geese and waterfowl. CLeaning them isnt a physical chore as butchering lambs or cows.

I raised a few pigs over the years and find that they are too easy to turn into pets , so weve consciously quit raising them lest we have a farm full of huge lazy porkers who feel entitled to our company. Pigs are just waay too intelligent to raise as met animls,Once youve raised pigs, you see across the species chasm and see a very intelligent animals who is as curious and loyal as a dog. (So Im a pussy wrt pigs, I freely admit it)
We have several farms around us who raise pork and /or veaal. So we purchase from these farmers and send the animals to our country butcher.

This is so not an issue, its more of a culture thing. If youre used to farming, it doesnt even register as an issue of cruelty or concern for animals. Respect for all life doesnt mean that all life must be underwritten. Farming is a business like any other. FArms arennt huge collection of "pets" We, as a species, have developed several strains of stock animals grown just for their meat, so they arent even the original wild type.

If one were to look at a wild turkey, one would be surprised how this very clever and svelte wild bird could even be related to the barnyard turkey that can barely walk comfortably because its so huge. Its all selection and industrial genetics. Farmyard turkeys would most likely go extinct without human intervention. Sheep are getting there and dairy cows are probably there now also.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 05:30 am
@Robert Gentel,
I have no doubt that I could if I had to for some reason.

I've appreciated Michael Pollan's food writing, I remember thinking similar things when I read his stuff. I definitely think that it's important to recognize where that meat comes from, what it was, how it goes from being an animal to that shiny-package cut of meat.


"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." - Michael Pollan
0 Replies
 
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 06:00 am
@Robert Gentel,
One day in my early teens, my father took me to kill a sheep for our family. I can't remember what he said but the jist of it was clear... You want to eat meat, you have to be prepared to accept the consequences. I found it difficult and distasteful, but I did it.

A few years later I got very upset when my father shot a kangaroo that looked so proud and majestic and beautiful in the dawn light...teen hormones I suppose, but I choose to avoid having watch such things these days, but I never forget where meat comes from.

I get quite annoyed at grown adults who eat meat yet react with horror at the mere thought of animals being killed.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  2  
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 06:17 am
Cattle still need protection from the elements which the bison and large deer don't need and are subject to a long list of diseases which the others don't suffer from. Whether the faster breeding cycle makes up for all or any of that I don't know. It couldn't easily have in 1600.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 06:26 am
@gungasnake,
Chronic Wasting Disease, and Tuberculosis, ever hear of these gunga?
0 Replies
 
 

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