Reason No 19: Killing Things?

Don’t name your steak.  But you’ve got to live, right?

I used to hate (meat) farmers, because they’re heartless.  It comes with the territory.  The guy we bought this place off used to lease a paddock to a farmer who ‘grew’ calves for veal. Eventually the grief-stricken bellowing of the mother cows left without their little ones got to him, and he ended the lease arrangement.  But I guess the farmer with the calves had no objection.  That’s farmers for you.

And yet, they’ll tenderly nurse a newborn lamb beside the hearth, bottle-feeding through the night till it’s big enough to…what? Eat, that’s what. They care, and yet – they don’t care. So in our family discussion about how to make this place pay, eventually, one thing is resolutely crossed off the list – livestock for meat or milk.

So what does that leave?  Nut trees, for one.  Last week I went to a jazz evening (everyone there was over 75) and whaddya know – I ended up at the same table as the couple who first turned this property from bush-block to pasture, and planted the (now moribund) hazelnuts. Serendipity, thy name is Turnips!

‘I’m sorry to have to tell you,’ says me, guiltily, ‘they’re not doing very well.’

‘That’s because they haven’t been watered,’ says the old guy. ‘We set up this magnificent irrigation system, but nobody’s used it!’

‘That’s because we can’t work out how,’ says me. ‘How about you come down and show us!’

So I take their phone number and promise to invite them over sometime soon, so they can see what their precious property’s come to in the hands of city know-nothings, and tell us how to do it right.  I’m looking forward to this very much – as I have no pride.

Anyway, apart from nuts, there are things like alpacas and goats, who give their fleece but not their lives to the cause of making us slightly more affluent.  So I’m thinking this is the way to go, long term.  I will become a goat-herd.

Angora goats are extremely cute – but they need the equivalent of Alcatraz to keep them from running off in search of greener pastures.  They also stop you from going on holidays, unless you’ve lined up a goat-sitter.

So the plan is holiday, then fences, then goats. The gorgeous model pictured is Griselda, who belongs to one of my farming clients.

So, how do you feel about the carnivore business?

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6 thoughts on “Reason No 19: Killing Things?

  1. Can’t help it, I eat meat. i’d like to eat less, but a lifetime habit is hard to break. I do wish there was a more humane way to produce the volume of meat needed to fuel the masses. Not sure if that’s possible anymore.

    Put another way — yeah, I agree with you, but what are we to do?

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    1. I guess one day we’ll synthesise meat so we don’t have to ‘grow’ it. I feel the same as you do about milk and cheese and butter – I don’t care if I never eat another steak in my life but cheese I would miss. But there’s just as much misery in the dairy industry as any other, so I’m trying to give it up and take to soy, almond and coconut milk instead. Cashew ‘cheese’ – I haven’t quite mastered yet. If only we spent as much time and money avoiding cruelty as we do trying to get things to taste better!

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  2. If left to my own devices, I could happily live on a diet of fish and poultry, with the occasional bit of game thrown in; I’m not that much into red meats, but sort of need them so that I don’t die from the pernicious anaemia (cheers, body! Stay classy, why not). Does that mean I could kill Babe for a bacon sandwich? I’m really not sure. I come from a long line of Welsh farmers, but they were arable and dairy, so I never witnessed any animal going to the slaughter. And there are certain things I just won’t eat on principle – like veal (although it’s more humane now) and fois gras. Whilst I’m fine with nature and the circle of life and all that jazz, no animal should suffer so that they end up on my plate, and I buy free range and farm assured or it doesn’t come through the door.

    I probably *could* do it, but – initially – not without tears. If I didn’t eat bacon I wouldn’t eat pork at all, and I rarely eat beef or lamb. I honestly like fish and chicken more than any other meat, and for them it’s over so quickly that they don’t suffer (at least, I hope fish don’t suffer. I know poultry doesn’t).

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    1. I get what you’re saying. I don’t think I’m anaemic – but perhaps I am. The Girl used to take iron supplements, as a dedicated teenage vegetarian. I guess I’m ok with meat eating in principle – I just think we should take more care to make sure animals don’t suffer. I’d probably eat rabbits, if they were tasty – they’re a bit of a plague. Anyway the bottom line is, I don’t want to participate in the whole carnivore thing.

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  3. You think I’ll get to Reason No 53? If I ever get to that stage, it’ll be more of a hunting lodge than an abbatoir – Shane reckons he might shoot rabbits or deer, them being officially non persona grata here.

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