Circle of Life

Yesterday, I took 3 finished calves to the butcher to be processed. Why I am comfortable with this process and the benefits it provides.

A few pictures of our farm raised, barn finished calves. Up top were calves that we fed to be sold to local families for beef. Below, Carter leads two of our fair animals. One was sold at auction at the Crawford County Fair, the other was harvested for our own freezer.

Greetings!! We are in what I like to call the dog days of summer. Yesterday, the temperature in Missouri was about 374 degrees with a dew point of 234. Obviously I’m exaggerating, but to be honest I doubt I could tell the difference in those readings and the actual temp and relative humidity currently in Missouri. It’s pretty miserable. But with that being said, I know the bitter cold days of January and February are not far off and somehow I’ll gladly take August temps over that.

Every year, we keep back a few calves to feed for local families to purchase for freezer meat. Its a great way for us to have some additional income on top of simply selling feeder calves. It is also a win for the families who we sell to because they are able to know exactly where their meat was sourced. It truly is a win-win for both producer and consumer.

Well yesterday was harvest day for these calves. We loaded them up on a trailer and hauled them to the local butcher. This is always sort of bittersweet day for us. I’m happy to see the fruits of our labors come to pass. However, I’ve undoubtedly formed a bond with these animals. Every morning and evening they have met me at their feed bunks to get their meals. It helps me truly appreciate the food chain and what God has provided for us.

As I made the drive to and from the butcher, I reflected on this process. It may seem macabre to folks unfamiliar with this type of situation. It may seem a bit cruel to those who do not participate in agriculture to be a provider for these animals for the last months of their lives then take them to be slaughtered. I’ll admit, there are times when I have to stop and question the morality and ethics of my model. But, I’m soon reminded of the Circle of Life and the verses that were written in Genesis regarding such a situation.

” And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. 2And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. 3Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.4But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. 

I’m also comforted by the words offered by one of my heroes, Dr. Temple Grandin regarding use of animals for meat. ” “I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we’ve got to do it right. We’ve got to give those animals a decent life and we’ve got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect.”

I believe we’ve given these animals a good life. They were well cared for, well fed, and comfortable. They spent 90 percent of their lives on grass. Even when they were fed grain, they were turned into a paddock with lush grass. I’m happy that I provided them a place to live out their days. I’m also happy that I am able to help folks who I know and love feed their own families.

So to close, yes I am proud to feed animals for future harvest. I am aware that there are some who find my practices unethical. There are even those who find my methods of grain finishing unethical and even unhealthy. That’s ok. I actually welcome discussions with these people and hope that even though we disagree, we may find some common ground.

With that being said, I hope you will join in on this discussion. How do you feel about the ethics of eating meat? Is it something that you feel is sustainable in the years to come? Do you feel that it is unethical to convert a living, breathing animal to meat for human consumption? I have my own opinions on this topic and would love to hear viewpoints from all angles. So, please, share those viewpoints with me in the form of a comment below, a comment on facebook, an email, private Facebook message, or any other way you want to reach me. No matter the your take on this topic, I truly appreciate you taking the time to read this blog. Please subscribe to my blog and also share it with anyone who you think may enjoy it!!

Jason

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