Friday, May 30, 2008

Harvesting Animals

Recently a blogger friend commented that she wondered how I could harvest my animals seeing how I was such a 'softie'. It is a very good question and something I have certainly wrestled with. My love and empathy for animals has at times felt at odds with our way of life and my love of meat. Ultimately, harvesting our animals is not something that I find particularly enjoyable. But since I find that my body seems to run a bit better on a diet with some meat I am glad that I can at least make sure that the animals that I harvest have a wonderful life.

Everyone who eats beef eats an animal that walked around and breathed air. I don't think everyone likes to think about it, but just because the meat comes shrink wrapped in a package doesn't change that fact. I wish everyone could look the animal in the eye that gives them sustenance. Or at least think about it. We would all eat less meat and we certainly wouldn't waste as much. I know this is true for me anyway. It feels sacrilegious to waste it. I value the animal's life more, not less. It really is kind of sacred.

In Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" she quotes Kahlil Gibran:
"When you kill a beast, say to him in your heart: By the same power that slays you, I too am slain, and I too shall be consumed. For the law that delivers you into my hand shall deliver me into a mightier hand. Your blood and my blood is naught but the sap that feeds the tree of heaven."


  1. TJ, thanks for taking on this subject. In my grandparent's day, living on the farm, they valued the animals that gave them sustenance. They couldn't go to the grocery store or to the fast food restaurant. They knew where the beef, chicken and lamb all came from for they fed, nurtured, cared for them, and eventually took their lives so that they and their families could live. Our responsibility is to treat them with care and respect in death as well as in life.



  2. Excellent post TJ. In this era of instant gratification, it is great to see someone who places such value on the animals, and allows them dignity at the end as well.

    That quote says it all.... thanks for posting it!


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