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Not quite vegetarian yet - ?'s to ask Small farm

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi Ladies!
I finished the book Slaughterhouse this week. censored.gif uhoh3.gifbawling.gif


Ok, that's better.


As I've shared before, we have been in the process of switching to a much more vegetarian diet, and trying to incorporate vegan meals.

I am trying to be flexible and ease us in to healthier eating.


Last month I did purchase 3 pounds of meat.

We buy it from a local, organic grass fed, small farm. It's very small, and the animals are cared for well.  The price is quite decent in the summer months during farmers market.


I must be upfront (though I do not wish to be inflammatory) and say that I have no ethical dilemma about eating humanely grown and cared for animals on occasion.


But..now I am thinking of the slaughtering aspect. In the past, when meat is marked "Kosher" I've always ASSumed it was humanely slaughtered.


I don't want to make the same mistake in assuming that small farm = humanely slaughtered.


Can any one help me think of some questions to ask this small farm owners about the slaughtering process?


This whole thing might be moot - I think I am done with eating meat and these vegetarian black bean burgers I made were a real hit with the kids. But, just in case...


Thank you in advance!!

post #2 of 7

Have you ever read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer? I really loved that book (even though it made me sick and pissed off.) I learned a lot too, like "free range" really means nothing, they just have to have access to a door, not that the door even has to be open. Even at the "humane raised" places that can slaughter on site (I believe it depends on the state and that in some states, even organic free range has to be sent to a USDA slaughterhouse facility?) sometimes the "stun gun" doesn't work, the cows still moan on their way in (I believe they can smell the blood and know their fate.) Just because they can't speak to us, does not make them worthy of pain and suffering. I can't support any of it. I just can't.  I look at my dog and I can't picture anyone stunning her, or her hanging by her feet, or being skinned. She has a personality. She knows danger, fear, loyalty. I believe they all do. Especially because it's not necessary and there are so many other options. I have only been a vegan for two years but in that two years I have not gotten sick once, no colds, nothing. (Prior I was sick constantly.)  I have WAY more energy. I feel amazing. My hair and nails grow like mad. The act of choosing compassion with my fork 3x a day makes me feel good in the heart too which spills over into the rest of the life.

post #3 of 7
It's been a long time since I've read Eating Animals but I remember it being quite a good read. I think it's great that you're questioning this and are choosing to be mindful of every aspect of meat-eating. And kudos for making your own burgers smile.gif They sound yummy.

Does the farm do their own slaughtering or do they outsource? It might be a challenge to have your questions answered if they outsource. I would ask about age at which they're slaughtered - most don't have a chance to live a long life (ie close to their life expectancy) because the meat gets tougher as they age. I would ask about failure rates of stunning practices, how failures are addressed, and how they are confined/treated prior to slaughter. I would ask about the slaughterhouse if outsourced - volume of meat being processed, working conditions. Speed and poor working conditions leads to mistakes and also injury to workers.

I think it's a challenge to really know what's happening unless you raise and slaughter meat yourself. For that reason, I'm glad I have the option to be vegan.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you both so much for your replies. I'm ordering "Eating Animals" from the library today. :) I have to say that the desire to eat animals is gone in me, completely. My husband woke up today and said "Do we have any (turkey) spam?"

Me: "Nope."

DH: "Mm. Maybe any Canned corned beef hash?"

Me: "Nope. Sorry."

At this point  guilt really hit me strong. He works so hard and all he wants is some thing he was craving (unhealthy as it may be. Skinny husband... hmph)  :(

He fell back asleep. I knew from reading a lot of the vegan and vegetarian recipe books I've been looking at that the body kind of starts to detox from the flesh and cravings can really kick in.


So I dragged my butt in to the kitchen and sauteed some bruss. sprouts, onion, garlic, bell pepper, mushrooms, and slices of tofurkey sausage. Then I made him a kick butt omelette (we have our own chickens. Only 2 now, so eggs are a treat) and yes, added cheese.


He ate it and declared it the best omelette he ever ate and didn't mention (turk) spam or hash again.

It's tricky manuevering a family and meeting every ones wants/needs, but I think we're doing good. I don't think we will be needing to buy any meat after all. :)

I do see it becoming a full time job trying to please every one, but hopefully I'll be successful.

Still if any one reading this wants to comment on the original question further, it might be great for someone lurking or reading at a later date. :)

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Wedemire View Post

I think it's a challenge to really know what's happening unless you raise and slaughter meat yourself. For that reason, I'm glad I have the option to be vegan.

Thank you Wedemire also. We do raise goats on our friends property. I haven't ate one. I think it would gross me out. We are lucky we have other options!!

post #6 of 7

Coming from an Animal Science background I can tell you that what "they" consider to be humane is really pretty sad.  The whole winding paths leading cows to slaughter designed by Temple Grandin as a way to use the natural curiosity of the cow to tempt them around the corner to see whats there....it's a pretty picture but no mention of how they can't go back bc there are a hundered other cows behind them and at the rear is either someone with a gate or a stun gun to move them all forward.  I had to dissect a chicken for one class - did you know that electrocution is an acceptable means of killing chickens?!  The professor walked in, took a double wire with a roach clip to the beak and one to the vent (butthole), plugged into a standard 110v outlet, one massive cluck and the thing hit the floor.  I had to walk out of the room, it was so disturbing! 


That said I do still eat meat (old habits die hard) but I do try to carefully select my sources, and am slowly working towards less (was never a huge meatt eater, more of a carb-a-holic lol).  It took me months to eat chicken after that class though, and to this day, unless it's super duper battered, fried, slathered in marinade or otherwise unrecognizable I can't deal with the smell...so I don't do ckicken much, just lots of eggs.  Thankfully I have one die hard vegan friend who shares recipies that I can try out (we are a dairy free house) and so far I've been able to sneak a few things past DH's radar.  He's by far the tougher one to crack.  I first need to get him off gluten and keep him off (without cheating!!) for other issues before I can "deprive him" of meat, so careful sourcing is my best option for now. 

post #7 of 7

My dad raises beef for family/friends.  He slaughters on-site.  He is very caring towards his herd; I have no ethical issue eating his meat--however from a health standpoint we rarely eat meat anymore.  At least when we eat it, we know where it comes from and how it was treated.  


This is what I have learned.  My dad's butcher used to come to his place with a mobile unit.  He would kill the animal, do whatever he needed to do right away, and take the animal (etc) away for processing.  However, my dad noticed that the herd got nervous when the butcher's truck pulled up.  He didn't want his cow to be upset before it died, so he started a new procedure.  The butcher calls on his way.  My dad goes out and does the "bullet in the head" to kill the cow.  The rest of the herd is separated into a lower field.  Within minutes of the kill, the butcher is there to finish things up.  Dad feels much better about this because no one from the herd gets agitated. 


If I were asking a farmer about his procedures, I would be straight up.  Do you butcher on-site?  What method?  Could I watch?  (Don't flame me--I am not saying that you really want to watch!  However, if it is done in a humane way, there really isn't anything horrifying (at least, not in the kill).  It might be a way to judge how much care is really taken for the animal's well being.  If the farmer says "sure"--he is probably taking measures to be humane.)



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