food for thought

When we moved to Portugal we came with a lot of ideas about how we wanted to live, most of them are quite do-able and with a little bit of patience (well quite a lot actually), alot of stamina and a huge amount of spirit, not to mention tools and skills we’ve pretty much put in to practice most of our original ideas. Some have been successful, some not. But we keep plugging away, old ideas get replaced by slightly more realistic ones but the main principal hasn’t changed.

When we got our pigs the idea was to fatten them up on a large meadow which they would rotavate and fertilise and at the end of it we would also have meat. The reality of that wasn’t quite as simple. First of all they never really rooted around just lay around, they did fertilise but only in one place, they procreated alot which left us with unwanted piglets and lots of dead ones too (see previous piggy posts). The male was despatched last year and went towards supplying us with meat. The two females were despatched this morning, a little late as they were past their best and it’s already quite warm, but it was complicated.

I had been left in charge of the pigs whilst Rick got on with building the house, which is fair enough, but what I wasn’t expecting was my total inability to deal with getting rid of them and then eating them. I never ate any of the male (I didn’t like the taste) and I doubt very much I’ll be able to eat the females. It’s pathetic really, having always been a firm believer in “if you can’t kill it, you shouldn’t eat it” theory, well the truth is I got too attached. I’ve spoken to lots of people about this and am assured that it gets easier, but it still leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, so to speak, should I really be eating meat if I can’t kill? is it OK to be sentimental? is it OK to have got attached? will i ever get over it?

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4 Responses to food for thought

  1. I think what you guys are doing is amazing, and your decision to raise your own animals for meat, admirable. We are a vegetarian family and became vegetarian because when it came to the crunch and we were caring for animals (husband always said he wanted to raise animals for food) we simply couldn't do it and we too think 'if you can't kill it, you shouldn't eat it'. I think it just comes down to your own feelings and that is only for you to work out – I think the way you are raising animals to eat is the best and most natural way it can be, so it really is going to come down to your your 'feelings' about the actual act. Good luck in your pondering about this – I hope you reach a good place 🙂

  2. thanks Alice, I am in a minority in my household as Rick is very good at compartmentalising on this subject, he also loves his meat, we've both been vegetarian in the past so for me it's not beyond the realms of possibility. I would like to grow chickens for food eventually but need hubby to build a good solid house for the birds to go in and fencing etc. and that can't happen until he's built a house, so… I think it's important to ask yourself these questions, too many people don't, or maybe they do they just don't talk about it?

  3. Alice Griffin says:

    I think that sadly, most people bury their head in the sand. You don't need to think about where your chicken breast has come from when you buy it pre-packaged and prepared. We have been veggie now for more than three years and feel it is absolutely the right way for us… however, I always say that my biggest issue with meat-eating is that a large percentage of people eat meat without thinking about where it comes from… not only that, but they eat meat that is from an unhappy place 😦 I have total respect for those who can love and care for their animals and show respect for how they reach their plates. I am always amazed at how many children have no idea about where their meat comes from – they are being raised in total ignorance. Very sad in my opinion … the push nowadays is to show them how to grow vegetables, so why not meat? yada yada.

  4. Luise says:

    I have killed and eaten rabbits in the past and I find it much easier to kill something that small for food. A big pig that you live with for years, I don't think I could kill and eat. I also find it easier to go for animals that aren't “cozy” such as chickens (you just go around cuddling them as much as you might with your..ok… rabbit). So maybe next time try a smallish animal that reproduces and grows quickly, so you don't have time to get very attached?
    We want to have goats for milk some day and I'm still wondering if I'd be able to kill the excess billy kids and eat them. So I hope it's true what I have heard that if you groom and pet your goat a lot, she will “adopt” you and give milk longer, so you end up having to freshen her less frequently.

    On the subject of kids and meat: Our son is growing up with cats and when one catches a mouse, we call him and we all watch how the cat kills it and then eats it. He loves mice and thinks they are the cutest thing ever, but he also knows that they're cat food and resents them eating our root vegetables. Via that route, he also learned where the meat comes from and on the rare occasions that we eat meat, he asks what animal it's from and then decided if he wants to eat it or not. He's only three, so sometime his appetite is stronger than his mind and he'll just eat one of his grandma's sausages without questioning it, but he often asks and refuses. Or not.

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