Having thoroughly digested Jamie Oliver’s campaign to save the bacon.  I checked out his YouTube site.  There were several excellent videos about chickens each discussing alternative industrial chicken rearing.  One discusses how a woman was hesitant to spend an extra $1.50 on a chicken reared in a more human way.

This got me thinking about public perceptions of farm raised foods.  I truly believe that we here in America are too far removed from our food sources.  Believe it or not, many school aged children cannot even identify what animal their meats come from.  They have no clue that hamburg is from a cow.  Some don’t realize that eggs can be anything other than white.  These children are too far removed from their food.  Sometimes in general conversation with some kids and even adults I’ll talk about my farm.  They ask why I have animals and I sometimes I tell them that I get my food from my animals.  Often when I say this I get looks of horror, they cannot separate cute animal = food.

Even with family and friends I’ve found their response to eating our meat to be surpising.  Some family refuse to even try it because they have seen “its brother” or know that it was one of the pigs that they could have seen.  They get an attachment to an animal and then refuse to eat it.  These people aren’t vegetarians.  They eat meat if it comes from the store.  They just don’t like seeing the face of a cute pig at the farm and then tuck into another pig for dinner.  Its the same thing with the chicken too.

It is my personal belief that if I am going to continue to eat meat (which I am) I would rather know that it was raised in a humane, healthy environment.  I want to know that it lives a life in which it can behave in a manner which is similar to how it would in nature.  The animals can express normal social behaviors.  Our pigs root and nest.  They have social hierarchies and individual temperaments.  I would prefer to eat an animal that I know has lived a content life.  How do I KNOW its content, well I can’t.  However, when my animals will choose to come to me and sit for a belly rub and not run away at the sight of me I know that they are comfortable.  I know that they were not hit, shocked or treated unkindly.  I also know that the conditions in many commercial pig farms is tremendously inhumane and I would not want my enemy to suffer through.

This is why when I eat a pig or a cow or a chicken from our or another local family farm I can feel comfortable.  I know where they came from, the way they were raised, I know the way they were treated.

I feel that it is more respectful of the life that was sacrificed if it is appreciated.  It is my belief that if I am going to enable creation of a life then that life deserves to be good; and when time comes to for that life to end, that meat better damn well be excellent and not mediocre or poor (the way we feel most typical store bought pork tates).  Ian and I both feel we should not be raising animals, producing mediocre meat just to gain a profit.  Its disrespectful if not cruel to that life. If I ever get that mindset, high production and low quality, kindly tell me to get out off the farm.

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