"We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and for each other. It is either that or continue merely to think and talk about changes that we are inviting catastrophe to make. The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependant on what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do."
—Wendell Berry

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Meet the family. Annabelle.

I would like you to meet one of the family, Annabelle the jersey cow.
Yes, she can be a bit cheeky.
Everything on our farm has a purpose. Most of the livestock will eventually become meat and so they come and go. Others like Anna and the laying hens are permanent residents and will see out their days as part of the family. Anna is milked for most of the year and generally yields an average of six litres in each milking. She is the source of all our dairy. Milk, cream, butter cheese and occasionally yoghourt of exceptional quality. I have sometimes been asked why we didn't go for a dual purpose (gives both milk and good beef calves too) breed? I answer that it is simply because jerseys give the best quality milk of any breed. Simple. Jersey or jersey cross heifers also have value as house cows and can make a nice profit occasionally. However, the bobby calves are not much chop for meat I will admit. They take quite a while to put on weight and can be a bit stroppy. They do make good sausages though.
Anna and this years calf Leopold at her feet.
In the background is Boris, who will be delicious!
Anna is very much part of the family. She has her moods but is generally a sweet natured lady of refined manners. She is quite intelligent and will come when called and obey a variety of commands if asked politely.
We also have Boris, pictured above, a Waygu cross Hereford steer. In a couple of years he will become a lot of exceptional quality meat. In the meanwhile he will live a good and happy life. We also have Emily, Annabelles heifer calf from last year and Leopold, Anna's bobby calf from this year. Emily will go to a nearby farm soon to work as a house cow.

Some people think it is cruel to talk about killing animals we know for meat. I believe that it is important for all of us, meaning all of society, to know where your food comes from and how it was raised. To desire to eat meat yet be unable to face the reality of its production is absolutely reprehensible. It is this head-in-the-sand attitude that has made battery farms and feedlots, the concentration death camps of the animal world, possible. It is these people who actually condone and encourage this behaviour from industry.
We can truthfully say we know exactly how each animal was raised and eventually killed. Our rule is simple-

 We will provide the best life possible for each animal here. It will be healthy and happy. It will live a natural life. Its death will be absolutely unexpected, sudden and painless. No exceptions to this rule are ever tolerated.

This is far from misty eyed sentimentalism. I believe it is a simple ethical requirement if I am going to kill another being for its meat. It is also the core of producing quality food. You will never get a good steak from a stressed animal that has been driven, yarded, loaded on a truck, transported hundreds of kilometres, unloaded, prodded up a ramp into a room reeking of blood and then killed having just seen the animal ahead experience the same fate. I have worked in a slaughterhouse. I have seen it first hand.
I'll tell you another thing.  In this country you can only buy the second grade meat. All the top quality stuff gets exported. If you want to eat really good Australian beef, go to Japan.

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