"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

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Q&A #3 Vegetarians and other garden pests

Q: Why are you not a vegetarian?

Warning: If you are an emotional vegetarian type who cannot take criticism now is a good time to skip this post!

We are not vegetarian for a very simple reason. Human beings are an omnivore. Fact. Even the most cursory glance at our dentition, the length of our intestine, the balance of stomach acids, the number of stomachs we have and the efficiency of our overall digestive system proves beyond a doubt that human beings eat meat or at the very least meat proteins.
From a viewpoint of belief, I believe humans are just another animal on the surface of this planet. We do not live apart from nature despite the opinions of big business and government. As a human animal I will eat my natural diet insofar as is possible.
I freely admit I could live on milk product and eggs to meet these needs and this may sound all fluffy and happy to the new age types until you consider that a cow must have a calf to give milk and only hens lay eggs. If we were not to harm any animal and live this way we would soon be swamped by an excess of bulls and cockerels needing feed and space. Remember half the chicks hatched are cock birds and half the calves born are bull calves. Instead we give them a good life and grow them to maturity. They are then painlessly killed for meat.
The animals on our farm are also a vital part of the nutrient cycle. The dung from the various animals produces a valuable compost far richer than anything made from vegetable matter alone. A farm with no animals to supply this concentrated richness would be a poor affair indeed!

Q: But don't you become attached to your animals?

Of course we do! We very deliberately make sure we know each and every animal on the farm. We take great pains to hand tame them and ensure they have no fear of humans. They are treated with kindness and the utmost care to ensure they remain healthy and happy.
There are several very important reasons for this:
  1. We must know our food was raised and treated humanely. I believe this is a core requirement of our own humanity. To eat meat produced under cruel conditions is to condone those methods.
  2. When the time comes to kill an animal for meat it has no fear or apprehension anything is about to happen. It is comfortable and relaxed around humans and its death is absolutely painless and sudden. This is an absolute rule on our farm. 
  3. An animal treated with care and kindness produces better meat. If I am to put years of care and feeding into an animal, I want the best result possible.
Do I have feelings of regret when I have to kill a steer I have known for three years? Yes. However, this animal was given life, a good life, for this purpose and now the time has come.
 Finally a little note for vegetarians, especially vegans. Next time you want to lecture me on the evils of killing animals, please make sure you are not doing so while wearing leather shoes and a woolen jumper. If you do I shall treat you as the fool you are!

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