I feel like a traitor!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by loanwizard, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. loanwizard

    loanwizard Chillin' With My Peeps

    The last couple of days have been tough on me friends. I raise pigs for my family and friends/customers. I understand that I raise them differently than institutions, and I tell myself that they have wonderful lives with 1 bad day.... but.... I raised them from when they were young, and when I hold out baked goods to coax them onto the trailer, they are only responding to what I have done with them from the beginning. I feel like a traitor. Worse yet, when we got to the processor last night, they didn't want to come off the trailer and who could blame them.... dozens of bawling animals in a strange place so far from home, lingering smells of the previous animals that had gone before.... I hunt, I fish, I kill and eat animals, but this time, when my treachery to them spells imminent death.... gives me pause, realizing the dominion we humans have over the lives of our charges. Yes, I will enjoy the fruits of my labor, but a part of me cries for my babies. Most remain nameless, but even so, when you have an animal that will take food from your hands, there is a measure of trust..... that I have broken.
  2. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2010
    Western Washington
    Maybe just do your own slaughtering in the future. Or hire a butcher that will come to you. Sounds like if you avoid that place it won't be as bad next time. It feels bad but you have also given them a better life than those other animals did.

    Hope you feel better soon. :hugs
  3. Marty1876

    Marty1876 Hi Everyone!

    loanwizard, I understand. I was farm raised, but I remember clearly how I felt when my bottle calves went into the stock trailer for that last trip. Or, scratched those sweet tame pigs heads, they were often from our own sows, as they were out in their pens playing with rocks and getting fattened up. I'm glad now that I was kind and sweet and friends with them all. I still pet and love up on all of our animals that will let us. Pigs like a good scratch, sheep and goats like a hand full of grain, bottle calves as friendly steers still like their horn(less) area scratched, and why shouldn't we give them that?

    Kobe beef in Japan, the most expensive in the world, is so expensive because the cows are giving loads of personal human time, and feed a well chosen diet. They get massages. They get petted and groomed. They are loving treated every day, and in the end their lives are stress free and happy until that finite moment. I find it better and more acceptable to me to do my own butchering. They deserve to be happy and stress free until then, and they will actually taste better for it. Now, pigs are a little touch that's true, so do consider a traveling butcher if the sound will be too much for you. They can be vocal.

    Let me add: Its more honorable to end their lives yourself, I find it hard to eat a life I was unwilling to end myself. I don't desearve it then. What you eat today walks and talks tomorrow.
  4. loanwizard

    loanwizard Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have considered butchering my own. Quite frankly I don't know how. I have a front end loader and a gun. I can buy the butcher knives... seems like a lot of work. Then, in my case, it comes down to the bacon, ham and sausage. I have never smoked or cured anything and don't trust myself to watch a youtube video.

    Which brings me to my final subject, customers. I wouldn't mind trying it for myself, but am not even sure of the legality of doing it for consumers.

    I suppose it is a progression.

    Thanks for the support.
  5. Marty1876

    Marty1876 Hi Everyone!

    In your case with customers, licensed butcher is required. At least you have a good reason for it. Don't feel guilty, but maybe next time make arrangements in advance to be the first one early in the morning. It's kind of like making sure you see the dentist very first. That way, you don't have to see the leaving patients, or listen to the drills in advance. Spare you, and them, the suffering of the visuals and fear and smell by being the first one of the day.
  6. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    Are there any other animal processors to choose from? I know in some areas a selection is limited.

    There are quite a few in my area, but I settled on one after seeing it firsthand, before we sent anything there. The FDA inspector was there when my father and I were checking it out, and he said it was always the most humane place each time he inspected. Calm and quiet, the animals are handled gently and with respect. The actual kill is done with the bolt to the head thing (except for bison, they actually need a bullet, they are too dangerous to get close to and their skulls are very thick). There were no sounds of stressed out animals bellowing or flailing in pens (and they're just gotten a lot of them, since it was just after a 4H auction, so many steers and hogs had been sent there). I mean, no place is perfect. I am sure an animal's sensitive nose could smell blood, but to my human nose it smelled clean (not even any stink of manure in the holding pens outside, they kept them very clean). Most of the cows and sheep were contentedly chowing down on hay, seemingly unaware of their fate.
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I had a hard time with our pigs this year, too. I've raised meat animals on and off all my life and know all the rules.............but still. They were penned in my garden area and I spent a lot of time around them during the summer and fall, and pigs are so darn personable it's hard not to get attached! My honey had intended us to butcher them ourselves, but his work hours increased (not complaining AT ALL) and it just wasn't feasible. On the one hand, I can see the argument to slaughter the animal yourself, but there's so much more to it than just the killing. Butchering is a lot of work and needs some good equipment. We have a great mobile slaughter truck here. I left as they pulled in.........too attached! Didn't want to even hear the shot............and went out a few days later and just a little blood spot left. Then, meat in the freezer and while I sure liked those pigs, boy do I love pork chops!
  8. ScottnLydia

    ScottnLydia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2011
    I understand your situation all too well. Currently I raise sheep, chickens and turkeys. I do all my own slaughter/butchering.

    When I was in High School I worked as an apprentice meat cutter, and I hunted too. Between the two, I figured out how to do the complete process, including the curing/smoking of hams and bacon. Over the years I've had pigs and a steer, too.

    As others have said, It honors the animal, and yourself, so much more to do the deed yourself. I saw a video of an African Bushman that killed an animal, and the first thing he did was thank it for sacrificing its life to feed his family. I later found out that Inuit people in Alaska do the same thing. When I started doing that as part of the ritual when bringing my sheep to the 'harvesting place', it was as if both they and I were at peace with what was about to happen. I never feel guilt as a result.

    They are never as frightened as when they get taken someplace else, and there is a difference in the meat as a result. No stress hormones.

    You can learn how to do many of the basic cuts on a pig from some good books. You would need a good, long bone saw, and a good boning knife. I would suggest just doing boneless loin/loin chops, less sawing. Take out the tenderloins, then saw off the ribs. The shoulders have no bony attachments, so they cut away with a knife. The belly meat is the bacon. Dis-joint the back legs for the hams, and saw off the 4 hocks. Some trimming on the rest will yield grind for sausage.

    www.sausagemaker.com has ready-made cures for hams and bacon, as well as instructions on how to smoke them. Sausage, too.

    To sell to customers, of course, you can not do it yourself. There are, however, a growing number of "mobile meat processors", I'm sure they go by different names, but they come to you and do the job. Some even do the complete cut on-site. Look into that.

    I know there is nothing cuter than a baby pig ( or in my case, a baby lamb), but when they are grown, it is time to fulfill their purpose!
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
    1 person likes this.

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