Updated: Oct 23, 2018
My new year’s resolution is to transition this blog into a more educational space.
I’ve been working on my series about labels for some time, and those will all come out in the first half of 2018. But first, I feel like we need to reconcile how we got here to begin with…
I’ve been asked, or y’all have commented on how we can raise animals just to consume them in a variety of ways… some tastefully, and some not so much:
“I don’t know how you can raise them and then take them to eat, that would be really hard for me, I don’t know if I could do it.”
“I’m super glad u post how much u love your animals and then post about killing your cows. Glad I won’t have to read about that cruelty anymore.”
“Doesn’t it make you sad?”
“How do you do it? I couldn’t do it, it’d be too hard once you raise them to eat them.”
We feel like this quote pretty much sums up our position on this matter:
Animals that we eat are raised for food in the most economical way possible, and the serious food producers do it in the most humane way possible. I think anyone who is a carnivore needs to understand that meat does not originally come in these neat little packages. – Julia Child
So how did we get here?
How is it that in one breath I can talk about how much we care about our livestock, only to turn around and take their life?
Why on God’s green earth would I play God’s role, and put something I care about on the literal and proverbial chopping block?
And how did we go from a place where we advocate for ‘no kill’ and then turn around and raise animals to consume them?
[For those of you that don’t know Hubster and I from pre-Gober Grass Fed Farms, we volunteered quite a bit fostering dogs with a no kill rescue in Dallas.]
It’s weird, but people used to ask me the same kinds of questions when we fostered dogs… “How can you do it,” “It’d be too hard once you get to know them to let them go,” “I couldn’t do it.” … I’ve literally heard all of the same things.
So, here goes…
You may have read that I (Wendy) grew up in a country setting, and part of it stems from the fact that I’m familiar with the circle of life.
One of my earliest memories was that of finding a little baby bird on the ground that had just hatched, but had fallen out of the nest. I remember that it was sunny, and that there were leaves on the ground. And within just a few seconds of finding it, I remember one of my dogs coming over and scooping it up, swallowing it in one swift gulp.
I was mortified…
I ran into the house, hysterical…
“SPUDS, SPUDS!” I cried “SPUDS ATE THE BABY BIRD!!!” And I sat on the stool in the kitchen pantry, sobbing like no sweet, innocent little girl had sobbed in the entire world before me. “THAT POOR INNOCENT LITTLE BABY BIRD! IT WAS JUST A BABY!”
And there, my mother explained to me, in very simple terms, with as much love but matter-of-factness as she could, how the world works.
I don’t even remember how old I was when that happened, but I do remember the feeling and the moment my childhood naivety was broken.
I choose to eat meat.
If you’re a vegetarian, or a vegan, I 100% respect your lifestyle choice. I am an omnivore, I choose to consume meat as a part of my diet. I am not going to apologize for that.
Do I think that we should ALL eat more vegetables in our diet? Yes. As a matter of fact, if people ate an appropriate amount of meat, fewer people would think how expensive appropriately raised meats cost. (More on this at a later date.)
As an omnivore, I have a choice…
I know something had to give its life every time I eat a hamburger. So, I can choose to consume animals that lived a respectfully treated life. Or I can choose to consume animals that were raised in deplorable conditions, and, well… we’ve all seen at least one of those YouTube videos.
You tell me which one you think is more appropriate…
Look, we all have our lots in life. We don’t carry the same burdens because we’re not capable of carrying the same burdens.
There are men and women today that haven’t seen their own families in months because they are overseas doing my bidding, because that’s a burden that I am not capable of carrying. There are people in this world that work with hospice patients, the poverty stricken, the homeless, the uneducated, the malnourished, the disabled, the (fill in your blank)… All of these people carry a burden.
My burden as a farmer is that I walk outside every single day, and care for and love an animal that I know is going to give the ultimate sacrifice so that I can have food on the table for the next year.
I feel the responsibility for my actions every single time I make the choice to put meat on my plate, every single time I take an order, and for every family we are able to provide for.
And the thing is, I do it, because I know the alternative.
… I know the consequences every time someone demands that low prices be the number one priority.
… I know the consequences when that final price comes at the expense of quality food or humanely raised livestock.
… And I know the consequences every time someone calls me cruel and is yet okay with purchasing dinosaur shaped nuggets at the grocery store or hitting up a drive through for a burger instead.
… And I know there are consequences to a plant based diet too.
We learned while we were fostering that there are many people that upon learning of these consequences would choose to live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
I’m not going to express an opinion here or there on this. IF you are going to live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, we 100% support you. IF you are going to choose to live an omnivorous lifestyle, we 100% support you.
However, if you are choosing a plant based diet, and you are eating industrially raised plants, you are supporting the same system that may have pushed you to eat plants in the first place. Slave labor, fertilizer runoff, and plant disease evolution in this system are, in our opinion, equally detrimental to our environment as a whole.
Our issue is not the player, it’s the game.
The only reason we raise livestock, and do not yet have a market garden are A-we’re just more familiar with livestock. And if you’re going to dump your life savings into something, you should probably go with what you know.
And B-we tried raising a garden, and our livestock ate it. Yep, our chickens and ducks consumed every single plant. We want to have a garden, and it’s in the works. But we have to figure out a way to have our garden and for us to be able to eat it too.
For us, this issue is not whether the farming of animals or plants is a moral thing to do, but rather, it’s about the unethical way the industrialized system goes about producing either of these products.
And we know you feel the same way, because I’ve heard all of these things a lot too:
There’s too much to worry about already to be so worried every time I take a bite.
How do I know the eggs I feed my kids are cruelty free, or the meat I feed them is safe, or their vegetables are free from toxic chemicals.
There’s so much conflicting information out there, I should be able to go to the farm and see the animals for myself, or pick my own vegetables.
I wish that I didn’t have to wonder where my food came from.
I wish I could trust what I’m reading on the label is the truth.
You already know you deserve better. All we’re here to do is help you exercise that choice.