Friday, May 27, 2011

Eating only the animals that you kill

My take on Facebook creator's newest personal challenge

A friend sent me a link to a story about how Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg challenged himself to only eat animals that he has personally killed. Read the story at

I have to be honest here. As much as I am thankful for our modern agriculture systems and accessibility to food, I think this is a great way to learn respect for where our food comes from. Animals are living beings, and they are giving their lives to sustain their consumers. Many people who do not raise their own livestock take that fact for granted.

My parents were far from being wealthy, so when I was growing up we raised rabbits, chickens and goats to help whittle down the grocery bill. Thankfully, we had a few acres to accomplish this on. My father was also an avid hunter; I’ve eaten deer, squirrel, groundhog, turtle, frog, and probably a few more species that were not divulged to me. Therefore most of the meat, eggs and milk came directly from our labors on our farm or from local wild animals.

While I can’t say that I WANT to watch the slaughter and cleaning of animals at this time in my life, I was a very watchful fan when I was younger. My daddy made sure that death came swiftly to reduce their suffering. I was also amazed at his skill in preparing the animals just before dinner time.

This experience allowed me to respect my food a great deal, and I am to the point where I want my children to have this experience as well. Therefore, we are now chicken farmers.

I will be sure to blog about this little endeavor we have undertaken in more detail soon, but I want my children to learn what it takes to care for and raise our food (Sure, I could have started a garden, but the only thing my land seems to grow well are rocks, weeds, trees and wild blackberries.)

Collecting the eggs will be the easy part, but I am still trying to convince my daughter that we should also eat most of the roosters, and eventually the older hens. She does not like that idea at all. I ask her how is it any different than eating a chicken that we bought at the store. She replies that we did not love those chickens. That is my point exactly!

I have eaten many “pets” in my life. While farmers generally do not like to name their livestock, I do not have a problem with it. It makes me feel that I have a relationship with the animal, encourages me to give it the best care, and then I say a prayer for it and to God before it becomes my next meal.

I recently asked my dad to show me how to slaughter and prepare a chicken. My grandmothers and great-grandmothers did it on a regular basis, so I should be able to as well. I am certain this will take my respect for our food animals to the highest level.

Killing your own meat may not be the right personal challenge for a lot of people, so my challenge to everyone is this: KNOW YOUR FOOD. Even if you don’t raise it or kill it, please think about its life and give thanks. Please also get to know the farmers in your area. You would be amazed at the level of care and respect that most farmers take in raising our food, which is also their food.

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