I hate taking my livestock to the butcher. I’m not sure there is any farmer that looks forward to the moment they have their animals that they have worked so hard to raise and spent so much time on loaded up ready to go to the butcher. This week we took our turkeys to the butcher and I was incredibly sad to see them go. Seriously, it always sucks.
I also know I am making a sound decision sending my livestock to butcher. Here is why. Many, many thousands of years ago, before we had domesticated animals humans had to hunt all of our food. Over time we have domesticated a large number of animals starting with dogs, then cats domesticated themselves (because we all know that cats don’t do anything on anyone’s terms but their own) and on to livestock and other animals. The one thing that all domesticated animals have in common is that they exist with humans in a mutually beneficial relationship. For dogs, this meant that the dogs and humans would work to protect each other and hunt. For cats this meant that humans would supply them food and shelter and in return they would kill the rodents that spread disease and destroyed food in ancient Egypt. For livestock, this means that we provide them with everything they need in life (food, water, shelter, healthcare, protection from predators, etc…) and in return they help us nourish our bodies. (Fun Fact: Chickens were originally domesticated for fighting!)
It is that simple. We help them and eventually they help us. In science they call this a symbiotic relationship, where both parties need the other to live. I am positive that I gave my animals the best life they could have in the time they are on my farm and I am incredibly thankful for the fact that I am able to nourish my family, myself, and my customers using those animals.