Grappling with the Morality of Livestock Slaughter


| 11/29/2016 10:32:00 AM


bourbon red turkey after slaughter

I remember when we first got chickens; a relative of mine had been given more than she could handle, and was happy to gift us our own starter flock. We had a beautiful mix of Barred Plymouth Rocks, but a few Cornish crosses as well. Not fully understanding how rapidly the latter variety grew, we let them mature well beyond pullets, and as they grew, we noticed they became more and more unwieldy.

We had an aging flock of meat birds that weren’t really designed to live past their butcher date, and far too many roosters to our hens — it was time to cull. I remember how nervous I was — it was intimidating enough to care for something and work so hard to keep it alive, and it went against a lot of my instincts to do the opposite and methodically kill them.

I knew it was a necessary part of running a homestead, and I knew these animals were living a far better life than those in the factory farms that wound up on so many grocery store shelves, but it was still a heavy concept for me to get my head around.

After a lot of research, watching YouTube videos, and listening to podcasts, we finally set a plan in place and began. We weren’t very good at it at first, and we’re still learning faster, more effective ways to dispatch animals with as little pain and fear as possible, but we had to start somewhere.



If Slaughter Makes Us Sad, Is it Wrong?

A lot of people think that the unpleasantness of killing an animal is an indication of its immorality, that because it feels bad, it’s wrong, and it’s as simple as that. I can’t argue something as deep as the ethics of killing another living thing for survival, but I can say that that thought has certainly occurred to me before. If it’s this emotional, if it makes me this sad, is it wrong?

gpscruise
12/1/2016 2:39:13 PM

I think its extra hard because humans have no one above on the food chain. If we did (like the bear), it would make culling easier...






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