Harvesting Animals Humanely

| 3/31/2016 10:00:00 AM

Tags: harvesting, raising livestock, slaughtering, butchering, Sean and Monica Mitzel, Idaho,


Harvesting animals is not our favorite part of homesteading but it is a necessary part, and we think the aspect of harvesting, processing, slaughtering or butchering — whatever you want to call it — provides the deepest connection with the land. It is the thing that makes homesteading the most real.

Reasons for Processing Animals on the Homestead

We raise and process our own animals for many reasons. First, we know how they were raised. We abhor the commercial system of chemical cocktails and confined animal feeding operations (CAFO).

We reject the idea that commercial operations are required to feed the world. Our animals are given lots of space and are either paddock shifted or free ranged. Depending on the animal, they are either grass based or non-GMO fed. Our ruminants are raised on browse, grass and hay in the winter. Our chickens, ducks and turkeys are given non-GMO feed and encouraged to forage heavily. Our pigs, are fed non-GMO feed and they are rotated in large pasture/forested paddocks and given the freedom to root and forage.

Second, the meat is healthier. We know what they are fed and more importantly what they are not fed and not injected with. Third, butchering is an almost forgotten skill for the average person and it is a great skill to know how to do that connects us with our heritage. Fourth, we process our own animals because we appreciate our food more. We savor our meals because we know everything about where they came from and the work that went into putting food on the table. What a gift to give to children. Our children appreciate the food they eat and as we give thanks for our daily bread we often talk about what went into putting it on the table.

Finally, we are not dependent on the grocery store. If disruption comes for whatever reason, and the shelves go bare, we will still be able to eat.

4/19/2016 3:26:28 PM

Excellent article. While showing how to harvest livestock in a humane and professional manner; it is still hard.

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