Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
We just simply tell them at least we know what went into our food and you can't say that about what you buy in the stores.
I think people imagine you have to be cold faced and blood thirsty to kill a helpless creature (even if it is for food). So, I always share with them the truth about my first experiences with slaughtering. How my hands were shaking, my heart was in my throat, and how I boo-hoo'd through it all. And how I prayed for strength. My first experience was something I had to do for the good of the chicken, she was in a lot of pain and miserable. I had raised chickens for 4 years before I ever had to kill one with my own bare hands (my husband always did the deed before when necessary). It helped to know during that moment that it was an act of mercy, even if it wasn't perfect. No farmer wakes up in the morning and says "I can't wait to slaughter!". It is a solemn and humbling act to kill another creature for food.
We raise rabbits too - which can really be a sticking point. What is more adorable than a fuzzy rabbit? But I always let them know that all of our animals are loved dearly and cared after, even those that we know are heading to the freezer. We get up at the crack of dawn with these animals and they can often be the last thing we see at the end of the day. They had sunshine, felt a breeze, took dust baths, sunbathed, had 1000 times more space to roam than their packaged peers in the supermarket, and ate every imaginable green from the garden (pesticide free). Their life was darn tootin' good!
I just shrug and say that I don't like living like a hypocrite and that my animals that I raise for food deserve the best life and death that I can give them...then I ask them who kills their meat? People who are ignorant enough to act like that also seem to be the type to be willfully ignorant of how their cellophane covered meats are raised and slaughtered...they simply just do not want to know that much about how their food got to the plate.
They also seem to entertain the idea that they must be more compassionate and tender-hearted than you simply because they shirk responsibility for what they eat.
Those kind of people really don't deserve an explanation. There are none so blind as those who choose not to see.
I just say "Really? I could never eat an animal that has never seen daylight, or had a breath of fresh air, or tasted a real bug. But, if you like your meat raised in a tiny cage, injected with hormones and fed "medicated" food, then ran through a machine to kill it and pluck it, have it cut up by someone you don't know and stuffed between styrofoam and cellophane, well, to each his own. I'm just not into the whole pink slime and arsenic marinated chicken thing. But hey, who am I to judge another persons food?""
The majority of the people who have asked me this make no bones about it that they are indeed being malicious and judgmental....the tone, the words used and the facial expressions, the head shaking, the overly sad eye movements, etc., say it all. Then they include how THEY could NEVER do such a thing....implying that they are somehow just more compassionate and kind than that. When you ask them how they can eat meats that have come from animals raised in misery and torturous conditions they state, "That's different."
Two women, in particular, that were co-workers of mine had relatives that owned battery and broiler houses....and still maintained that it was different and seemed to believe that what I was doing was less humane to animals.
Let me see....a life of freedom in the sunshine and fresh air, interacting with other chickens in normal social manner, a quick death at the place you were born and raised~OR~a short life of stifling, crowded madness filled with dead and dying flockmates and then being thrown and shoved into small crates like sardines and driven in 55 MPH winds, no matter the weather, to a processing plant for the gruesome machinery wrought death and sometimes being alive when worse things than death occur?
Yes, in my opinion, they are indeed being judgmental and it shows in every pore on their faces, drips from their very tongue. It makes me weary and impatient with ever trying to explain anything to people so woefully ignorant of truth.
That's a good way of doing it...you could even invite them over for feeding/collecting of eggs and such and let them watch your flock in action. You can also direct them to watch a few of the videos on YouTube about CAFOs or watch Food, Inc. to get some perspective on the foods they eat.
I loaned my DVD of Food, Inc. to one family and they couldn't watch it because it was "too disturbing"~acted like I was irresponsible for even suggesting their teenagers could view such disturbing scenes! And these folks have a beef cattle farm!
They chose to ignore that disturbing information and continue eating their cellophaned chicken and turkey meats. There really isn't much you can say to change some people...I've tried but have had absolutely zero effect. Of course, it doesn't help that the main agriculture in my area is big poultry CAFOs and the local poultry processing plants is a big employer in the area.
I also take the opportunity to remind people that God created these animals and made us stewards over them. They are not people, they do not have souls. We are called to treat them well and sanctioned by the Creator to eat them. It is not cruel to kill them. They are not leaving behind families that love them, they are not contemplating their death with sad thoughts, they live on instinct for the most part, and while they have personalities, that does not equate them with humans. If we treat them well while we are raising them and then kill them quickly, we are participating in a system designed by God.
Most definitely! Though I have found the people that ask these sorts of questions are fully convinced that animals have souls and will argue with you heatedly on that score...and I make it a point to not argue theology. Either they have the eyes and ears to see and hear it, or they do not. Most of the people who value animals over humans do not, I have found.
When ppl ask me that question, I just tell them to watch "Food Inc." and then follow by do you know where your grocery store meat comes from? I would rather grow my animals in such an environment that they can enjoy the life they have. In saying that I'm hoping that maybe just one person will watch it, and that that one person will maybe begin to understand. Sometimes that is all it takes and sometimes they call me a meat snob :)