Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Could you kill to eat?

Posted by Rosie

One of the main things we wanted to do when we moved to France and had the space, was to rear our own animals to eat.  We get a butcher in the slaughter the sheep and pigs but we do the poultry ourselves (ducks, turkeys and chickens).  Yesterday and today it was the time for our 12 table chickens to take a one way journey to the freezer.  When people know that we slaughter our own birds it elicits a range of reactions from "How could you?" to "I couldn't do that but respect that you can" to "Could you show me how it's done!?".



What about you?  Could you kill something that you had raised and then eat it?  Obviously Simon and I can and maybe being brought up on a farm has something to do with this ... although Simon is from Bromley!  So why do we do it?  It's simple really.  We want to eat meat that tastes great and whose provenance we know.  We know that our birds have had a good life. We buy them from the market when they are about 5 weeks old, thus supporting a local business and feed them on wheat we buy from the local farmer - almost no food miles there then and supporting another local business.  When their time comes they have the shortest of journeys from their shed to where we slaughter them.  No long journey to an abattoir and the end comes with a swift breaking of their necks.

In comparison, we could go to the supermarket and buy a much cheaper chicken but what life would it have had?  Raised in a barn with no natural light?  Pumped full of growth hormones?  Transported miles to be slaughtered?

No thank you.

I mentioned taste earlier as well.  If you have never tasted a free range chicken then you have never really tasted chicken.  It is much more "meaty", with far more texture than a factory-produced bird and simply has a fantastic taste.  I would not now cook chicken unless home reared, preferably by ourselves.  In fairness you can easily buy farm reared chickens here in France (Poule Fermière is I think what they are called) but they are expensive.  A bird the size of those we produce will set you back the best part of 20€, possibly more.  So economics come into our decision too.  The chicks we buy cost 3.50€ and the feed is nowhere near 16.50€ per bird.

I certainly don't enjoy the act of slaughtering a bird ... but if we are to eat meat I would rather stick to my beliefs about how it should be reared and how it's end should come and if that is the case, then slaughter I must.

What are your thoughts on this?  Could you kill to eat?

ANIMALTALES


17 comments :

  1. We get our meat from a local butchers and the taste compared to supermarket bought is immense! I think I could kill something that we'd kept for food, for me it would be getting in the mindset from the off x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are exactly right about the mindset, Annie. Once the decision is made it is easier to action .... although I do always apologise to the animal first. Once the killing is done, then what was previously an animal, perhaps with a name and a character, is then simply a piece of meat. It is never something I enjoy doing but if we are to eat well as a family and know our meat has had a good life then it will have to be!

      Delete
  2. The tough bit is obviously getting to know the chickens and their personalities. I do know someone who decided they would hate their home reared livestock in order to be able to kill and eat it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tend not to get to know the chickens too well as individuals although one or two always "stand out" each year, usually for being escape artists or other such naughtiness. But knowing they are bought to be reared for meat certainly makes it easier when the time comes.

      Delete
  3. I've been a vegetarian since a little girl as I decided then that I couldn't forget the fact that what I was eating was once alive. School did a good job on their farm project and looking back I am glad to have made an informed choice. I think you are quite right though, the right attitude to eating meat, you know where it comes from. I am anthropomorphic about everything, even a fly - if I see a fly squirming in a puddle, I will fish it out. I am really am that bad so it's no wonder I am a veggie. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL - but I am glad you appreciate why we raise our own meat.

      Delete
  4. it's not easy but living in Tonga, this was a normal part of island life so I guess i kind of got used to it! I do care about animals but at the same time, we need to eat and it's part of the natural life cycle- i guess.

    Angela xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tonga - I had not realised this blog reached so far!! I can understand that if this sort of thing is all around you it is easier to get used to. Most people here in rural Normandy keep chickens, many for eggs and a good number for meat so what we do is completely acceptable.

      Delete
  5. I'm a hypocrite because theres no way I could harm any living thing, but I eat meat. I still struggle with the contradiction!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But at least you do not criticise us for killing our own meat, which some meat eaters have done.

      Delete
  6. My inlaws keep a small holding and rear their own sheep and cows. Their meat is slaughtered at an abbatoir but is pretty darn tasty. I don't eat lamb but love the beef I get from my Mother in Law. When we lived in the UK we would return home with a freezer load each visit.

    I don't actually enjoy the touch of meat at all but I love the taste so suck up having to prepare it (if my husband is round at cooking time he chops and preps meat for me) but yes if I had to prepare it start to finish then I would.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would rather not have to kill animals but because I enjoy eating meat and I want to know that the animals I eat had a good life then I need to raise and kill my own to achieve this.

      Delete
  7. I can probably "eat to kill" as long as we don't name them or see them as pets! I do understand why some people might be horrified... but hey, that's life! :) So good to finally link-up once again :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't think I could; I get far too emotionally attached; but I do agree that free range is indeed tastier. I didn't believe there'd be a difference until I bought some.

    ReplyDelete
  9. i personally wouldn't be able to kill an animal unless i was starving, but i would be able to rear them and have them killed for me

    ReplyDelete

I love receiving comments and I do read every one but if you are simply here to spam me with a link, guess what ... I won't publish it.