Posted by Ranchero Admin | Posted in halal-meat | Posted on 09-02-2010
The following post was made public by an anonymous rancher from Montana
I wanted to address, as a rancher, some of the concerns that I have seen expressed from those who believe a goat, or any meat for that matter, is not to be eaten. There are two types of agriculture that exist in our country, the agricultural system of independent producers, and industrial agriculture. Many of us who raise livestock as independent producers are just as sickened as my vegetarian friends at the site of confined animal feeding operations, industrial slaughterhouses, and the other trappings of the corporate ag world. We have a different outlook, where happy animals are healthy animals, and where we must be careful stewards of our land, as it is what provides for us. I raise La Mancha/Boer crosses near the Yellowstone in Montana. We train some of our goats as pack animals that accompany us in the high mountains on backpacking trips, and others we sell to spend their lives grazing noxious weeds out of pastures. We sell others as horse companions, and still more as 4H animals. We also sell meat, and we eat some of the animals we raise.
Goats are wonderful for our land, and truly a pleasure to raise. The most difficult time of year is when it comes time to kill. I’m not sure if I can explain this in a way that anyone will understand, nor am I looking to change anyone’s mind. I respect the choices people make about what they eat and what kind of food system they want to support. I sell my animals on the hoof, and if someone wants meat I will then process it for them after they own it. Even though it is painful every time, I feel like I owe them the most humane end possible. This means they should die with dignity on the ranch that they were born to avoid the stress of shipping etc. It comes quickly and cleanly. Our animals never know fear, anxiety, or cruelty. I want to juxtapose this with the concentrated animal feeding operations and industrial slaughterhouses ( lets not go into detail, just read The Jungle, not much has changed). I am asking, I guess, that those who care about animal welfare, who still eat meat, and care about the environment support their local farmers and support policies that get more small farmers back on the land producing food in a sustainable way. As someone who eats meat, and someone who will keep eating meat, it seems to me that we all need to take a little more ownership over the food system we use. While its nice to get meat prepackaged in the store, it also provides for a fundamental disconnect from where our food comes from. Every time we eat meat, there was a profound sacrifice made that should be deeply appreciated. I hate seeing a half eaten fast food burger go in the garbage, as that demonstrates a complete lack of appreciation for what that animal gave up.
Well, I suppose I don’t need to inflict anymore ranch rants on you folks, but I sincerely hope that more thought goes into our buying choices. Buy grass fed beef instead of the cheapest stuff on the shelf. Buy free range chicken and pork instead of caged. And of course, buy your goat from a local farm or ranch, they deserve it. Remember, cheap meat is cheap for a reason. Buy local, and buy often! One more thing to ponder; if you’re not buying your veggies and grains from a farm with sustainable practices, you are contributing to as much killing as anyone. Pesticides, herbicides, and poor practices that satisfy the need for, lets say soy beans, are devastating rivers and wildlife. Nothing is black and white in this, we all have to start supporting sustainable ag.
And for the record, goat is the most delicious meat I’ve ever eaten. I would encourage everyone to give it a try.
Anonymous, you may find his post as a recommended read on The New York Times here.