After composing myself, I began to doubt myself, “Am I cut out for this?… Is this really the right lifestyle for me?”
I didn’t have to ponder this for very long. I know, deep down, that this homesteading life is the right one for me and my family. However, I did mull over these feelings for most of the day (you know, between making food, playing with kids, laundry, cleaning, etc.) and I concluded that my break down over having to end a life truly shows that I am meant to do this. I am a good farmer. It would have been concerning if I had not felt any grief over the situation.
All farmers with livestock will eventually have to deal with death. It comes with the territory and is ,undoubtedly, the worst part of this chosen field.
I don’t know how you do it, I could never eat the animals I raise.”
This (or similar) is a statement each and every farmer will hear once, if you are lucky, but more like 1,353,973 times… at least. Do people really think we don’t care? Like it’s easy for us to take the life of an animal we have raised for weeks, months, or even years? Sadly, yes, there are people who feel that way about me and my family.
If you are at all uncertain of our attachment, let me squash those concerns. We care about each and every animal we raise. Truly we do. This particular piglet was only at our home for 6 days and I still cried. Although days like yesterday are extremely few and far in between, slaughter day(s) aren’t any easier. We end their life as painlessly and quickly as possible and make sure our animals have a great life, short as it may be. Daily attention/care, quality food, clean water, good housing, plenty of pasture space… all of those things and more go into the quality care of our livestock. I am proud of our animals and I am proud of our homestead.
Just because we raise the animals we eat, doesn’t mean we love them any less. In fact, I believe we respect where our food comes from a heck of a lot more than those who just view their meat as a package from the store. We have a connection with the animals and we truly honor the sacrifice they make for us. Even our children, they know the animals we raise will eventually end up on our table but they love them just the same.
If you ever doubt the passion of a farmer, I hope you remember- farmers cry too.