“Hi Ho, Hi Ho, off to Freezer Camp we go…!” The sing song text came over after I told my friend, Jamie, that the roosters lost their jobs.
The landlords decided that the chickens should stay in their coop and modest enclosure from now on. The roosters’ jobs were to protect from predators, to sound the alarm should a hawk fly overhead, and to make babies. Once they all moved into snug quarters they decided their new jobs were to have sex and eat as much of the buffet as they could. Egg production declined, and food intake went up. The good looking fellows, I am afraid, had to be laid off.
I used to get so angry when I would read articles in Mother Earth News or other publications about how eating meat was actually better for the environment. Or studies that eating meat is actually good for you (I still wonder sometimes). I was a staunch supporter of no killing. We were vegan, and our children were vegan, and by golly our cats would have been vegan too if we could have found a way! We published vegan cookbooks and made fun of meat eaters and went to vegan restaurants and were never going to eat a chicken! Moving to the country changes one’s ideals a bit.
I noticed my country friends had animals they used for meat. These animals were raised in a happy go lucky place, fed what they were intended to be fed, and killed swiftly, usually without knowledge of the situation. These animals were not in a factory farm setting. They did not wallow in filth, in closed-in cages, eating dead animals and genetically modified foods, many never seeing the light of day. Abuse on the line of murder is common and that side of the meat eating industry is beyond devastating and morally way off base. But these animals were living a good life and were spared the atrocity of old age. My old chicken, Laverne, is the saddest to thing to watch. We could have done her a service by lopping her head off last year and could have put food on the table as a bonus.
I realized that the unending damage of mono-crops, especially soy, was going into a lot of my “healthier” meat alternatives. That big companies owned these seemingly peaceful veggie companies. Animals will be killed, just like people, in wars and in natural disasters, by our outlandish cars, by plowing fields for soy beans. The pastures and rolling plains dotted with cows could not be if we did not support the local rancher. Food closest to its source has to be far healthier than the unidentifiable ingredients on the packages lining the shelves of the health food store.
My goal is to provide as much food for our table as possible because I will know where it came from, who touched it, no chance of listeria or e-coli here! So, Christopher Robin and Owl (I really need to stop naming them!) will do their part on this farm. They snuck by the inspectors at the hatchery, pretended to be girls, came to live at our farm, had a marvelous time, and now will join freezer camp. Seems fair!
I am thankful that I can live around animals, give them a great life, and provide my own food. This is the good life.