The Non-vegetarian Smallholder

We’re killing our first pig today. Having raised him from a small piglet, back in May, today is the day we complete the reason why we got him.

It seems to me to be fairly natural, especially as this is our first, to take a few moments to consider whether this is the right things for us; can we justify killing another animal so we can eat, and should we, in fact, be vegetarians?

We both enjoy eating and cooking meat, and certainly wouldn’t consider having a pig as a pet. But somehow it feels different now; eating meat from the supermarket, where you have no sight of the original animal, seems a lot easier than doing the deed to an animal you have raised, nurtured, shown how to use a wallow, rubbed sun-cream into his ears when it’s hot, fed, watered, and generally ensured he had a happy life.

We’ve made the decision that we are going to eat meat, and we want our meat to come from an animal that has led as natural a life as we are able to manage. Out of respect for the life that was given we will endeavour to make use of every part of Richard that we can. It’s with a sombre mood that we begin preparation for the day. It’s not an easy decision for us, eating our own livestock, but it’s better than buying from the supermarket.

I’m not going to post pictures of the kill; if you want to see a pig being butchered, we’ve already done that last year, so here is a celebration of the life of our food for the next year. The next few days will be spent butchering, curing and storing the meat, and we’ll post how we got on when we’re finished!

  2 comments for “The Non-vegetarian Smallholder

  1. November 17, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    I understand your reluctance and consideration on this, especially as you have ‘brought him up’ from a tiny piglet. I too eat and enjoy meat, so it would be hypocritical of me to condemn what you are doing, but I will be interested in your reaction during and after ‘the kill’. I take it you get a ‘pro’ in to do the deed?

    • Joe
      November 17, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      Hi Sally, now that it’s done I can definitely say that the run -up to the kill was the worst part for us. We were both anxious that his death should be as clean, painless and stress-free as possible for him. Once he was dead it was a different; we both agree that we no longer considered him to be the pig we knew, but was now simply meat, to be saved and processed as quickly as possible. So looking back I can say that the worry that he would feel pain or distress was the hardest part for us. Thankfully Stefan, the village gunman, is a true professional and always ensures a clean kill.

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