I appreciated the diversity of comments on my Turkey D-Day post. I didn’t expect such a response and wrote the post in a more light-hearted manner than some received it. After a day of butchering I thought it would be worth some reflections.
The first time I participated in the butchering process was with chickens that had gone through their productive cycle and were not going to be sold. I primarily eviscerated the birds after they had been scalded and plucked. This alone was an intense experience, but I did not participate in the actually killing of the birds.
Today I did participate in killing two of the turkeys. This is something I and everyone at the farm takes very seriously. It is an intense emotional experience to be with any living thing that passes from life to death much less being responsible for that passage. It is a holy moment and one that can be soul wrenching and difficult. I think if it were not difficult for someone, that person should also refrain from eating meat because of their lack of respect for the life of the animal.
I will say, I respect people who refuse to eat meat for a lot of different reasons. I also respect people who choose to eat meat, but are thoughtful about where it comes from, how it is raised and how much they eat. What I (and most of the people commenting) affirm is that there are a lot of problems with the majority of meat produced in this country and responding to these issues is important for a lot of reasons.
What I don’t affirm is that people hold their opinions and convictions with a self-righteousness that condemns anyone who disagrees. There is one volunteer on the farm who was very emotional. Seeing the process affirmed her conviction to remain vegetarian. I can affirm and respect her conviction. I also think if everyone who ate meat were more involved in the process of killing and butchering we would 1) consume a lot less meat and 2) have a lot more respect for the animals that we eat.
Regardless of your convictions about eating meat, I believe seeing and being part of the process is important. It will either strengthen the convictions you have or make you rethink the way you relate to your food. Either way, that’s a good thing. The problem is more about being detached from the source of our food than whether or not we eat meat.
Thanks again for all the comments and thoughts. Enjoy your Thanksgiving with or without meat!