I read a very interesting blog today from blogger Shreve Stockton. I actually get an e-mail from the author every day because she has raised a coyote from puppy hood. I thoroughly enjoy the pictures of him everyday. Her blog post In Defense of the Family Rancher really made me reflect on why I do what I do and why I eat meat.
This time of year and living on the cusp of the grasslands, I see calves born every day. I pass through a ranchers farm every morning. Last week he was plowing paths through the snow in the big field and I knew that he would be bringing the cows down shortly to calve. It’s closer to his house and barn in case anything goes wrong. These are free range grass-fed cattle. Farther down the road there are cows everywhere. This is reserve land and the aboriginals leave their cattle out all year. Again they are free range, grass-fed.
I don’t buy my meat from any of these farmers as I prefer buffalo and usually buy one every year. I just find the meat tastier, with less fat.
The ranch I buy from is owned by a couple from Switzerland. I know they love their animals. We are welcome at the farm anytime. There is nothing cuter that buffalo calves. One animal is enough to feed us for a year and to share with friends. We supplement it with venison (in trade, no shooting for me), free range chickens, ducks, wild turkey and trout (available all year, if you like ice fishing).
I could easily be a vegetarian. I have learned that you are a lot happier if you eat something living everyday, fresh picked from the garden. I am addicted to farmers markets.
What really gave me a passion for meat was Sophie, the pig. Her life was changed when she fell out of a truck on to the road in the city. The driver must not have noticed as she was left stunned on the pavement. A passing motorist picked her up and took her to the SPCA. They had no where for her so they knew that we had acreage and a barn, (we had already taken a family of goats, seized due to cruelty) so they brought her up to our little farm and dropped her off. They then left a phone message to say she was there. What a surprise when we go home. She fit it in well with the goats and the barn rabbit, so we kept her. She was a Yorkshire pig. A friend said they liked raisins, so I fed her raisins every night on her dinner. She also like skim milk powder sprinkled on her dinner.
She severely chastised you if they were not forthcoming.
Sophie loved the barn rabbit Oreo. During the winter she would go into the barn at night and cover herself with straw. Oreo would cuddle up to her in her armpit. She loved to help you with your chores and stole your toque or your hammer every chance she got.
Sophie learned to do agility alongside the dogs. She learned to do weave poles by following my hand that had raisins in it. Just like the dogs.
Sophie grew to be 200 lbs. at two years old. Pigs are not pets. They get cranky and stubborn as they age. Pigs have their own expectations and Sophie wanted to be bred. She started to break boards on the barn and the fence.We were told it was time to butcher her. What an awful word.
It was a teary day when we sent Sophie off to the butcher. I cried buckets. We picked up the meat a week or so later. I wasn’t keen on eating it but what a terrible waste if I hadn’t. It was the best tasting pork ever.
Sophie lived her life well-loved.
Read the blog post. Know what you eat, who produced it and how they treated their animals. And I don’t just mean meat. It will be a better world.
You honor Sophie. I wish everyone was as thoughtful.