Sunday, September 5, 2010

Life really is worth living after all

I used to go to a play group when we lived in rural NC that was way out in the country where many people had produce farms, chickens, horses, cows, pigs, etc. A family I knew there now has a website for their farm where they raise chickens for eggs and to sell "chicken families" so others can have egg laying hens and a rooster if they want to continue their chicken family. The farm also has goats, sheep, ducks, and pigs. They sell lamb and goat meat. There's lots of information on the types of "meat" that can be gotten from goats such as "Cabrito [which] is meat from very young, milk fed goats between 4 and 8 weeks of age. The meat is tender, juicy and very lean and tasty at this age." So, that sounds anything but appetizing and just about made me tear up, which is the first time that has ever happened. Of course I find slaughtering of animals disgusting and awful, but at the same time I am aware that cultures in various locations around the world do not have the luxury of enough produce or grain to sustain them. And I grew up in a culture that finds meat extremely normal and "necessary." But, take Native Alaskans, for example, who follow the herd of deer for survival. I don't fault them this. I think the reason I came closest to tears in reading this website is that I've been to this farm. I saw the family's first "mama" goat and the goat's first twins. I know the location well. It's not some terrible factory farm somewhere far away. It's a family farm where kids (human kids as well as goat kids) "frolic" and play.
Then I kept reading and came across this paragraph:

"Goats are very intelligent animals. They really thrive on affection. They can easily be trained to do any number of things. Goats, especially little babies, are the epitome of cuteness. But, most of all, they are just a whole lot of fun! They have that spark that tells you that life really is worth living after all. If you have never seen a goat kid play and frolic in it's first year of life, you are definitely missing one of the best shows life has to offer!" (Italics my own emphasis)

Doesn't that sound like an argument AGAINST killing goats, especially "little babies?" I think so. It's the perfect example of the disconnect between caring for animals and "caring" for animals until you kill them or torture them by taking their lambs and young kids away and then milking them for your own use. AH! I'm one of those crazy vegan people! Only, I'm not. I'll not hang my head in shame, but it has been difficult for me to give up dairy in all forms and I recently desired and ate *eggs* and *salmon* and *crab* (though not together). Oh well, gotta move forward. I got the egg and fish craving out of my system and the crab was not as enjoyable as I'd hoped it would be, though the salmon cake was awesome. As for dairy, ice cream, half n half (away from home in coffee) and cheese are my weaknesses. I know vegans who just stop. If you want to stop, you stop, they say. But it's tough, okay? It is.

In my first 6 months after swearing off cow and pork, I had beef hamburger 3 times. Then I was good. I gave up poultry without EVER looking back. But fish has been a bit more difficult craving-wise and dairy is so prominent it's socially easier to keep eating it. Tonight's dinner was enjoyable, but had a fair amount of cheese.

Maybe I need a mantra. I know it's healthier to not consume dairy, but that knowledge is not enough to propel me to stop. I need to think about where it comes from, not just what it does to my digestive tract (and thighs). hmmm..... I'll have to think of a good mantra.

Yesterday's dinner was ho hum. I didn't have brown sugar or lime for the samosas so they weren't my best batch. BUT, I did make Dreena's cookies using cashew butter and they were the best. Check out her site for pics. Mine looked similar but I made them smaller to last longer. Still they were made in the afternoon and gone by bedtime. They were super easy to make though, so I'll whip up another batch (a double batch) sometime soon.

This goat picture came from this website which if you look through the "about" section and "showcase" section you might very well chuckle as I did.


Organic Size Me said...

I enjoyed this post Lauren! It is so important for us to know where our food comes from. We got chickens this past spring and they have become so much a part of our lives that I can't imagine eating them (although their eggs are tasty). I plan on getting a goat in the spring. At first I was going to get a female, so we could have milk-but the more I think about it is it really fair for a baby to have to share milk with us (which would be generous of us compared to dairy farmer practices). As you know from my recent blog, I am trying dairy alternatives. It's a process-no pun intended (as I too love cheese), but it just makes sense when you think about the animals, the environmental impact and our health. I still want a goat to help manage the lawn and keep us entertained. But I think we'll leave the goat's milk for the baby goats :)

Liane said...

Wow. That's pretty disturbing about the little goats. They make you feel that life is really worth living? Sure it's disgusting to think about, but I've never really felt bad about the slaughter of animals for human consumption (except the first time I saw a veal farm and the way the cows were penned up)... but to think these people raise these goats like family and THEN slaughter them? Now that's disturbing.

Lauren M said...

There are many "organic," small farms that love their animals, but send them to a processor in order to sell meat. It's just strange to have known these people and their first animals. We'll be starting Farmer Boy soon, and Almonzo's family certainly harvested their own animals.