A Homesteader’s Dilemma

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Often when people think about trying to live a self-sustaining lifestyle; they think about all the positives; such as economic, personal development, a sense of satisfaction and emotional well-being. Occasionally the emotional part gets difficult when a person starts integrating animals into their plans; creating a dilemma for homesteaders.

The thought of gathering eggs or milking the family goat can sound like a slice of heaven right out of Little House On The Prairie, but what about the meat animals? Raising an animal from a tiny of ball of fur to a full grown adult with the sole purpose of slaughtering often causes inner turmoil in people; it is something that I have battled with personally; as well as others.

[quote_box_center]This morning, as I look out the window at a pasture quickly growing full of frolicking lambs, I am feeling very much that it might be wrong to eat meat, and that I might indeed be a very bad person for killing animals for a living – Bob Comis[/quote_box_center]

Usually the first of each type of animal we raise are always the hardest on me; whether it be pigs, turkeys, chickens or our new miniature Dexter cattle. I know it is going to be a rough day when their time is over with us; I will spend all day hanging out in the barn after I drop the boys off at the butcher’s.

I am slowly coming to terms with it all;  I can only try and raise them as humanely as possible while treating them with the utmost respect. In return they give me hours of amusement, affection and stress relief. You want to know a frugal way to save some money on counseling? Raise a pig, grab a bag of doughnuts and spend about 30 minutes a day with them. Within a week they’ll be sitting on your lap; waiting for a belly rub as you tell them all your troubles and fears.

I have been meaning to touch on this subject the past year ever since someone had asked me how I could raise my own animals with the intent of killing them. After trying to form the right words over several days; I finally gave up; deciding to try and tackle it at another time. Until I came across a comic created by James Nuanez several months ago. He was able to capture in a simple comic what I was trying to express into words, and his choice of subject matter was extremely personal for me. I had lost a turkey to fly strike due to my own lack of knowledge and it still weighs heavily on me.

I reached out to James and asked him what his inspiration was for the comic; I have read it a dozen times and I always take a different meaning away from it; a trait of a good story.

[quote_box_center]The primary inspiration for this comic was my experience living on a farm for a year. Prior to that, I had always lived in suburbs or cities, so I was very accustomed to the idea that food was a product, and not so much the idea that food came from life. So moving to a farm was quite an eye opening experience for me. While I was there I helped out with raising various livestock, and I took part in slaughtering turkeys. It had a huge effect on me, my view of animals, and my ideas about food. This comic was a way for me to continue working through these ideas and to try to continue the conversation.[/quote_box_center]

I inquired if I could share his comic and he graciously agreed. If you can relate to the story; head over to Jame’s blog and let him know.

Good luck in your journey.

© 2015 James Nuanez