How many times have you eaten a ham sandwich, or bacon and eggs, and thought about where your food came from? And I don't mean your refrigerator, your freezer, or the nearest fast food restaurant.
I'll admit, before I moved to the farm, I rarely did. I ran through the drive-thru at McDonald's and ordered my food without a care in the world (other than making sure they didn't put pickles on my burger.) But after raising five piglets up to market size, I see things from a totally different perspective.
Actually, it was when our chickens laid their first egg. That egg represented food raised right on my farm. It was the best egg I'd ever tasted. And anyone who's ever eaten truly farm fresh eggs will likely agree with me. And I'm not talking about those grocery store packaged eggs claiming to be cage free or free range. Don't believe the hype. Those chickens aren't really free.
Our chickens roam free. Just ask my neighbors. My hens are frequently found standing on their front porch, knocking on the door, looking for bread handouts, like the little beggars they are. Other than stale bread from next door, they eat grass, and bugs, and whatever else chickens eat in the wild. We give them a little grain to supplement (and to ensure they keep coming home) but they mostly forage for their food.
It's the same with the pigs. They forage in the field, living the good life. Oh, we give them food too--they've practically eaten everything there was in the pasture--but it's always healthy food. No candy for our pigs. I'm not sharing my chocolate with anyone.
Unlike factory farms where the animals are kept confined on concrete, our animals have free rein within the confines of the fence. And they've all been known to roam outside the lines. Basically, they're treated like family...sort of. I mean, I'm not in the practice of eating my family. And I'll admit, when we cooked up our first rooster, Clooney, I felt like I was on that TV show, Fear Factor. It was like I was eating a friend, or something. But by the time we had Napoleon for dinner, I was over it. He was the best pork roast I'd ever eaten.
So, I'm sure you're wondering what I'd say to the question, "How can you eat your pets?"
My answer is simple. I would never eat my pets. My dog is like my child, for crying out
loud. In fact, my kids would probably say I like the dog better. It's
not true. Well, mostly not true. Ok, it might be a little true. But that's only because the dog is home and the kids have their own lives. And the dog never talks back. Or asks for money. Or steals my last root beer.
As for the pigs? They drew first blood when they tried to eat me. After that, all bets were off.
Until the next time...I'll be fattening up the last two pigs.