Mondays are normally my day off so I’m not around when the guys take the animals in for slaughter. Steve is out this week so I offered to come back early to help Ryan catch everyone.
It’s a strange feeling catching an animal to send it to its death. I am not used to it. Maybe it is because I don’t do it on a weekly basis, but I suspect it is something you never get used to.
The feeling is hard to explain. It’s not regret or guilt. The animals have been raised for this. I know we have done our best to give them a good life. It’s not just about keeping them healthy so we can make money from them. We care for and love these animals. They are precious. They make Wyebrook what it is. If you took away the animals, you could still have a butcher shop, market and restaurant here, but it wouldn’t be the same. The animals give it personality.
Sending one to the slaughterhouse is unsettling. Disquieting is a good word. Few people have experienced looking into the eyes of an animal they know they will later eat. Most meat processors do their best to keep customers from facing their food. A package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts at the grocery store bear no resemblance to an actual chicken. It’s easy to forget that it was once a living, breathing creature.
But it was. And I don’t think that’s something we should forget. I don’t think we should be so separated from the real source of our food. Burgers don’t grow on trees. Sausage doesn’t magically appear on grocery store shelves. These products come from real animals.
Could you eat an animal you actually knew?