Farming sounds romantic: the bucolic environment, the clucking of chickens and the smell of manure and soil. Certainly, there are aspects of farming that are romantic. There is the peace and quiet, the honesty of the work, the freedom of the day as well as the rituals of the chores. But farming, especially when the farm includes animals, is a reality that soon makes itself clear.
This week I will be slaughtering the first set of chickens as well as some roosters. And while I’ve done this before the act is never comfortable. Most of us eat meat, but most of us do not slaughter our own meat. This disconnect is clear for the farmer, and the disconnect soon becomes a cohesive whole as the day for the killing nears.
Killing an animal should never be easy, for any reason, even for food. But when one sets off to the country to be self-sufficient, killing to eat becomes a reality. Most hunters make this argument but I doubt that many of them kill simply to eat. Perhaps the hunt becomes separated from the killing; I’m not a hunter, and don’t see the point in it with few exceptions. But I eat meat, and that necessitates the act that I will soon partake in: killing animals.
I believe that there is an honesty in killing your own food, but that honesty comes at a price: we must look our meals in the eye while we put knife to throat. There is no easy way around this, at least any way that is honest. But the fact remains: if I cannot kill the animals that I have raised, I should not be eating meat. Peter Singer goes further with his concept of speciesism.
To raise animals for food is really a balancing act between morality and need, or perhaps desire: that I’ve not figured out yet. However, if we decide that we cannot kill our food but expect others to do it for us, we really should not be eating meat. I like bacon, and barbecued chicken and for those reasons I must do the deed and pay the price. Moral food has a price.