THE BASICS OF DIY BUTCHERING
How to turn an alpaca into dinner.
Slaughtering animals is a touchy subject for many people and it was for me too. For years I avoided even watching animals being killed. However, we have a friend who showed me how to kill a sheep on our old block many years ago. He was so matter-of-fact and confident that he inspired me to try. The first one was the hardest, but since then I have learned to become proficient in killing, skinning and cleaning animals.
Make no mistake, death and killing are ugly and unpleasant, even obscene. For me, killing the animal is always the hard part. But once it is dead, it becomes a matter of turning it into something that can feed the family. It is a creative act and very satisfying, but never gratuitous. We are deeply respectful of the animal in death, as we are while it is living.
Some people say that they cannot kill an animal that is named. For Heather and me, it doesn't affect us one way or another. Each to his own.
There are always people out there with more finesse, but I really want to encourage you to try it. I did not grow up knowing how to kill and butcher animals, only learning when in my late twenties. If I can, you may be able to do so as well.
Once an animal is dead, it is about dismantling it, a bit like you might do with a motor. For alpacas, the skins are harder to remove than for sheep because there is less subcutaneous fat. This mean you have to use your knife more and there is a greater chance of damaging the pelt with knife cuts or cutting into the meat more than you may like to.
I wear gloves, several pairs during slaughter. That isn't because I am squeamish but to keep the meat as clean as I can.