Home slaugh­ter

In the first part of a fea­ture se­ries on home slaugh­ter, Tim Tyne says the process is sur­pris­ingly easy and whole­some, and con­nects us with our food in a nat­u­ral way

Country Smallholding - - FEATURE NEW SERIES -

It strikes me as a lit­tle odd that home slaugh­ter of live­stock for do­mes­tic consumption can be such an emo­tive sub­ject amongst small­hold­ers. Af­ter all, peo­ple put so much ef­fort into giv­ing their an­i­mals the best care and at­ten­tion, a stress free and nat­u­ral life, and ev­ery­one loves to ex­tol the en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits of home pro­duced food due to its low food miles etc… and then what do they do? Shoo them into a trailer (a stress­ful enough ex­pe­ri­ence in it­self) and cart them off – many miles, in some cases – to spend the last mo­ments of their lives in a to­tally alien en­vi­ron­ment amongst peo­ple they don’t know. Not that there’s any­thing fun­da­men­tally wrong with the way live­stock are han­dled in an abat­toir, and com­mer­cially reared an­i­mals prob­a­bly take it all in their stride (hav­ing been used to be­ing herded in groups through han­dling pens and build­ings on a fairly reg­u­lar ba­sis any­way), but the av­er­age small­holder’s pig or sheep prob­a­bly finds it all a bit wor­ry­ing. The av­er­age small­holder prob­a­bly finds it a bit wor­ry­ing too, and this sen­ti­ment will com­mu­ni­cate through to the an­i­mal and ex­ac­er­bate an al­ready

tense sit­u­a­tion.

I ad­mit that if you’re plan­ning to sell any of the meat from your an­i­mals then you’ve got no choice but to go through with all this rig­ma­role, but where it’s des­tined solely for home consumption there is a bet­ter way: slaugh­ter the an­i­mal your­self, on the farm were it was bred and reared, in fa­mil­iar sur­round­ings and with sym­pa­thetic han­dling. In this way we really do know what we eat, how it lived, and how it died, and we can tuck into our Sun­day roast

with a clean con­science. The whole process is sur­pris­ingly easy, and whole­some, and con­nects us with our food in a way that very few peo­ple get the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence nowa­days.

The fruits of our labours: ba­con, ham and sausages from a home-killed pig.

Pluck­ing poul­try - an­other job for the young­sters!

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