Pig harvest: The ugly side of farming?
I've heard it called "the ugly side of farming." The part where animals, that you've raised, are killed for food. And I'd have to agree, the process isn't pretty by conventional standards. But, is it ugly?
We brought the black pig and the pink pig onto our farm with the intention of raising them for food. There was never any debate about whether or not we would eat them, it was when.
We fed them twice a day, hauled them fresh water and provided them with acres of forest and pasture to root in. They never once knew what it was like to be locked in a cage or to not be able to root in the dirt because of rings put in their noses. In short, these pigs have led a wonderful life. And we have enjoyed them, too. But we never lost site of why they are here.
The fact of the matter is, we eat meat.
As meat-eaters, is it better to go to the supermarket and purchase pork chops or bacon that, more than likely, came from a factory farm, where pigs are crammed into confinement, constantly under stress? Or is it better to raise your own food? I'm happy to say that the largest stress our pigs have ever had is getting breakfast an hour late because we slept in. And boy did we hear about it.
And the day of our first pig harvest? Well even that was pretty stress-free. We took the black pig and the pink pig to a place by themselves where they were very quickly put away. It was important for us to have an on-farm kill so that up until the last second of our pig's lives they were calm. I'm not going to lie, I cried.
When we started The Farmstead we did so with a very intentional purpose. You can read more about it on Our Farm's page but in short, we started our farm to feed ourselves and our community without sacrificing the respect we have for all animals. And so yes, we are eating an animal we raised. But I can promise you this, we will use every last bit of our pigs, not just the highly desirable middle meats, either as food for us or for Turkish and Cleo.
When I think of going out in the field with the handsome man, hauling pig feed, working side by side as a family, maybe even stealing a smooch under a big tall tree I think about how raising our own food has made us stronger.
When I think about how one pig will be able to feed us for months and months I am reminded that raising our own food has made us more self-sufficient.
And when I think about every single thing that went in their mouths, because I know how they were raised, I know that raising our own food has made us healthier.
It's hard to call that ugly...and I just might be so bold as to call it beautiful.