Wednesday, June 12, 2013

In Circles, I will not walk. . .The story of my life as Vegan, Vegetarian and Farmer

I spent almost 2 decades as a vegetarian.
I spent almost 2 decades as a vegetarian.
I am a former vegan. . .
I've been a farmer for just over a 1/4 that time.
I'll be honest, I'm still a vegetarian most of the time, and occasionally opt for a bit of seafood a few times a month. Personal preference.
I support small, sustainable farms and homesteads where animals are revered, cared for and used in the grand scheme of food and life.
I believe a natural circle exists, and when it is broken, all sorts of messes come about.
I once read a post on another page about the "Myth of Happy Farms."
Wow.
Was I ever that person? Did I ever think that way?
Surely not, I want to say, but then I am ashamed to admit. . .
I believe I was, I did feel that way. . .many years ago when I knew very little. . .about anything.
There is a belief, it seems, if a creature lives well and dies as a part of the food chain we have and have had for most of life on earth - the life lived was undervalued and unhappy, it was a wasted life with unfair ending. The vegan approach (I'm not vegan bashing if you're a realistic vegan - I wasn't when I spent my time as one) I see so often believes the animals - if they are used in the food choice. . .would have been better off to never have lived. I've witnessed that argument here on this page with vegans in the past.
It took me time to realize this. It has been a journey.
Let's be frank, we know the end goal of extreme animal rights activists is the absence of livestock. That isn't enough, though, horses being ridden or dogs working to protect herds of livestock. . . that has to end, as well. Cruel! Cruel! Pet cats have to go, as they need meat to survive. Cruel people with pet cats. They can't love those cats. They feed them meat. Meat from Animals, friends.
The absence. Let that sink it. For many pet 900lb hogs, 2,000lb bulls and massive herds of dairy goats, sheep and cows will never exist. So better to be extinct than to have a short life of pats, lots of grass and then feed someone?
Sure, that makes a great story.
A great plot in some bizarre si-fi film in an Alfred Hitchcock tale.
I wonder if they have stopped to consider that our lives eventually end, often tragically, painfully and never without some sadness (at THE VERY least) along the way, and surely that life was still worth living, even for a short time, theirs and ours. Lives have value even if they are short. Even if they are short and we know from the start they will be. We procreate knowing our own children will suffer loss, sadness and eventually die. We are here, they are here. . .for a season. This life is not forever here for me or cows or chickens. That is okay with me. I'm not sorry if it isn't okay with you, though.
To many vegans, it seems it is either forever or not at all. . .when it is convenient.
Who is to say the life of chicken that ends in 6 months after nothing but sunshine and free choice food and bugs on a farm was not worth having? Why does the life have to go until it is crippled and old, when the organs just fail out in the yard? Purpose avoided, of course. Why would a vegan assume the chicken was not happy with something verses everything? Who is to say if one raises beef cattle in a pasture based way with gentle handling, with all the grass one can hope for and head scratches that eventually ends humanely where the animal feeds a family. . .that it should never have been because it was shorter than old age might have played out? A short but pleasant life is apparently worthless
It is not, for me, ethical, to support cruelty during the lives of livestock. Factory farming results in day in and out cruelty. Not one bad moment. Only bad moments. But it is certainly a farce of a story to tell people there are no happy farms. . .that one cannot love what they farm.
The mere notion is out of my scope of reasoning. If you're on this page, you see how "unreasonable" I am, right?
You know we are not talking reason here with these folks, but instead. . .we are talking of misguided passion from folks.
But let me tell you. . .I've known very real sadness in animals and in humans, and the lives of those who found their way here and to other kind farms out there, either as dairy cows, goats, laying hens or meat rabbits or rescue horses. . .for however long they exist, know happiness. Of that, there is never a doubt for me. The radical, fanatical language of those with little purpose goes through and misses the mark. Those looking on small farms such as mine and seeing no happiness have truly never lived through anything that would give a much needed reality check. I'm thankful life handed be enough of true sadness to know happiness when I see it and appreciate it as such. Short lives, long lives. . .it is the quality of the time I have, the livestock has and we all have that has value.

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LUCAS FARM

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens

- Proverbs 27:23-27




"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."

- George Washington