I will be writing here about killing our young goats so please stop reading now if you wish. There are no distressing photos. Only my thoughts around the issue.
In February I was offered our milking doe back by the lady who had been keeping her. She was overstocked with goats and needed a couple to go.
Let me tell you, I have always even struggled with the concept of eating our own chooks, though we will keep working towards this end. The sweet little goats took it to a whole 'nother level! They are so beautiful, have definite personalities and became very much a part of the place. I was determined not to become attached to them or to have much to do with them at all. They had other ideas! Because of their size, they could easily escape the fence and often did. They would be up near the house yard, frolicking and romping with the dogs, sheep and horse. We would often find ourselves laughing as we watched them play. Hubby jokingly called them Heckle and Jeckle a couple of times and the names stuck. Damn. Big mistake. Never name an animal that is destined for the pot.
We borrowed a trailer with a cage to transport them. I prepared the family emotionally for the parting and rang the lady to organise taking them back. I figured she would grow them on for a month or so before using them for the table. Imagine my shock when she told me they were still overstocked to the point that they had no room and they would kill them off the back of the trailer rather than have to rehouse them and do it later. It made perfect practical sense but OHHH......! I wasn't ready for this!
We decided Hubby would go alone. It would be too much for the children to witness the beloved kids being killed. And do you know, as much as I want to be tough and pragmatic about killing our own meat, I was very relieved not to go. I think I would have been extremely upset.
We weren't sure how we would catch them to put them in the trailer but those curious kids just jumped right in because they wanted to see what was going on! While it was very convenient, it kinda made it worse. They were so trusting of us. We said our goodbyes and watched Hubby drive away.
Hubby learned a lot by helping with the butchering. It was a great opportunity for him because we may want to butcher our own animals at some point. Our friends offered Hubby half a kid to bring home. That was an unexpected surprise! Am I happy about this or not? I'm not sure. How can I eat a meal of Heckle or Jeckle?!!
If you don't read here regularly, you may not know my philosophies and be wondering why I would be entertaining the idea. Well I am a meat eater. Pure and simple. I could choose to become vegetarian but I enjoy eating meat and believe it is good for my children and us. We don't eat a lot of meat and when I do, I like to know it's origins. I believe that by eating meat from the supermarkets (and sometimes even from the butchers) money is the bottom line, not the animal. Yes, it will hurt me to eat Heckle or Jeckle and I don't even know if I will be able to swallow that meal yet, but I know Heckle and Jeckle lived a good life, played, ate well, enjoyed the pleasure of space and the company of other goats. They died without stress and were respected till the very end.
You may not like my choice to eat meat but I hope you respect me for my efforts to do it ethically because, trust me, it is not easy. It takes time, effort and it's a huge psychological challenge but I would rather be realistic about where my meat comes from than the alternative. I don't waltz into a store and buy a neat and overpackaged portion of meat without a second thought for the animal or whether it lived a miserable life or died a stressful death. In my mind, if I can't confront what I am actually doing when I eat meat, I shouldn't have the right to eat it. It is an animal. That's the reality so many people conveniently choose to ignore. I have been honest with the children about it too. Although we had no expectation that we would be eating these particular kids, I don't want to hide the truth of it from them. If they are to be meat eaters, they need to know.
So thank you to our friends for your respectful handling of the animals we had come to know. Thank you Heckle. Thank you Jeckle. I feel sort of guilty but I am glad you lived a good life here and died a good death.