On slaughtering a pig

This is the third time I’ve tried to sit down and write this post. Each time I’ve only managed three paragraphs before feeling like the whole thing was becoming a long screed that nobody would want to read. In an attempt to avoid that fate a third time, I’m going to try to make this brief.

I want to begin by saying that I respect people who decide not to eat meat, especially if they embrace their decision by avoiding fake meat products that are as far away from sustainable, real food as one can get. I, on the other hand, see no problem with killing and eating animals.

However, I believe that if you eat meat, you have decided to sustain your own life by taking that of another animal. If you make that choice, you should be willing to look your food in the face (literally) and participate in the taking of life that your decision has necessitated. If you can’t do that, than you are lying to yourself about who you are and what you are willing to do for your own sustenance and pleasure.

Because of this belief, combined with a desire to learn what it takes to slaughter and butcher an animal for food, I joined my brother-in-law, his father, and my father to harvest a pig last December. What I experienced was difficult, profound, satisfying, and grounding – so much so, that I did it again a month later (this time we butchered three pigs).

I’ll stop here, because otherwise I would go on about what this experience meant to me, how it challenged me, and what I plan to do along these lines in the future. For now, just let me encourage you to begin the journey to knowing your food. Find out where it comes from, who raises it, how it is raised and harvested. And think a little about what it means to put a piece of meat (or even a vegetable) in your mouth and turn it into fuel for your own life.

Our home-cured and -smoked ham.
Our home-cured and -smoked ham.

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