Our family’s position on sustainably eating meat is steeped in personal experience, daily trial and error of consuming and digesting that which we cooked and lovingly prepared for ourselves. Take note of the notion of love, because I’m going to return to it over and over again.
Our stance, further on, is that we are good-hearted people who are thoroughly grounded and spiritually very sensitive, at once.
Grounded in a literal sense, where we walk barefoot on the bare ground of our home, be it spring, summer, autumn or winter. In wind, rain, sunshine or frost. We are also grounded in a sense that we are steadfast, non-volatile, non-flighty and are calm adults – this is the way we raise our daughter to be as well. By the way, she is perhaps the most voracious meat eater of the three of us.
We also regard ourselves spiritually sensitive and awoken, in that we each have a well-rounded concept of life being eternal and death spawning new life. The three of us hold all manifestations of animate beings in equally high regard, respect them all the same and have formed rather acute senses to feel for their well-being.
You see, you wouldn’t hear us talk about life from a dualistic perspective. To us life is not a continuous dueling between good and evil, the worthy (to live) and the unworthy, the vegetable and the animal.
True life is much more nuanced and accommodating than what duality suggests. So are we.
Our family also happens to live in the four-season temperate climate zone, which in our case includes a good half a year or more of cool-to-cold temperatures. As you wouldn’t realistically attempt to convince Inuit people that they eat unhealthy amounts of animal fats and should instead provide for their calorie intake via seaweeds, try telling a fellow villager here to not cut their home-raised pig in freezing December and rather eat pickled vegetables alone. You get the irony.
But guess what: the two together taste great and are wonderfully nourishing in a complementary way.
It is our very personal experience that in cold weather, besides warm drinks and soup/broth juices, one also craves the heat providing proteins in solid meat and animal fats. The very nourishment that keeps you warm way past the tea in the thermos, hands down. A similar experience which happens on a cool winter night, because sleeping in an overheated bedroom is quite uncomfortable, I hope you can agree.
As beginner homesteaders we used to lovingly, albeit not very skillfully yet, raise animals: pigs, goats, ducks, turkeys, chickens.
At some point we either sold or lovingly ate them. Yes, following a process where pain to the animal consciously and conscientiously was minimized, we sacrificed them with their understanding, and ours, that their lives were now furthering our lives. Or that these beautiful and kind to our heart creatures now lived on in several other beings who can assure the surviving kin’s procreation and perpetuate their sheltered well-being, to experience a full and wholesome existence of sorts.
Along these same lines, ladies and gentlemen, responsible animal husbandry carries the following virtues, and many more, within a complex habitat-general environment-human society-animal relationship:
- First of all it chooses to raise breeds (hopefully prioritizing rare heritage breeds suited to the region) of animal species that are locally indigenous, not only historically naturalized there via human interactions, centuries before. This concept alone transmits harsh truths to the less conscious growers (and they are many) of sheep in the majority of the western-type countries or to those folks who speculated larger profits in raising ostriches just couple of villages away, here in northern Romania.
The reason for this is quite obvious: the given animal species has to be seamlessly integrable into the habitat as host.
- It regards animal welfare as its topmost priority, far outweighing human convenience. Not paradoxically, this also involves the resistance to treat the two- or four-legged animals as humans. We respect them the most, if we can meet their animal needs, so non-human needs. Therefore don’t cover pastured animals with blankets as coats. Also refrain altogether from mutilating them, including their tails, in attempt to prevent diseases. This perceived need is a sure sign that the particular animal species is not native in that habitat. Hungarian fois gras, just like its French equivalent may be a high-price commodity (as it sure is), yet as a conscientious Hungarian, I strongly urge everyone to never force-feed any animal, not only geese.
- Like us, human beings, animals have equal rights to clean air, clean drinking water, direct sunlight, the starry sky and exposure to any weather elements they choose, in the proportion of their liking. This should also include access to grounds that are in a large extent naturally self-cleaning in a regenerative way, needing little to no human energy input.
Which brings us to the only valid, by such standards, extensive, free-range rearing, that is sustainable at the same time, thanks to the constant following of nature’s feedback. Being very watchful to stay well within its carrying capacity, without signs of stress afflicted upon the sustaining habitat. It’s a delicate and dynamic balance of number and species of animals raised on a certain pasture.
This method of having the animals graze and forage, presupposes a sequential, periodic rotation of herds and flocks among the several grazing lands which are all located in the right order and the most optimal possible distance from one another, allowing for each paddock to regenerate sufficiently before the next group of grazers/foragers visit them.
One should also do best by not forcing animals into a stable curfew, so not running out of adequate food in the open in any season, including the snowy winter months (where such climate patterns exist).
- Responsible animal husbandry also makes sure that all animals enjoy moderate reproductive rates that do not jeopardize the animals’ good bodily strength, agility and immunity which free-ranging provides them with.
Milking animals, for instance, aren’t forced into a continuous chain of gestation and milk production. Poultry isn’t artificially stimulated into egg-laying beyond the birds’ seasonal instincts.
Such measures will assure even more robust health and increased longevity for the animals while their greater happiness, or satisfaction with life, is going to be guaranteed. This, in turn, translates into an energetically higher vibration, life-affirming, happier food for us humans. Couple this with love and compassionate care at harvest and in cooking, and one can easily see how, as a result, our own higher vibration and powerful longevity are to be expected as well.
- It goes without saying that responsible animal husbandry, when genuine, is always organic. Organics don’t stop, only start at ecological fodder crops, chemical residue-free drinking water and a healthy environment. Eco-consciousness continues, or rather extends into the spiritual realms as well.
Highly conscious growers treat the animals holistically, as a harmonious unity of body, soul and spirit. Animals are not to be psychologically mistreated, their dignity is not to be abused. As they are not bodily injured, they cannot be yelled at or verbally hurt with swearing.
- Veterinary healthcare must also be fully integrated into this high consciousness. Treatment practices, therapies ad treatment products are all naturopathic in character as well as gentle, non-intrusive in approach. Energy medicine and homeopathy are just two of the possible modalities.
Vaccines and allopathic medicines are excluded altogether.
We treat animals as we would like to be treated.
You see, when all of these principles are enacted in practice and regarded as second nature, animal rearing is like gardening. They starve without each other, starving us too, while causing environmental degradation, but the combination of the two is heaven on Earth.
Habitats outright flourish, soil fertility grows, the resilience of flora and fauna alike is ever greater, thanks to such a harmonious coexistence.
Shall we say, as a result, us humans can only come out as winners, happy, healthy children of this loving planet.
On an end note we wish to clarify, that diet, like religious creed, is something highly personal. In fact, it is individual in nature and we would never try to convince anyone to follow a certain diet. We also like to be treated the same in return.
Enjoy your next feast, on Thanksgiving, perhaps!