All animals – and people – live and die. That is the basic fact of life. They can either die and provide nourishment to another or they die in vain. In Mother Nature, there is no such thing as humane slaughter. When a wolf or a coyote kills a rabbit or deer, the act is brutal. There is suffering. Mother Nature is brutal. She is graphic. I’d love to see some undercover video of that – or just check out National Geographic.
In farming, we harvest (kill) our animals in the most humane way possible to prevent stressing the animal. Not only is it the right thing to do, animals who are stressed at harvest can yield meat that is inedible. So a stressful slaughter would cost a farmer money. Not only do our morals encourage humane harvesting, economics encourage it too.
I’ve been able to witness animals be butchered by small local butchers and I have also seen the kill floor of a large beef processing company. I’ve heard some people worry that seeing an animal killed would make them a vegetarian. For me, it actually made me more comfortable with the process. It is calm, very quiet and quick.
Sometimes an animal dies as a result of sickness and never gets to be a part of the food chain. I absolutely hate to see animals die for no reason. An animal that dies from sickness provides no nourishment and has essentially died in vain. To me, these animals that die without a purpose are tragic. As farmers, we all work to prevent these deaths with no purpose. And yes, it hurts economically when an animal dies in vain too.
For people who are concerned about how meat is raised or animals slaughtered you have a few options. You can become a vegetarian or vegan or you can get to know a farmer. I’d encourage you to get to know the farmer. We are good people, doing the best we can by these animals.