Saturday, January 19, 2013

When Farming and Personal Ethics Clash

What do you do?
Here's an issue...I am selling our sheep. We have realized that these are not the type of sheep we want and we are trying to pare down our animals before we move.
I sold one ewe this morning. The buyer plans to butcher her. When he and his brother picked her up, they caught her quickly---with barely any distress to the animal---quickly and efficiently tied her up and gently placed her in the back of their pick up truck. The buyer told me he was going to fatten her up for a week or two before butchering her. I asked him how he planned to kill her and he told me he would be using a bolt gun as it caused the animal the least amount of pain.
I'm okay with that.
Another buyer---that is well known in this area---has called about the other two sheep. He kills his animals by bleeding them out---slowly---due to his cultural/religious beliefs. I find this offensive and unnecessarily cruel. They are hung by their back legs before they are bled. It can take up to a half hour or longer.
I know, I know, dead is dead, regardless of how it happens.
But something in me absolutely cringes at that barbaric method.
I raise my animals with love and respect and care. The ones we butcher, we dispatch quickly, with as little pain and distress possible.
I need to sell these sheep.
But I am balking at selling them to this guy.
I have until tomorrow morning to decide (that's when he will call back).
What do you think?


  1. I think you're balking because you don't want to do this. You aren't moving in the next week or so are you? Take your time. Shoot, lots of people will be interested in your sheep.
    Follow your heart,hun. In the end that is what matters the most.

  2. My motto is always "Don't do it if I think I'll regret it later."

    If you're going to regret it, trust God to send someone else your way for the sheep. Up to you either way I'd say.

  3. You know, I read this post last night almost as soon as you posted it and have been trying to think of what I'd do or what to tell you....and I'm still not certain.

    If you have time, I guess I'd try to wait until someone else wanted to buy the sheep, but if time is of utmost importance, then I think I'd just suck it up to being a homesteader and one of those things, however unfortunate or unpleasant, just have to get done.

  4. A good death is important. For us and for them. Unless you are starving then the human comes first but until then...hold out for the right buyer. I sell lots of our animals to ethical buyers on Facebook. At least I hope they are ethical.

  5. tough one! you have to ask yourself how long the "cringe" factor will last and if it is worth it to you for a quick sale. Life is hard. good luck with your decision, your friend always , the rat

  6. I say follow your heart. You have to be able to look yourself in the mirror.

    My interest in hunting and raising meat animals came from a trip to a slaughter house. At that young age I knew I could do better. Grandpa was a butcher and was more than happy to teach the basics of his craft.

  7. I would never sell one of my animals to a person I knew would treat it inhumanely...including its method of death. I'd find a way to hang onto it until it could be sold to someone whose methods I agreed with.

  8. I think one of the many reasons people raise their own animals for food is because they don't like how mass produced animals are treated, and don't want to be participate in the inhumane treatment of other living beings.

    If I were you and didn't have the time, money, or inclination to hold onto these sheep until I found a better buyer, I would butcher them myself and keep the meat. That way, you have meat, you save money, the animal doesn't suffer, and people whose beliefs tell them to torture animals will have to look elsewhere.

    I do hope this situation works out for you.


  9. Slitting the jugular is a very humane way to kill an animal. Done right it feels no pain or distress. I don't understand why he'd hang them before they are dead. That might make things neater for the human, but it doesn't sound humane. I don't know the ins and outs of halal. With kosher the whole point is that we don't want the animal being afraid, so I would think hanging the animal before it is dead would defeat the purpose.


Because of a couple of rude people that left comments that included links to porn pages and such, I have been forced to start moderating comments again.