Recently someone who was considering purchasing meat from us asked the following question:
-“I know this is a sensitive question, but I'd like to know how (generally) the cows are killed. That is to say, are they calm at time of death; oblivious to what's about to happen; and killed instantly?
I know it's weird to ask, but it's important to me now. I don't really want to become a vegetarian, but I don't want to be a part of any prolonged suffering either!”
I am thankful that people are willing to ask the hard questions about where their food comes from and was happy to answer.
“That's a great question and I'm really glad you asked. I was a vegetarian for almost 20 years myself and appreciate your concern for animal welfare up to and including end of life. I only started eating meat again when we began raising it ourselves.-One of the big reasons we do not sell by the cut in stores is because we value the animal's experience and want the end of their life to be as peaceful as possible. All of the slaughtering is done here on the farm in the fields that they are grazing in. The truck uses a gun to put them down which renders them unconscious immediately, then cuts their jugular vein so they bleed out quickly. (The quick bleed out is important for quality meat.) The small family company that we use for the on farm slaughter are top notch professionals and are amazing shots. We butchered three cows with on Monday in a large field. They were able to pick out the cows we wanted to slaughter from the herd with one shot each. They had all three cows down in less than a minute and a half.
If we wanted to sell by the cut in the local stores or in restaurants, we would have to haul the live animals in a trailer to either Yelm, WA or Sandy OR to the USDA slaughter facility. While we do load stock into trailers a couple times a year to move from summer to winter pasture and back again, the long haul to these facilities for animals that are not used to transport is stressful for them and a big part of why we have chosen to sell our meat direct to families like you. If in the future, we decide to venture into that market, we would take the animals that are used to being handled on a frequent basis so the trip would be less stressful for them. For example, we have quite a few cows that the girls show in 4-H who are used to wearing a halter, being tied, riding in the trailer and going to new places.
Feel free to let me know if you'd like to chat further or have other questions. We really pride ourselves in our animal husbantry, the meats we produce and our stewardship of the lands we farm.”
I’m grateful for this customer and her willingness to ask uncomfortable questions. We are happy to tell people where their food comes from, how it was grown, how it was harvested and thankful to the animals we nurture and harvest that provide nourishment to many local families.