In 2nd grade, my family raised our first two steers for butcher. Beef was a staple in my house and raising it ourselves was how we made it possible. Sending off an animal to butcher is not an easy process. Today, few of us have to raise our food for ourselves, so it can be hard to understand the process and what the animals go through.
When my sister first realized that the hamburger on her plate came from our pet cows, she threatened to become a vegetarian. That didn’t last long and our family have been meat-eaters for as long as I can remember. I made friends at my new high school by sharing bacon from the pig I had raised.
Deciding to eat animal meat is a difficult decision. When I was old enough to understand what I was doing, I asked a lot of questions. I had to decide for myself whether or not I was comfortable with killing the steers I loved so much.
Personally, I believe that animals are not equal to humans and that humans were built to eat animals. This is not everyone’s belief and I respect that. We all must decide what we believe to be moral and ethical.
Just because my steer is going to butcher does not mean I treat it differently. I make sure that I provide the highest quality of life for him. I feed him well, keep him from getting sick, and give him a good home.
Some people do not name their animals in fear of forming too close of a relationship with the animal. However, I like to name mine fun names like Justin Timbersteak and Ryan Meatcrest.
Sometimes, it’s just too difficult for me to send an animal to butcher. When this is the case, I either sell my steer to someone else who will be able to benefit from the animal, or I will allow my mom to send the steer to the butcher, but sell the meat to someone else.
I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to be a part of the food system and have been able to care for these great animals. Some decisions in life are not easy. What matters is that we have the choice to make those decisions.