Growing up on a dairy farm, we've always raised our own beef and at times, pork. I've never felt a sadness eating these animals because I know they lived a great life. They get a very high quality diet (how many people can say that a nutritionist took samples on all components of their food to make sure each daily meal is healthy and balanced?) And they basically get to wander around as they please all day (they are in a spacious barn with their friends, other cows, doing as they please all day). Even their sleeping quarters are built with maximum comfort in mind (Martin and my dad just recently spent an entire day driving around to area farms and comparing cow mattresses to decide what would be best to put in the new barn being built this summer).
We know that as Aubrey and Sylvia grow up on the farm, they will also learn to appreciate the animals for what they provide to us and also to appreciate what we are able to provide the animals. There is a lot of information (both positive and negative) on this topic that you can read out there, but if you're looking for my opinion, I've never met a farmer who didn't treat their animals with respect. I've never met a farmer who thought of their farm as a factory. And the fact of the matter is that over 96 percent of farms in the United States are family operated enterprises. Over 96 percent of the farms are people just like my family raising and caring for animals to the best of their ability.
We've most recently started in on our newest animal endeavor...Chickens! Aubrey got eight meat chickens for Easter that we will raise for the next few months until they are large enough to eat.....and then we will celebrate their life with a big party (probably at the lake) and a chicken barbeque. We are hoping Aubrey will understand the chicken's life when this time comes, but for now we're just enjoying playing with the little guys. Aubrey loves to hold them and pet their wings and it's really incredible how much they've grown just in the last two weeks!
And if you're wondering why the chickens are caged in - we've had some issues when I was growing up with animals killing our chickens (once a wild dog and another time a weasel) so we're trying to keep them as safe as possible.