Friday, March 07, 2008

The meat on your plate

Hello, I have just been born. I am a female lamb so if I grow well and make a good sheep it will be a few years before I am electrically stunned, hung on a hook and have my throat slit. My brothers have about eight months before that happens to them.

I live on an organic farm, so while I am alive my life will be about as good as it gets for a sheep. Sweet unfertilised grass, no medicines or vaccines, a pretty cool owner who does his best to keep my stress levels to a minimum. At least when I am killed my meat will be pure and sweet, as God intended it to be. Sure it will cost more for you to buy bits of me, but hey, it's worth it just to know that you are not supporting the multi-national chemical industry, and also to know that you are not polluting your body and the planet. Quite important - dontcha think!

Kind Regards

A N Other-Sheep

I can't believe these survived. We went out last night at 11.00 in terrible weather, and found this first timer ewe at the top of the field with her waters broken. We got all the sheep in and I caught her and put her in a pen. I felt to see if the lamb was in the correct postion - I could feel the feet, so we decided to come back in an hour. When I got back at 1.30 she had the tiniest pair of twins I've ever seen. They were alive and she was interested in them, but I couldn't face waiting to see if they drank, so I went back to bed. This morning there they were, very tiny but very alive.


  1. Oh for crissake that's not fair..
    Thank gawd I never eat lammie or grow those huge muttonchop sideburns.

    Had it not been for our distant ancestors scavenging meat on the African Savannah we would not have had enough protein to build these big brains. You don't see any Herbivores going to the Moon do you?

    That's all I've got.

  2. Tom.
    What is your answer to the claims about the negative impact on the environment of rearing livestock, given that the acreage given over to raising them and growing food to feed them might be better used to farm food for humans.
    Sorry to be serious, but you started it.
    Perhaps you can post a picture of your arse next time, to keep us laughing.

  3. I don't believe I've even had lamb since I was little. Mom used to cook it on Sundays once in a while.

    I prefer to take my chemicals straight up these days. :)

  4. donn - So it's down to the meat that we're so clever. I guess that should make the yanks the cleverest of them all - you sure about this theory?

    Vicus - Just have to record this moment - 'Vicus was serious on my blog!' - Grass fed organic meat is different - it's the acreage and energy growing the corn needed to rear industrial meat that is uneconomical and unsustainable. When I say 'industrial' that includes the vast majority of farms in the western world.

    And yes - I've been wondering how to get a laugh - you might be on to something there - a photo of my arse could do it!

    Pammy - Well, if you ever do decide to give lamb a try, make it organic OK.

  5. Sheep grazing, say on Welsh mountainsides, are using land that could not support any other crop. If vicus were Welsh, it's be leek cutlets or nothing.

  6. sweet (and tasty!)

  7. Wow, I was considering becoming a vegetarian, and you really helped me taking the decision. And believe me, I adore those delicious tasty tender crunchy lamb rimbs that you have with mint sauce over there. But looking that picture of that little cute lamb and her mom ... I would feel like a criminal.

    ((About chemicals and ecology, don't believe all the things they say. There are plenty of examples: biodiesel, reforestation, transgenics and so on. But that's too serious and you were looking for jokes, right?))

  8. Look Vicus, I've taken a lot of drugs today (something I suspect that may not be uncommon around these parts) so if my writing is not as fluent as it could be, there's no need to poke fun.

  9. I was merely doing what you asked me to do, Rev, keep your collar on.
    And yes, there is a need to poke fun.
    It is a basic human need.

  10. Serious questions. Is it possible for all farms to be organic, whether arable or livestock and if they were, would prices be more affordable? I would genuinely like to eat more organic food but when it comes down to it, an organic chicken breast or an organic apple are the same size as non-organic ones and the budget just doesn't run to it. It isn't a supply and demand question because undoubtedly the demand is there but it simply can't be met.

  11. Anonymous9/3/08 17:39

    *puts hands obnoxiously over ears*


  12. How do Vegetarians explain carnivorous plants ?

  13. awwww... sweet lamby... very important work you do Tom... this answers my questions for sure.

  14. Dave - Correct!

    Ziggi - Correct! (so I'm told)

    Leni - I'm good at doing SERIOUS. The thing is a lot of people like eating meat, and if it is farmed and produced properly it's good food.
    And I know what you mean about not believing everything we hear, but I am a convinced Luddite - if there is an answer to our ecological problems it is going to be in how we live, not in some crazy science fiction type development. That, I'm afraid, is all about making a few people rich, not about genuinely addressing the needs of the planet. (jeez, that is pretty serious - do I need therapy!)

    Vicus and Dave - ummm, I'm not smart enough to spot this grammatical stuff.

    Richard - OK, Right now organic food is more expensive to the consumer, but when you buy your £2.50 chicken you don't have to pay out of your pocket for the hidden costs of inorganic production, but someone does. The polluted water, the polluted air, the polluted land, the polluted people, the devastation and explotation of the third world, the devastation of the natural balance of nature, and so the list goes on. If you add up the cost of all that, it is clear that the cost to the planet of breaking nature's laws is way higher.
    I'm not for a minute thinking this will ever happen, so of course this is totally hypothetical, but if the whole planet was organic and local, then a sustainable food policy would be more than possible. Right now it is not in the interests of big business - their plan is that some crazy scientific solution is needed so we can continue to live in this crazy way. Weird food created in huge factories or on vast sterile plains. Why do we need that when God has designed such a great system already, that makes really tasty healthy food that is a joy to eat.
    PS When I say God, I don't mean some superior being that I have dreamt up - I mean the energy that keeps this whole show on the road.

    Fathorse - you are allowed five more years of lalalala then you have to start serious work ok.

    Donn - do they have to explain that? surely it's just nature, same as meat-eating people.

    Kindness - If I am honest Kindness, I am just some guy messing about trying to swing a few ideas in a direction I think is better. Hope I'm right!

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. You're good at doing serious, but you know, the subject doesn't allow joking too much.

    Thanks for making me discover what a luddite is. (Did you know that neoluddites are totally against computer science and technology? Take care, they might remove your blog from the net).

    Btw, the twins are just cute. I hope they behave and grow up soon.


  17. I love the twins! I have been tempted to get some sheep (when we've had too much grass) but now I haven't got enough! Do you graze your sheep and horses together? and,

    Do you eat your own sheep?

  18. Hi Ziggi, we try to graze the sheep after the horses. It tidies up the ground and helps control parasitic worms. They kind of clean up for each other.
    I don't personally eat them - I have been a veggie for too long to start eating meat again, but if I did eat meat I would eat them, yes.

  19. Tom are you going to Sarah W demo at the end of March?

  20. Tom, this is good and I like a nice sensible discussion and please don't misunderstand, I'm all for organic production but I can see the same problems whatever the actual system is and it just begs more questions. How does that lovely organic food get to market and how do the customers get there without doing the same damage to the environment? There are only so many trees you can keep planting to offset carbon emissions without using up production land and not addressing some other problems such as alternative transport/fuels. If you exploit foreign countries for land then you're adding in even more food miles and cargo ships are an incredibly inefficient means of transportation from an environmental point of view. Having said that, a large part of Afghanistan could be turned over to cereals instead of their current crop and that would go a long way toward solving a few world problems.

    The cost factor is still there, regardless of the sentiment. If folk can't afford it, they won't buy it and ideology will only stretch so far when family economics are bound in.

    We've never had a global population this size before, farming of whatever type to service it is always going to be problematical.

  21. Ziggi - no, that's miles away from us!

    Richard - Interesting point, and I know I tend to be a little idealistic and unrealistic sometimes.
    I am not sure it can ever happen, but I think we have to start to think about how we live, in a very different way. We have to get beyond this idea that happiness is somehow linked to wealth, and that progress is measured by economic performance. As individuals we are a microcosm of a similar situation - do we live our lives by these measures. If we do then we are probably not helping things at all.
    We have to swing things back to a situation where the way we spend our time is relevant to our lives - where we don't sell our lives to someone else for money. OK, I can already hear you saying, 'dream on' etc, but it has to start somewhere. This what we are doing now is not a very efficient way of running the planet - it's not working well for a whole lot of people.
    But before all this, we have to work out what we want from our lives. If we are convinced we need luxurious consumer goods and that they are our right and so on, then Yes, you are right, it will never happen, but if we decide we will aim for a low energy life style, then we can begin to move in the right direction.
    Right now China and India are convinced that they need material wealth. Here in the west we have had that wealth for a while, and it is clear it makes no difference to the quality of life that we enjoy. Maybe our society is ready to move on to the next phase - maybe it's time to accept that what we need now is relevance in what we do.
    Hope this is making sense - what I am trying to say is maybe you're right, it doesn't stack up with the way things are, but it would work no problem if we change our values a bit.

  22. My god you made me cry, too. I'll never have another gyro again for as long as I live.

    So, Lord Tennisanyone, your hypothesis is that without the consumption of meat we would have never evolved large brains? Look at what is happening to modern man who scarfs down a Big Mac or a Whopper on a daily basis. Nuff said.

    I support Vicus' view that we need to poke fun. Maybe not at Dave on the day that he is abusing drugs, but we do need it.

  23. Dissapeared into massive baby lamb boom? Take care.