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Getting to know your dinner. Personally.

Author: | posted 08/26/11 | Print This Post Print This Post |

Reggie Bacon, Our Pig

It’s one thing to play with your food. Quite another when it actually wants to play back.

For five weeks, I’m becoming an ersatz pig farmer. Which is to say that I’ve purchased a Hampshire piglet who will live out his remaining days at Gleason Ranch in Bodega. In late September, he will be slaughtered and eaten. Though the ranch’s owners, Nancy Prebilich and Cindy Holland, will do the brunt of the care-taking, I’ve paid for the pig’s upkeep, I’ll help with the slaughter and be a part of the butchering. Our family will also help with farm chores over several weekends and plan to build a new outdoor run for the piglets.

It’s my own experiment as a meat eater in getting as up-close and personal with my food as I possibly can. As squirmy and uncomfortable as the whole process promises to be, I’m all in. Here’s why…

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans eat, on average, about 51 pounds of pork per person per year. Though our porcine consumption is still considerably lower than beef (around 60 pounds) or chicken (82 pounds), that’s still a whole lot of sausage, bacon, pork chops and chicharrones.

To feed our demand, about 112 million pigs are slaughtered for food each year, according to the USDA. But how many of us have ever actually seen a pig up close, not to mention actually harvested (a nice name for slaughtering) one? Typically we’re more familiar with the end result — ham sandwiches and hot dogs — than we are with the animals that actually produce the meat. We proclaim our bacon fetishes on t-shirts and relish pulled-pork and ribs without a second thought to the fact that our dinner once was a living, breathing creature. It’s easy to remove yourself from the neatly processed slabs of meat in packages that show nary a trace of blood, hair or, well, life. In fact, many children don’t even know what kind of animal bacon comes from.

“I raised my daughter a vegetarian until she could tell me where the type of meat she wanted came from. Her first meat was bacon when she was 5; she knew she was eating pig,” said Kerry Hurley of Santa Rosa, who responded to the recent announcement of my edible intentions.

With that kind of disconnect, it’s also easy to take our food for granted. Like most of us, I throw away copious amounts of grocery store food that’s gone bad in my fridge without much guilt other than the financial impact. In fact, Americans toss more than 25 percent of the food we buy — about a pound a day for each of us, according to government studies. But the lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries and herbs I’ve grown in my own backyard? My family knows better than to waste a scrap; we are emotionally invested in it from seed to table.

And that connection is what I’m looking for with my pig.

Reggie's Litter Mates

The first step is actually coming face to face with my pig. Halfway to Bodega Bay, miles from much of anything but dairy farms and rolling hills, Nancy Prebilich runs a family-owned ranch that’s been in operation for more than 100 years. You may know her from her chickens, which chefs throughout Sonoma covet. But today, we’re heading out to the pig barn, which is more like a concrete bunker with a roof.

When the door swings open two things happen: The smell of pig feces hits my face like a fist. Then a 1,000-pound sow launches herself with surprising agility onto the half wall of her pen, two feet dangling over the side, and sounds the Squealarm — a terrifying cacophony of squeals, grunts and chomping that apparently means “Food is coming!” Within seconds, 17 of her barn mates join the deafening dinner call. Nearly all of them are up on their hind legs, sniffing and pawing at the air. These are animals who could easily crush my sad little human body with their tremendous girth. It doesn’t help that pigs are notoriously nearsighted and probably wouldn’t even notice me flailing beneath them. And it’s no secret that pigs are smart animals, so I know they’re paying close attention to our every move.

It’s a truly frightening moment for a pig newbie.

I quickly turn my attention to the end of the barn as Prebilich begins pouring feed to the adults. In the corner is a newly-weaned litter of piglets, about eight weeks old. These guys are more my speed, at about 30 pounds each. They’d merely knock me down and nip my ears if I fell in their pen. The most aggressive little tyke comes to the wall to sniff me, then brushes past his six siblings, pushing and playing in an obvious attempt to get my attention. Black, with a band of pink around his belly, I almost feel bad singling him out as my intended victim.

Many have warned me not to name him, a way to spare the pain of having to slaughter something that had become a pet.

“Don’t name them and tried not to get too attached. We raised rabbits, pigs and chickens when I was growing up and when I named them and bonded to them it was AWFUL when they were butchered. But if they were just generic animals, it wasn’t so bad,” said Megan Holt of Santa Rosa.

I ignored the advice. My little Hampshire is now named Reggie Bacon. He cost me $180.

In coming weeks, we plan to help out with Reggie’s care and get to know this hearty domestic breed that originally hails from Hampshire, England. Though not one of the more trendy heritage breeds (Red Wattle and Duroc are culinary darlings currently), I’m told he’ll be just as tasty, especially since we’re supplementing his feed with local Gravenstein apples and acorns. I feel secure in the knowledge that this pig will want for nothing and spend his days sunning, rooting and playing with his siblings. As a mobile butcher once told me, “These animals only have one bad day in their life.”

Regarding that day, we plan to end things as humanely as possible when he reaches about 60 pounds. Like the other pigs at Gleason Ranch, he has been bred for market. As a male, his die was cast at birth, as most males are eaten while many females are saved for breeding stock. To celebrate Reggie, local chef and educator Roger Praplan of La Gare will butcher the carcass at the Great Handcar Regatta on Sept. 25 during a demonstration. Every bit of the animal that can be used for food will be used.

It’s tough stuff, and my journey is just beginning. I’m confident that we’ll become attached to Reggie — in fact, my mother is already planning to organize a campaign to Save Reggie. Realistically, however, if we don’t eat him, someone else will. And that’s just a fact. The difference is that I plan to learn from and appreciate the sacrifice Reggie will make for us, not just think of him as another meal.

Comments have unfortunately gone past the point of rational discourse. The unfortunate reality is that I actually was paying a lot of attention to the passion and voices of folks who were making cogent statements about their views on veganism and animal compassion — until a few folks started going off the rails. Then everyone just goes away and it’s a few impassioned voices screaming in an empty room. It’s not a great way to make a point.

What I will say is that one of the folks from a local compassionate care group did start a dialogue with me. I have asked her and some vegans from her organization to meet with me for lunch next week (at a vegan restaurant). I hope to hear their side of this story and, if the discussion goes well, write about their group and their feelings as part of this ongoing story.

At this point, I am closing comments, I hope temporarily until the heat subsides a bit and people can begin to talk rather than scream. As ever, I applaud passion when tempered with reason. Let’s get back to that.

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104 Responses

  1. MIchael October 13, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    This video was the game changer for me and my family.

    http://www.meatvideo.com

  2. Davegan Raza September 3, 2011 at 3:49 am #

    Please explain to me how the process you have described above is any different from the process a pedophile uses when ‘grooming’ their victims?
    As for all of this ‘we’ve always done it’ and ‘top of the food chain’ justification. Seriously? Is that the best you can do?
    The choice to abstain from killing animals IS a choice worth respecting. Just as a choice to abstain from killing humans would be.
    The choice to kill and eat animals when all the nutrition you need is available from plant based sources is NOT a choice worthy of respect and only those that do it are deluded enough to think it is.

  3. Plush Cat September 3, 2011 at 12:52 am #

    Ask Your Doctor About Meat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_84ItZvU64&feature=player_embedded.

  4. Jim September 2, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    You want to know what’s it’s going to be like to slaughter Reggie?

    Animal Slaughter: Chef Chris Cosentino
    “I first harvested an animal—an adult goat and two kids—eight years ago,” explains Cosentino, using the politically correct term he adopted after being bombarded by haters. “It’s a whole mix of emotions—fear, hate, joy, awe—all the big ones. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, holding this baby goat in my arms and petting him until he died, trying to make him comfortable. Did I cry? Yes. Do I cry every time I harvest animals? Yes.” There is a slight catch in his voice. “I cry every time I talk about it.”

    There you have it, so why don’t you just let Reggie be and leave slaughtering to the pros. The reasons you list for wanting to do this really don’t justify your little experiment. I’m sure you can come up with a better way to drum up some publicity.

    • Nicole September 28, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

      There are so many points to take issue with. “His die was cast when he was born a male/ bred for human consumption”- not true. “if we don’t eat him then someone else will”- also not true. “he plans to learn from and appreciate the sacrifice Reggie will make for us”- Reggie did not give his consent to be sacrificed. The author and other farm workers admit they are disturbed and need to not become attached so they will still be able to murder the innocent creatures that trust them. Why not celebrate life instead of death and go vegan? Spread compassion by teaching nonviolence and respect for all creatures.

  5. Michael Davis September 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Heather, I am trying mightily to understand your logic, so I have to ask you: if you feel it is just to eat your pets (which is what Reggie had become), what is to keep you from justifying cannibalism? Are all species, including sentient species that have become members of our family, fair game to consume, except our own species?

  6. Callie F. September 2, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    I think Kathy, and a couple of others summed it up for me, so I’ll be brief. Well, I’ll Try. 1) The belief that human beings require animal flesh for optimal health is a myth. Many cultures thrived without any animal flesh, including documented cases of indigenous people who were known for good health and bone structure without consuming animal flesh. 2) There is no difference between eating a pig than eating your golden retriever – got the drift? 3) Don’t you think other species have the right to exist and enjoy their lives (because they do enjoy their lives), as we have the right to enjoy our lives? Or do you think other species are less than and you as a human being are more entitled? Entiled to what? Let me remind you, according to life on earth, when a tsunami hits, your life has as much worth as an ant or cow, or did you think you were going to some special place when you die ? 4) In addition, why do you think human beings are more entiled or even more intelligent when all the problems and destruction upon this earth is caused by the human race? 5) The fact that you think raising a pig or chicken or cow or whatever in a “nice way” only to eventually slaughter it, is “humane” is deluded. You just want to quench your appetite for animal flesh and justify it with the notion that your being humane. Get real.

  7. biteclub September 2, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    I want to point something really important out — too many folks are equating what I’m doing with factory farmed animals. You are missing the forest for the trees.

    We are actually on the SAME SIDE of finding the cruelty to animals in a factory farm setting untenable. I completely agree, and am in fact trying to shed a light on the importance of treating animals humanely during their lives. I was a vegetarian for several years in my teens, and had equally intractable feelings — so i get where people are coming from.

    As an adult, however, I made the decision to include animal protein in my diet. Mostly chicken and fish, pork a few times a week and beef on rare occasion (I actually don’t care much for lamb). I’ve tried to make good choices when my pocketbook allows, but will admit to eating my fair share of factory farmed meat when I’m not making good choices. I feel bad about that.

    And that’s the point of this story — to get to know my meat. I’m not glib about it. In fact, I’m trying to really dig deep and hear other voices and investigation my own. I respect the opinions of those who feel meat-eating is not a choice they would want to make. What I don’t respect are the ridiculous finger wagging folks who can’t make a coherent argument about meat eating and are anthropomorphizing Reggie. People, I read Charlotte’s Web too and having spent time with the pigs, I can tell you he’s no Wilbur. I respect the animal as an animal that I choose to eat for meat. He is not a pet.

    We are rare in the world in that we have the luxury of making animals companions rather than seeing them purely as potential calories. I am not interested in eating cats or dogs, this is about animals that have been raised for human consumption for years.

    Yes, I am a feeling individual and I am conflicted about the PERSONAL act of taking a life. I am not conflicted about eating meat. That is the journey here.

    Please continue the dialogue. I am inspired by people who want to @SaveReggie and applaud you. (THough I worry greatly he’ll go to some well-meaning animal hoarder who will not improve his situation). Just respect that this is a discussion where the goal is to learn from each other. Not to punch each other in the gut.

    • Plush Cat September 2, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

      biteclub, i get it – I understand you are not talking about factory farming. The fact of the matter is regardless of how and where the animals were raised most get sent to the same heinous slaughter houses. You did not specify who or how you intent to kill this living feeling creature. I am particularly disturbed though at some of the words and concepts you have misused. Humane slaughter is the same as humane murder. You cannot kill a being and then celebrate him or her. To raise an animal and then betray and kill him is deeply disturbing behavior. This desensitization is a pattern of behavior that can easily be transferred to how people treat other people.

      Lastly, “Vegans are often accused of anthropomorphizing. But that point of view is an example of the egregious error of ANTHROPOCENTRIZING–imagining, ludicrously, that ours is the only way of being sentient, that we are the only ones who feel pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow, anticipation and regret, that the world revolves around us, that we are the only beings who matter. That pseduo-scientific view is pernicious, transparent rationalization for persisting in evil.” – Robert D. Shepherd

      • Lisamarie September 3, 2011 at 2:16 am #

        To say getting acquainted with an animal only to betray him by taking part in his murder and dismemberment is deeply disturbing behavior is an understatment. This here is very PSYCHOPATHIC, downright scary behavior!

        And the author actually says they gave their 5 year old a piece of a dead pig once she knew where the “bacon” came from. This is downright child abuse, to teach a kid to be disconnected and have a disregard for the lives of certain beings–this is the very type of disconnect that paves the way for the way we treat other people, too! Shame on you! Not to mention all that fat and cholesterol you’re putting into that child’s body, potentially setting her up for child-onset diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and a host of other health problems!

    • Janet Weeks September 3, 2011 at 1:24 am #

      “As a mobile butcher once told me, ‘These animals only have one bad day in their life.’”

      Which day would that be for your darling Reggie? Would it be the day he was taken from his mother far too young, when he still craved her warmth and comfort? Or would it be the day someone chopped off his curly tail with blunt pliers without pain relief? Maybe it was the day someone “notched” his perfect ears, again without pain relief? Or the day someone took a sharp blade, sliced opened between his tiny legs, and ripped out his testicles, again without pain relief?

      Or maybe it will be the day when you slaughter him. Which part of that slaughter will you do? Will you be the one to “knock” him in the head with a stunbolt gun to render him insensible to pain? Or will you be the one to hoist him upside down to dangle by a hind leg? Or will you be the one with the sharp knife that slices his throat, though the windpipe, from ear to ear? Or will you simply hold the bucket to catch the blood draining from his writhing body?

      When it comes to “butchering,” which part will satisfy you the most? Hacking off and discarding his”useless” cloven hooves, his snout, his notched ears, or what’s left of his docked tail? Boiling and then scraping off his bristles? Disemboweling him? Or would you prefer slicing up his tender under belly for the strips of “bacon” you will fry. Or would you rather take the saw and hack though his bones, cut up his ribs, his “hams,” his “loin,” and his shoulders?

      Are you sure you can stomach any of it? You say “it’s tough stuff” and that you’ll be “attached to Reggie.” Your own mother is trying to save the pig you want to slaughter. Realistically, do you honestly believe that you’ve got to eat this particular pig, young Reggie, because if you don’t someone else will? He would not get eaten at Farm Sanctuary in Orland, California, or at Animal Place Sanctuary in Grass Valley, California. It’s not a fact at all that if you don’t eat him someone else will.

      Finally, spare us your delusions of false humility in suggesting that you will “learn from and appreciate the sacrifice Reggie will make” for you. As if Reggie has a choice. If he did have a choice, I can guarantee he would run for the hills before “sacrificing” his life for you. And that’s just a fact. No, this is no sacrifice on Reggie’s part–this is your own conscience trying to justify killing a sentient being for no good reason other than that you happen to like the taste of his flesh and, because you, as a speciesist human, mistakenly believe you have the right to kill and eat anyone you like. Play make believe all you want. Play tricks with your conscience all you like. The truth is, Reggie does not want or deserve to die and you’ve no right to kill him just because you think you “own” him.

      • Lisamarie September 3, 2011 at 2:09 am #

        Janet, you took the words I wanted to say right out of my mouth, only I think the words betray, torture, dismember and murder are more correct, don’t you? Thank you again for your well-spoken, eloquent words!

        And I’d also like to add that eating other beings is NOT a “personal choice”! When you make your “personal choice” do you ever ask the animal if you can enslave, exploit, torture, murder and eat him or her? What about the diseases you may get as a result of eating corpses and us taxpayers who have to pay your doctor and/or hospital bills? What about the damage that is done to the planet that we ALL live on by raising animals to be murdered and their body parts sold and eaten?

        And here the author of this sickening article has the gall to ask for “respect”? Tell you what–when you learn the meaning of respect and apply it to ALL living beings then we can talk, OK?

    • Rachel September 3, 2011 at 1:31 am #

      Have you heard of the movie called ‘Earthlings’ it is free on youtube (full length); you should watch it.. It is about factory farms and slaughterhouses. I understand that you don’t get your meat from there; but seeing the movie will show how animals are being mistreated. Also look up farm sanctuaries to see those pigs, chickens, cows, lambs, geese that have been recused.. they are beautiful beings.

    • trina September 6, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

      What ever the case, I think the fact that you put effort and much thought into this is to be said for. If more people showed more honesty and care into what ever they ingest, we’d have a healthier human race, physically and mentally. Everything we eat was once alive, and one can only hope it thrived. People put love and care into their gardens and have less of a hard time eating their vegetables, most likely because we are so far removed from ‘vegative’ life- we are mammals. Eating something that resembles closer to our own life brings things a little closer to home, hence the stronger feelings and debate that we all go through. Some would rather surpress the feelings, as these are difficult feelings to deal with. I commend you, Heather, for being honest with your feelings, difficult decisions, and willingness to explore and hear out ‘best’ practices.

  8. Gala Grant September 2, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    I applaud what you are doing. I’m sorry that so many people are harassing you with their own agendas. The comment about putting an apple and a rabbit in a crib is crazy, a baby wouldn’t eat either. If you gave a toddler an apple and a steak I think they would eat both. If we weren’t meant to eat meat, like rabbits, our bodies wouldn’t process them, like rabbits. I have been struggling for years with the factory farming issue, and just this month my husband and I have instituted a no factory farmed meat in our house. We are only buying direct from farms that are local, human, and grass feed their animals. It is more expensive, but just like my not shopping at Walmart, I feel that I need to support my ideals with my pocketbook. We will just eat less meat. Last night I had pork chops from Victorian Farmstead and they were the best I had ever had. I am blessed to live in a place that I can eat everything, meat and veggies locally, and that I have the means to do so. I think it is important to have more person understanding of where our food comes from, but to say that we weren’t meant to eat animals is a falsehood.

    • biteclub September 2, 2011 at 10:21 am #

      Thanks gala. I think you represent the vast majority of opinions of thinking individuals.

    • LindySez September 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

      Right on Gala…It’s about how we make our choices, not necessarily what we choose.

      For those of you who choose not to eat meat, go for it. Good for you. But it doesn’t make you any better then those of us who choose to eat meat, fish, and poultry. I applaud you Heather, for going through this exercise…AND just wait until Reggie becomes a large (and rather mean) pig…and he will, it’s in his nature.

      We, humans, are not at the bottom of the food chain, but in the wrong circumstances, I think there is an animal or two out there that would me more than willing to eat us.

      • Plush Cat September 2, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

        Lindysez you are wrong.

        Was an abolitionist better than a slave owner? Yes.

        Is a rapist worse than an upstanding citizen? Yes.

        Is a person who abstains from animal products (thus avoiding slavery, rape and murder) better than an omnivore (who pays for slavery, rape and murder)? YES.

        • Kate September 2, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

          @Plush — please don’t start labeling omnivores as supporters of slavery, rapists and murderers. I love vegetables, I love meat. Heather’s article is about being a responsible, aware consumer. Since you’re a vegetarian, I hope you buy ALL your vegetables from local, small farmers, or grow your own. And hurray for you if you do. Are you prepared to go on the bandwagon and vilify well-meaning, less financially-well off people who are trying to eat more vegetables — and have to buy their veggies at Safeway (therefore supporting monstrous industrial farms who treat their HUMAN workers like slaves, who poison the planet with their chemicals)?
          What about low-income urban folks who don’t live next to an organic grocery store or farm market and can’t/don’t spend their food stamps on organic veggies? Will you attack them and call them names because their veggies are coming from a planet-raping and worker-abusing industrial farm corporation rather than Susie’s Organic Carrot Farm? I hope you don’t start accusing them too.
          Calling someone a murderer because they occasionally eat consciously-raised meat does not move us forward in this conversation. I’m refraining from calling vegans derogatory, hurtful names, because I do believe most of them are well-meaning, sensitive and sincere people. I worry about some of my vegan friends who somehow seem to selectively ignore some basic facts about human biology and dietary needs, but they’re choosing their own paths and I respect them. I don’t call them names.

      • Rachel September 2, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

        Pig do not get mean.. Have you ever meet a mean pig?

        • Rachel September 2, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

          Meant plural of course. PIGS DON’T GET MEAN.. 8/7

    • Plush Cat September 2, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

      Gala, human babies have no instincts to kill animals, quite the opposite. Children have a natural attraction towards animals and look upon them lovingly. A great many children’s books have animal characters and children’s toys and clothing often have happy animal themes. Human children are not natural predators. The only one harassing anyone else with their own self-indulgent agenda are the people violently killing innocent sentient beings. If you believe in “humane slaughter” do you also believe in “humane rape”?

    • Rachel September 2, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

      Eating meat is the cause of many health problems.. cancers, kidney problems, heart attacks. obesity.. it your health you should care. And that animal should never be murdered even at a farm (private owned). These are real lives and they have a right to live like you and I do. Don’t be so selfish.. think about other beings.

      • bernd July 24, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

        the ones we eat; don’t eat meat.

  9. Plush Cat September 2, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    Bite club, I implore you to watch this lecture. It’s changed a lot of peoples lives, maybe it will change yours too.

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=gary+yourofsky+best+speech&aq=1&oq=Gary+Yourofsky.

  10. Jay September 2, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    Sheesh… you folks are really creeping me out, did not know so many wacko vegans were this intolerant of other peoples choices.
    Scary to think what you might be capable of when it comes to pushing your agenda.
    Live life the way you want, but keep your small minded ideas out of others.

    I’m going to go eat some delicious bacon now, and I will feel great aftewards.
    And yes, I will live just as long as you, and probably happier too.

    • Plush Cat September 2, 2011 at 8:24 am #

      Jay, I will tell you what’s creepy and scary, the animal holocaust currently in progress and psychos like you, who live in such denial and/or who simply don’t have any kind of a conscience whatsoever. You are remarkably and dangerously ignorant, alas, ignorance is bliss.

      • biteclub September 2, 2011 at 10:10 am #

        Plush and Jay, keep it civil. You’re at the level of monkeys throwing poop at each other.

        However, VERY COMPELLED by some of the pleas by the vegetarians. I’m not going to give up meat, but I am really inspired by your level of commitment. Keep it rational and sane and people will listen. But using the world “holocaust” shuts down the discussion, no matter what you believe.

        • Plush Cat September 2, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

          Several writers, including Jewish Nobel Prize laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, and animal rights groups have drawn a comparison between the treatment of animals and the Holocaust…..Singer described the treatment of animals by humans as “an eternal Treblinka.”.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_rights_and_the_Holocaust.

    • Rachel September 2, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

      You creeped me out, reading your comment here. How can you not care about another beings life. So cruel of you. That bacon will catch of you. You will have health problems from it… no doubt. And trust me you will never be as happy as me.. for you are eating fear.

  11. Quint the Fisherman September 1, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    Some seem to be experiencing difficulty wrapping their minds around the food chain. Where is the same outrage over a mountain lion taking a deer? Over a tuna taking a herring? Over a robin taking a worm?

    I know that individual preferences vary, but the food chain is about the most natural thing on this planet (well, maybe second after that continuation of the species activity ahem), and to condemn the mostly apex predator (homo sapiens) as an immoral sinner and/or sicko for just ruling the food chain most of the time I find a bit out there. Observe your vegan/vegetarian preferences, and I’ll respect your choice, but accept the food chain as natural, because it is.

    • Plush Cat September 1, 2011 at 11:28 pm #

      It is NOT natural for humans to eat meat and all the up to the minute scientific data supports that. Not one shred of evidence supports that humans are natural carnivores. If you put and apple and a bunny in a crib with a small child, the child would eat the apple and pet the bunny. The child would not eat the bunny, the way a kitten would eat a mouse if given the opportunity. If it were natural for humans to eat meat there would be no need to cook meat and it would be very appealing to us to sink our teeth into a live animals body. For medical support on this issue, watch Forks over Knives.

      • LindySez September 2, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

        Plush Cat, Man has been eating meat since the beginning of time…whenever he could get his hands on it, he ate it…raw and bloody. Fire changed that…I prefer my meat cooked, although a nice carpaaccio has found it’s way into my mouth.

        • Plush Cat September 2, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

          No LindySez, man has not been eating meat “since the beginning of time”. Humans were only able to hunt after they developed weapons. You eat meat because you put your pleasure before others misery. I too used to like the taste of animal flesh, many vegans will tell you that, but I awakened and realized how ethically wrong that is. And the milk issue is a real no-brainer since no species other than the human being drinks milk past infancy. The idea of raping a cow, stealing and killing her baby, and then stealing the milk which was intended for her baby is INSANE.

          • Kate September 3, 2011 at 5:49 am #

            Plush – please give me some scientific resources that indicate that early modern humans, or homo erectus or homo habilis, did not eat meat. I’ve been looking and looking on the internet from some substantiation of this, and so far all I’ve found to back that up comes from Biblical, “intelligent design” websites and sources. Oh, and vegetarian websites. All other university or science-based websites that I’ve looked at so far indicate that early humans’ diets consisted primarily of meat, with occasional evidence of some vegetable consumption. From what I’m reading, they ate waaaay more meat (percentage-wise) than we do today. Or me, at least.
            But I’m open to hearing more evidence to the contrary, and I beg you please to refer me to some information that can convince me that humans have some genetic, prehistoric, physical disposition toward vegetarianism.
            Oh, I did find one reference to a very, very ancient hominid/hominim apelike creature in Australia that did have unusually large grinding molars which scientists believe shows that at least some of it’s diet consisted of grasses. This species, of course, no longer exists and died out.
            Please point me toward some resources; I’m open to learn more about this.

    • Rachel September 3, 2011 at 12:57 am #

      It is an animals instinct to eat other animals.. they have sharp teeth, claws. and they eat the whole body… they are drawn to it. Us humans need to have weapons to kill them or control them in factory farms/ slaughterhouses.. where they are confined and can’t get out. .. Most people can’t.. nor do they want to kill the animal themselves.. that isn’t being high on the food chain. That is being quit weak. What humans are doing to animals is not natural at all.. it is forced.. controlling and evil. Yes it is a holocaust/ slavery that is happening to them… How is it not?

  12. bcc September 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Biteclub to eat an animal is only done for the most selfish reason – to satiate taste. I’m talking about modern society here. Don’t give me a hypothetical “if I was stranded on an island” bit. We both know that’s just a way to justify killing. I’ve been vegan for 2 years and have never been in better health. I don’t do what the government propaganda and the media (commercials, advertising) tell us to do – EAT MORE, CONSUME MORE. We also both know that this pig lives in conditons far different from those that live in urine/feces infested factory farms. People eat animals 1) because they don’t know anything else. Well, now you know. 2) It’s tradition – Some traditions like genital mutilation should be abolished; 3) You need your protein – the protein myth has been established by industries. My recent blood work, not to mention the my biceps and flat belly shows everybody that vegans miss nothing except for the cruelty on their plate. We reap what we sow. If we plant seeds of death and killing guess what we get back? We have wars, mass killings, people being depressed. The pharmaceuticals keep coming up with new drugs to help us, when all we have to do is just stop the killing. If you go through with this little experiment and actually kill the pig and eat him, I’m afraid for the family dog. Please re-consider – you have a choice, but the pig doesn’t.

  13. Kathy September 1, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    I don’t eat meat, I don’t believe we have a right to, it’s a sin, the animals have the same rights to life and will have the same eternal place in God’s house. They are God’s beloved creatures. I’m not sure who I’m more afraid of. Those who turn a blind eye, or those with no soul who befriend an animal, look them in the eye and murder them. And PLEASE, there is no such thing as humane slaughter.
    http://www.thenazareneway.com/ght_section_4_lections_31_thru_40.htm

    Lection 33
    5, Obey my voice and walk in the ways that I have commanded you, and ye shall be my people, and it shall be well with you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear.
    6. And what doth the Eternal command you but to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God? Is it not written that in the beginning God ordained the fruits of the trees and the seeds and the herbs to be food for all flesh?
    7. But they have made the House of Prayer a den of thieves, and for the pure Oblation with Incense, they have polluted my altars with blood, and eaten of the flesh of the slain.
    8. But I say unto you: Shed no innocent blood nor eat ye flesh. Walk uprightly, love mercy, and do justly, and your days shall be long in the land.
    9. The corn that groweth from the earth with the other grain, is it not transmuted by the Spirit into my flesh? The grapes of the vineyard, with the other fruits are they not transmuted by the Spirit into my blood? Let these, with your bodies and souls be your Memorial to the Eternal.
    10. In these is the presence of God manifest as the Substance and as the Life of the world. Of these shall ye eat and drink for the remission of sins, and for eternal life, to all who obey my words.

    • biteclub September 1, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

      Okay, sorry, but this is just getting weird.

  14. Dian Hardy September 1, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    Heather, I would like to contact your mother and offer my – and others – assistance in getting Reggie to sanctuary. I’m hesitant to put my contact info out here but will if there’s no other way. Remember: Mom always knows best!

    • biteclub September 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

      You find a sanctuary and someone who will sponsor Reggie for his life and pay Nancy the $200 I paid her for raising Reggie and you’re welcome to have him.

      But here’s the thing. I’m still going to continue the process — just with another pig. Good or bad, this is the journey I’m taking. It can be with Reggie or another pig. Frankly, I think it would be awesome if someone wanted to sponsor him at a happy home!

      Lemme know. I can see your email on your post, so if you are serious, i know who you are.

      • Quint the Fisherman September 1, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

        “I’m still going to continue the process — just with another pig. Good or bad, this is the journey I’m taking.”

        Here’s some public support. I admire and applaud.

      • Nan Sea Love September 1, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

        Glad to hear that Heather (kind of sorry you will find another pig and hope you will have a change of heart rather than continuing finding another pig) i am a friend of Dian Hardy’s and we both are part of a local group, Compassionate Living Outreach, i have emailed some members and spoken to a friend who works for In Defense of Animals today about this. We will start looking for a sanctuary now, Brighthaven is right here in Santa Rosa and is excellent they mostly do rescue and education on holistic health for senior and disabled animals but also have a pig. BTW have you ever seen the video Bella’s Journey on youtube? It is worth seeing.

        You are also welcome to come to our monthly vegan life support dinner in October as my guest, i promise i will treat you with respect as i do not judge people for their food choices and it may be an interesting addition to your article. At the vegan life support gathering volunteers cook a delicious meal, we have a short cooking demo, eat dinner, have another short cooking talk, enjoy dessert, and then have a check-in time where everyone that wants to can talk a bit about where they are with making more conscious food choices.

        Non-vegans are particularly welcome. We want to offer support for each person in creating a more healthy compassionate diets. ♥

      • Dian Hardy September 2, 2011 at 8:03 am #

        Good to hear from you, Heather! There’s a group of people who are ready and willing to get Reggie to sanctuary. I’ll let them know you’re willing and what we will need to do. As to your determination to continue, I can understand your position. You’ve taken the first hard step and you must feel that now it’s difficult, perhaps impossible, to turn back. It’s not. Please contact me privately so we can set up communications to get Reggie to sanctuary.

        • Lisamarie September 3, 2011 at 2:21 am #

          Hey Dian and Nan: If you need help with a donation to get Reggie transported or with anything else pertaining to saving him let me know!
          Nan I have you as a FB friend so I’ll message or post on your wall about this, too. :)

      • Rachel September 3, 2011 at 1:15 am #

        Why do you feel the need to be on this power trip of taking away a pigs life on your behalf. Were you abused our something? Are you out for revenge on another being because you feel weak yourself? If so I’m sorry; but harming another being will not solve your own problems.. it will add to more and more destruction in your life. I hope you have a heart and start thinking about that other being.. that deserves to live too.

      • Janet Weeks September 3, 2011 at 2:02 am #

        If you’re dead set on sociopathically killing animals for no other reason than you like to kill and eat them and you believe you have some of God- or human-given right, then have at it. Fill your body with glut and gore and death and suffering and pain and bloat and artery-clogging cholesterol for all anyone cares, save your dear mother. Stuff your kiddos with it too. Knock yourself out!

    • Plush Cat September 2, 2011 at 9:42 am #

      I am with you Dian!!!

      PLEASE LET REGGIE LIVE OUT HIS NATURAL LIFE IN COMFORT AND SECURITY, THE WAY ALL OF US WANT TO! THERE IS A MUCH BETTER WAY!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CokuPpedz8A&feature=related.

      CHOOSE LOVE. <3

  15. Nancy P. August 30, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Scott,

    I need to apologize to you and explain how this is as much a process for me as for anyone else. What I was trying to convey is that farming/ranching is perhaps one of the most demanding, underestimated, underpaid, overtaxing jobs that require both skill and knowledge. And there is a big distinction between gentlemen farmers (with whom I have absolutely no issues- in fact I’d love to be one myself) and those of us for whom it is our livelihood. I get asked all the time to provide people with an experience. I guess I can, but you wouldn’t actually be getting much of what we do unless you either came to the table, or were willing to stay and not leave the table, until all that I had mentioned were accomplished. There is so so much more to the “experience” beyond feeding, watering, cleaning, slaughtering, butchering, and eating an animal. This is actually only a small fraction of the “experience.” When I think of the work my mother and father put in (quite literally died doing) and the 4 generations before me, as I lay in bed exhausted myself from the day- as I struggle with gut wrenching anxiety over where I’m going to come up with the money to pay the mortgage and electricity bill, money to buy my niece and nephews a simple birthday gift (like new cloths for school), or registration for my truck… and then I read the comments of so many who can have more sympathy, compassion, even money to throw towards the well-being of animals over the well being of their fellow man- my guard is let down and I fail to articulate my point in a compassionate manner akin to what I would like to see. I think Heather got her first taste of what I’m talking about, just in simply trying to handle a rabbit without getting scratched and catch a piglet without getting eaten by a sow. Next she gets to build pens, mend fences, cut back willows, and not leave until the evening chores are done.

    I mean, really- how many other occupations does the general public want to experience so they can get closer to the process? But I do understand what sets us and what we do apart and why it’s so important (it’s why I’m doing this with Heather). The problem for me is that folks get so focused on one, albeit significant, element- the animal welfare/consumption issue- that most “real” ranchers I know would NEVER do what I’m doing. Without exaggeration, by opening ourselves up, we risk the same as the young soldiers who returned home from Vietnam. My own father was spat on as he walked the streets of his home town of Sebastopol. People couldn’t distinguish the difference between protesting policies and protesting people. And I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say there is indeed a “war on food.” That’s exactly why all of this is so compelling to so many, on all sorts of levels. I have been warned time and time again about opening myself up to a can of worms, and all the trouble that can ensue from those who can’t differentiate between protesting an idea and assaulting people and their property. So this is a process for me too.

    If you are REALLY interested, I’m more than happy to talk to anyone who is willing to financially invest in the ranch, for modest returns, and is willing to volunteer the manual labor associated with raising your own food, in all sincerity.

    I hope I have better articulated my point and you can forgive my initial hasty response.

    Sincerely and respectfully,
    Nancy

  16. Carlos August 29, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    I truly hope what goes around comes around! You deserve to come back as Reggie!

  17. SB August 29, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    Its true, the pig would run if he could, that means death is against his will. Every living thing wants to live, even if they are not intellegent, they still want to LIVE. So sad……

  18. biteclub August 29, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    PS “Odessa”, I immediately delete any comment that includes the term “shame on you” — a longstanding policy.

    I wish you actually read the article, because I honestly think I addressed a lot of this. I respect the choice to be a vegetarian, but it is not my choice. I am a meat eater, and as such, I feel obligated to get to know where meat comes from rather than sheepishly continuing to buy neatly packaged slabs of protein that have nothing to do with the animal that it came from.

    I’m not making light of this situation, but in fact, trying to take it very seriously while realizing that there can also be some humor in it (one of the big mama pigs bit me this weekend, and trust me I probably deserved it — but these aren’t cute little animals to cuddle. they are critters who would just as quickly eat me if i was laying in their pen defenseless.) Trying to catch Reggie this weekend, i realized how strong and intelligent they can be. But also how “unhuman” they are — these are animals that don’t really enjoy human contact and aren’t “pets” no matter how cute they might be. It’s an eye opener to really get to know the animals in their element. I highly recommend it.

    I want to continue this dialogue, because I’m reading every single comment and your thoughts and opinions matter to me. I consider your experiences and I enjoy different points of view. Maybe I will turn vegetarian, but wagging your finger is a damn poor way to convince anyone.

    Don’t shut down the conversation by making this a holier than thou argument. Let’s talk.

    • odessa August 30, 2011 at 7:53 am #

      I did read the article and I have a “pet” pig. I work with farm animals and I’m certain that you and I are built pretty much the same, as far as human beings go. Eating meat is a choice.

      Naming this ill fated animal “bacon” is making a mockery of him. If you take it seriously why, would you do that? I can assure you he would not think his fate is funny.
      Also, I do not only defend cute fluffy animals who qualify as pets. I spent a summer working on a dairy farm, I have horses and goats, I know farming and farming practices well. Even though bulls can and would try to kill me I still don’t believe in bull fighting. I also don’t think only human life is valuable.
      I am very well educated on this topic. Believe me, I can talk for days. You will never convince me that you have to eat meat.
      I do understand the whole ” getting to know your food” thing. You could always just go onto Peta.org and buy this video, “Meet your Meat”.

      • biteclub August 30, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

        I have seen “Meet your Meat” along with just about every food documentary made. Have you? It’s primarily about factory farming, which is the opposite of what we’re talking about. In fact, that’s the whole point of why I’m doing this.

        As I’ve said before, you can believe anything you want. I applaud your big heart and I’m glad you have such strong convictions. That is really commendable. I just find finger wagging unconvincing when it comes to a serious debate.

        As for the Bacon thing — that was my 8-year-old’s idea, and to her it made absolute sense. Whether or not she was mocking him, well, i’m not sure. I kind of doubt it.

    • odessa August 30, 2011 at 9:27 am #

      Look, I have to stop thinking about this because it’s making me feel sick. It’s not a friendly World for people like me, who value all life. There’s not whole lot we can do to stop people from hunting, eating meat, breeding dogs, wearing fur, and the list goes on. There’s no money in animal advocacy, therefor we don’t have much of a voice in this messed up World.
      Basically I’m bothered by the fat that you’re telling people it’s okay to eat meat, by making a big spectacle of your journey. I have been inside a slaughterhouse. Have you? I’ve seen baby cows being shocked, kicked, and tortured because they can’t walk because they have never been allowed to walk in their short miserable lives. The suffering in the meat industry is unmitigated, it’s unspeakable the things we do to animals. The meat industry is also the #1 contributing factor to global warming.
      After saying all that, there’s not much I can do. People will hunt, club baby seals over the head, turn a blind eye and eat meat, ignore the over crowded shelters, buy puppies, buy leather sofas and the list goes on. I can only speak up when I can, but most of the time it falls on deaf ears.
      Good luck with your journey.

      • Carmen September 1, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

        I agree with you Odessa. Thank you for existing, hopefully more people will become like you.

      • Janet Weeks September 3, 2011 at 2:17 am #

        I agree with you, too, Odessa and feel your pain and frustration. At the same time, you give me hope of a better day when humankind IS kind, IS compassionate, and learns to live in peace and harmony with others–ALL others. You are not alone and our numbers are growing.

    • Lisamarie September 3, 2011 at 2:32 am #

      What about the ANIMAL’S choice? They don’t get a say-so in what happens to them, do they? There are other, much more healthy, more sustainable, and compassionate kinds of protein than cancer protein, which is essentially what animal protein is.

      These animals should not have to be “human” to be given the same right to life and not be “raised” and used as a means to selfish human ends as we have!
      “Holier than thou”? I’d say we have the facts a bit mixed up here; isn’t thinking you have the right to “get to know” a sensient, feeling being, then having the say-so in how they live, when they will die, and how they will die because “you want a piece of bacon or ham” being “holier than thou” and forcing your desires and taste buds on a living, sensitive being who has no choice in the matter?

  19. Scott August 29, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    Does the farm that is hosting your pig do this for everyone, or is it a special event for you.
    I have been wanting to raise my own pig or cow, but I don’t have the land available to me for that activity.

    Thanks,

    Scott

    • biteclub August 29, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

      It’s kind of a personal favor because she’s going to be working with us at Regatta (the ultimate reason for doing this), but you can certainly ask nancy at Gleason ranch if she’d be willing to consider it.

      • Nancy P. August 29, 2011 at 11:06 pm #

        I’m sorry, but no. We have too much work to do. We’re not in the business of hosting experiences (at least not at this time), we’re in the business of producing food. This is indeed just a special arrangement for Heather so she can share her experience with others. Unless, of course, you have carpentry, welding, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical skills (must have all), can repeatedly lift 80-100# daily, are willing to be on call 24/7, work sun-up to sun-down with minimal breaks, no vacation or sick pay, and want to front the capital funds for much needed improvements around the ranch- then maybe we can talk.

        • Janet Weeks September 3, 2011 at 2:19 am #

          Would you consider an undercover investigator?

  20. KC August 29, 2011 at 12:09 am #

    Have you read The Vegetarian Myth? I think you would find it really insightful. It puts into words really beautifully the philosophy of eating meat and sustainability. I really highly recommend it.

    http://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-Myth-Food-Justice-Sustainability/dp/1604860804

    • biteclub August 29, 2011 at 11:45 am #

      I actually have it but I never read it.

      • KC August 29, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

        You should pick it up now then! I can’t think of a more appropriate time to read it.

    • Lisamarie September 3, 2011 at 2:38 am #

      The philosophy of eating a dead, murdered corpse and how NOT sustainable it is. I’ve heard about this book, and it was written by ONE woman who was vegetarian or vegan and got sick and blamed the lifestyle on it so she could have an excuse to go back to chewing on dead animals and decided to write a book about it. That’s ALL it is.
      Never mind the mountains of proven scientific evidence of how unhealthy eating animal flesh that exists; corpse munchers only seem to want to hear good news about their bad habits.

  21. Save Reggie! August 28, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    Would everyone please, please see reason, and join my fight to save this cute pig!!

    Sincerely,

    Heather’s Mom

    (please follow my twitter site: @SaveReggie)

    • biteclub August 29, 2011 at 11:45 am #

      Um, you’re not my mom. She doesn’t know what a Twitter is.

      • Save Reggie! August 29, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

        Heather wrote: @SaveReggie This ain’t my mom (trust me, she doesn’t Tweet) but if you can get 200 followers I’ll let you come to the farm.

        So if you don’t care about saving Reggie, at least help mom to get to the farm by following us on Twitter: @SaveReggie

    • Sundance August 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

      I disagree with you, Heather….the pig can be saved and never eaten—just turn Reggie over to a humane farm and agree to sponsor him for the rest of his life…I think this will be a good experience for you.

      • biteclub August 29, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

        Interesting. How much would that cost and where?

        • Nancy P. August 30, 2011 at 12:02 am #

          I’m more than willing to entertain the idea of being paid to raise Reggie through to his own ripe old age. How much are you willing to pay?

      • Lisamarie September 3, 2011 at 2:40 am #

        Actually it wouldn’t be a “humane farm”. It would be an animal sanctuary that Reggie could go to and be a pig and live out his whole, natural life the way that ALL animals are meant to.

    • odessa August 29, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

      I will join you. I can find a home for him. We should name ourselves ” walking upright”.

    • Nan Sea Love September 2, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

      i want to join you Heather’s mom am a friend of Dian Hardy’s and she just talked to your daughter about our wish to find a sanctuary and we are going to talk to members of our group Compassionate Living Outreach to get help too. http://www.compassionatelivingoutreach.org/ are you on Facebook? i am here and have gotten a lot of responses about this, here is my address: http://www.facebook.com/EcologyArtist i will follow you on twitter now. ♥

      • biteclub September 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

        I hate to burst the bubble, but it isn’t my mom. I wish I knew who it actually was. My mom thinks the whole thing is great though.

  22. Clare August 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    Wow. It’s so simple. That pig does not want you to kill it. That pig does not want to die.

    • Quint the Fisherman August 28, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

      Of course the pig does not want to die. That’s the survival instinct.

      And, of course, the pig cannot overcome the will of the human. That’s the food chain.

      • Clare August 28, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

        Of course, you do not have to eat other living beings to live. In fact the greatest act that you you can do for our environment is give up eating meat. Of course, 90% of the crops in the United States go to the feed of livestock, If we want to survive, we should of course, change tactics. This animal clings to it’s life as dearly as you do, but clearly in your mind, might equals right. And for what? Every feeling, every breath, every day, sacrifced for a moment on your palate? Your pleasure, for their life? The ultimate violation to satisfy the cravings of your flesh? Check out our prisons, people. Only sociopaths and criminals will violate another being to satisfy the cravings of their flesh. I’m sure they have their rationalizations too. Hey, if you want to feel better, start asking the Sonoma County Animal Shelter for meat donations. We all know the pigs are as intelligent if not more intelligent than dogs and cats, (and that’s how we judge their right to life, right?). Lots of euthanized animals=free meat. How about Pulled Pit Bull instead of Pulled Pork? Or would feel conflicted about that?

        • Nawm August 29, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

          Sure, stop eating meat and then all of the advances that our lineage made through the long train of evolution due predominantly to including meat into the diet of our predecesors (peer reviewed science versus pseudo vegan nonsense) can slowly erode away and you can go back to being a forest dwelling herbivore primate with a small brain and no language. Of course it will take millions of years to loose the gained brain size and function that meat eating created over millions of years, so it won’t impact you during your short and insignificant time on earth.

          I find it incredibly ironic that people like you fancy themselves to be “evolved” in that you don’t eat animals or in some cases animal products, when in fact what you are doing is wanting to start the slow process of devolving from where we have risen. Luckily, by and large, humans will continue to eat meat and because of this, your mission to return to the forest and shrink the human brain has been averted. Nothing personnal, it’s just science and science should never be ignored even when it is not pretty.

          • Carmen September 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

            Reason why meat has made our evolution FASTER: calories.
            One pound of meat has many more calories than one pound of vegetables.
            This does not mean it’s healthy.
            We grew quicker because of the larger ammount of calories we ate. Not because of ‘meat’ specifically.

            A cleaner diet, non meat, non dairy, will have less calories in your plate. People who eat less calories than 2k per day have been studied and there was a frequency in the information: they lived longer, healthier and their thought process was quicker when compared to an omnivorous person.

            Your insultuous argument is not valid.

    • Case August 28, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

      How do you know the pig doesn’t want to die. Obviously you don’t want to die, but we won’t get into that issue of denial. The pig might want to be cooked like this. Since the pig will eventually die wouldn’t it be possible that Reggie prefer dying like this instead of what ever way you can imagine. Being turned into fine cuisine not so bad

  23. Catherine de la Cruz August 27, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    My mother and I were in the butcher shop cutting up a beef when our vet came by and asked who the carcass had been. Mom replied “Julie”.
    A woman shopper reacted with horror. “How can you name an animal then eat it?”
    I’ve never forgotten my mother’s quiet reply. “Julie was a good friend and she will supply our family with many good meals – which is more than most of my friends would do.”
    Every piece of meat in the freezer was marked with the name of the animal who had supplied it, so we would know, firsthand, where our food came from. And we thanked them for the sacrifice.

    • Mary September 1, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

      How good of you to thank them for their unwilling “sacrifice”. They don’t need your “thanks” that little ritual only serves to make YOU feel better about the dirty business of betraying a “friend” that has grown to trust you. And how does giving them a name make it better…do you think they really care if you name them. Ugh…so gross.

  24. Porky P. August 26, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    Homer: “Does that mean you’re not going to eat any pork?” Lisa: “Yes.”
    Homer: “Bacon?” Lisa: “Yes, Dad.”
    Homer: “Ham?” Lisa: “Dad, those meats all come from the same animal!”
    Homer: “Right, Lisa, some wonderful, magical animal!”

  25. Ty Jones August 26, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    Goodness! Where all that taking place?

  26. Jason Shirk August 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Heather,

    Always a BiteClub Fan…Fair Food Scramble Alum, and 5 Guys Taster…

    It’s definitely an adventure starting this process from start to finish..I’ve done this with a Thanksgiving Turkey one year, from the egg, to the slaughter and prep..That was my first experience individually.

    Used to watch/learn from my granny whom used to have a rabbit hutchery and frequently fed us fresh rabbit. Although, as a kid…I didn’t really quite get what was happening per se…She’d go where the rabbits were, I’d hear a “meaty thud” and she’d come back with a dead rabbit…She had this cudgel that she’d use, I think you get the idea…But she’d let us help in the prep…

    I’ve roasted 3 pigs, and am about to have another pig roast this Labor Day Weekend…My first pig we purchased, it was raised by a friend with some space in West Marin, and then we slaughtered it…I must admit, I was somewhat squeamish…Although, ultimately it was well worth it.

    For the Labor Day event this year, I paid a little extra to my pig guy to handle the slaughter and prep, mainly because I no longer have a yard in which to process the piggly wiggly..Although, we did get him when he was a piglet…I didn’t name him, no…But have met him a few times as we’ve fattened him up for the spit.

    Curious to see your thoughts about it when you are finished…Hope you are doing well, still lovin your chops with the BiteClub!!!

    Good luck!
    Jason

  27. hillcruiser August 26, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    I applaud your efforts to make a meaningful connection with what you fuel your body and feed your family, Heather. Missing that connection is certainly one of the problems with our over-caloried / nutrient deficient diet in this country. With all due respect to Wojamo, I think that missed connection is why the graphic shock-media such as Food, Inc. don’t have the effect the producers intend on most people. The traveling butcher you quoted, however, is an idiot. “One bad day” is an entirely different matter than being killed. Treating livestock humanely until they’re butchered is fair and commendable. But it does not cause them to be any less dead nor die more pleasantly. When the time comes, enjoy Reggie and celebrate what he’s given you!

    • biteclub August 26, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

      Agreed on most points, and well said.

      I felt torn about using that quote from the mobile slaughter, but i think you have to consider it contextually. Yes…death is very final, and the animals may have lived to a ripe old age and had a merry life.

      But what he was talking about were the animals he slaughters that live on farms and are raised humanely. It isn’t a matter of “if”…it’s a matter of “how”. I respected the fact that when it comes to these animals, they don’t live brief lives of misery in a cage they can’t move in. They don’t have their tails cut off or one of a hundred other cruel things done to meat animals. (Full disclosure, I think Reggie was castrated, but i’m not sure).

      The point being that if you are going to eat an animal for meat, i think its better for the animal to have “one bad day” (meaning all the other days were spent happily doing what the animal naturally does) than a life of bad days.

      Maybe i’m splitting hairs. I just always remember him saying that as I watched the animals die. I felt so conflicted, but his words of “this is the one bad day they’ll ever have” sort of made me feel more alright about the process.

      • Clare August 28, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

        Would it make you feel better if someone killed and ate someone you care for, that that was their one bad day? As you pointed out, this pig is with his siblings. Can you recognize that? Siblings. Do you have any? These animals have emotions, Heather. Emotions that run far deeper than the moments you will enjoy as their entire life is slipping down your throat. You could make a huge Sonoma County stand on this. We are the weirdos. We recognize emotion. We stand up for the underdogs. Surely you can see that you can live without making your life a graveyard for the days of sunshine and breath, and hope and life for the other beings that share this existence with you. I hope that you will not harden your heart against this little animal who deserves your protection, not your destruction of his little life. “Weep for the small things that would make them glad.” It is a humble life, and Reggie would be you and your family’s friend. If that is, you don’t kill him and eat him first.

        • Nawm August 29, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

          Really Clare? I think you have watched too many Disney movies and you suffer from the same problem that many so called animal rights folks suffer from; the humanization of animals. The human experience is the only context that you can know or experience what the state of being is. Because of this, it is difficult to not assign human emotion, feelings and thoughts to what animals may be experiencing. The fact is, if they had the same brain size and function, they would be walking around and driving cars too, but they don’t. Not saying animals don’t feel pain, which is why there is the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act in place and enforced when animals are slaughtered for food. They must be rendered unconcious before being killed (bled), and this must be done with a single blow or shock so they animal does not suffer as they are not aware at the time they die.

          Besides, where do you draw the line? Does not the ant suffer when you kill it becuase it has intruded on your kitchen counter, or the fly, or the rattle snake, or any other less “humanized” animal that the HSUS has not programed you to assign human emotions to?

          Time to get a grip, animals eat other animals and humans and our ancestors have been omnivores for many many milenia at this point. Choose what you want to do and do it, but leave everyone else alone to make their own decisions. By all means, fly your freak flag, but leave the rest of us alone…….

          • Jessi August 30, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

            What a patronizing response to someone’s obviously sincere opinion. I’m not sure where we got the idea that “driving cars” is a sign of superior intelligence, I supposed crafting enough nuclear bombs to destroy the planet hundreds of times over is also a sign of how truly smart we are, but I digress.

            I personally do not understand the mentality that raising and killing your own animals makes you somehow more enlightened, to me it just makes you an active accomplice of the death of an animal instead of a passive one. As I see it, there are two positions, animals are not worthy of consideration, being that they are somehow lesser creatures, or they are.
            If there is even a possibility that they are worthy of consideration- ie, the same consideration that you show “pet” animals such as dogs and cats- why would you want to be involved in their slaughter?

            Since the question of relative moral worth of animals is not something anyone can have a truly infallible, god-told-me-so answer, why not err on the side of caution and spend your life being kind to other creatures- even pigs- instead of joining in their death for your own gratification?

            I hope you will turn the piglet over to a farm sanctuary, Heather, as was suggested above.

          • Nadine September 3, 2011 at 5:26 am #

            Nawm…..”Fly your freak flag”? You just had to sneak in that quick little jab, didn’t you? Those of us who have become educated about animal crueltry and the disturbing medical issues (which quite obviously is promoted by – and creates large profits for – pharmacuetical companies), feel very good about making our ethical choices. Yes, we are among the minority, and in our current cultures, it is somewhat difficult to be 100% free of any animal products. (One reason it can be difficult is that we are often lied to by the profiteers – they rename animal products behind “scientific” names….) but we can console ourselves with the knowledge that we are responsible for a lot LESS death than one who makes NO ethical choices at all. So we will proudly FLY OUR FREAK FLAG from the rooftops, forever!

      • Mary September 1, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

        That inner conflict that you felt was your conscience telling you that something was wrong.

    • Clare August 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

      Reggie does not give, he would run if he could and you know it. You make truly horrific anthropomorphic analogies in your brain. Think about say, any dog you’ve ever known. Say a crazy perseon dognapped your dog, fed him well, played with him, until the day when he went out and slit his throat and fried him up in a pan, “Silence of the Lambs” style. Would that make you and your kids feel better? Would you have a problem with a neighbor that kept yellow lab pups until they got to a certain weight, and then slaughtered them while you heard their dying cries? Got a rationailiztion for that?

      • Nawm August 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

        That would be a valid point in Korea where eating Dog is socially acceptable. Our social norms in the US don’t allow for this. Therefore the argument is not germane to the discussion. If you want to give examples of pet chickens, cows, sheep, goats, or pigs, then it makes more sense, though still significantly flawed. You are trying to compare apples and oranges for the purpose of pulling heart strings rather than talking about facts and science. Go eat some berries and be happy with who you are…..i’m happy that you have the freedom to be just how you want to be and I would never want to take that away from you……

      • Michael Davis September 2, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

        Clare, well written!

  28. Wojamo August 26, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Sorry- I should add that I’m not sure if I could do this. I have watched every graphic animal slaughter video and got to see some of it first hand while studying ag business and it never even came close to converting me from a sometimes meat eater. But, I don’t know that I have the guts to go that extra step and slaughter my own that I raised. I’m thinking probably not.

    • biteclub August 26, 2011 at 11:16 am #

      Damn Woj! I was hoping you’d be the videographer of the event.

  29. Wojamo August 26, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Heather- this is a ballsy move. Kudos to you!

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