Sunday, December 30, 2018

Home Slaughter

"B" asked me the other day when he was picking up his live New Year's Day lamb to haul it to the slaughterhouse for processing...."Do you do your own slaughtering?" 

Many a time I've been asked if I do my own or send the animal to the slaughterhouse. Plain and simple, I do my own. I feel it is the most humane. It also happens to be the most self reliant method and cheapest, but I do it because it's the least disturbing to my animals. There is no excitement of being loaded onto a truck, no stress of being transported 2 hours and held in a strange place with strange smells and other strange animals at the end of the journey. No anxiety of being separated alone from the flock/herd.  No fear of being approached and handled by strangers. I'd rather have my animals at home, at ease, and be completely unaware that something is about to happen. They are instantly rendered unconscious using a gun, and then killed with no pain, no sensation. Killing is done by cutting the main arteries and bleeding out. 

I never like killing my animals. I find it stressful (I fear I might make a mistake), disturbing (I don't like watching an animal die). I'm ultra careful to make sure everything goes perfectly. 

Once the animal is dead, I have no trouble butchering it out. Butchering a chicken or rabbit is quick and easy. Butchering a lamb, goat, or pig takes more time and work, but it isn't difficult. I've never helped with something larger like a cow or horse. Having worked in veterinary medicine most of my life,   I have no aversion to butchering. It's the slaughtering that is difficult.


  1. I understand why you prefer to slaughter your animals. It reminds me of a ritual Native Americans preformed honoring (respecting?) the lives of their hunting kills.
    I wish I had known how to end the life of my dog. I had to take him to the vet and it has haunted me. My wife and I were holding him when the vet asked to take him "for a few minutes". He left the room. I will never forget his "yelp". The vet returned and Pee-nut looked so frightened. He had been painfully fitted with a feed to a vein in his leg. Then we held him as the vet inserted the needle. It was the longest minutes of my life. Suddenly I was irrationally hoping he would survive. We took him home for burial. It's been over 11 years and I still regret letting the vet take him away from us and the pain he suffered. I refuse to let my wife get another dog because of that memory.

    1. I'm sorry you had a poor experience. Euthanasia is never a pleasant happening, no matter what. I've had to oversee the dying of hundreds of beloved pets, including my own, and many memories try to haunt me to this day. I'm sure your veterinarian was trying to make it easier for Pee-Nut by placing an IV catheter. Obviously the pinprick startled and upset Pee-Nut. But the IV drugs make dying painless and quick.
      Every time I've taken on a pet, I am elated to be able to share my life with another special friend. Sometimes there is the joy of training and molding a new puppy, like I've done with Noodles. Other times it's the satisfaction and love of taking a suffering animal and giving it a good life, like we did with Crusty. But with each one there comes the promise of painful loss. Either they will die before us, or us before them. I can't change that. But I can change a pet's life for the better by having them share our lives together. Like my Crusty, there are lots of good dogs out there that are begging for a chance at a decent life. They want a person. Sadly there aren't enough people willing to open their homes to a pet in dire need. But if even one person took on such a dog, that one dog would be the luckiest dog in the world.