Thursday, April 5, 2012

Carnivore Rant

As I occasionally mention, I keep ducks. I work at a farm where we raise meat cattle, meat and egg-laying chickens and meat and egg-laying ducks. As such, I occasionally help butcher birds. Last year, I helped butcher at least 600 chickens and a few (very few) meat ducks.

Ducks are only butchered when they present a problem. Sometimes, they're getting into the crop rows and decimating our harvest, other times they are over-breeding the females (which can result in harm and/or drowning of the female), or in the most recent case, we had to butcher a few meat drakes that had taken to trying to mate with the chickens. Ducks and chickens have different anatomy and this can result in the death of the chicken.

So, over the weekend, I had the unpleasant task of butchering the problem drakes. I'm not going to be nicey-nice and call it "processing" or anything else than what it truly was. I killed those birds for meat and to protect our other livestock. I won't go into the details; some people would rather not know and I respect that. But in the end, meat went into our freezer and into our smoker. One smoked bird went back to my boss as a "thank you" for the meat.

I know it might sound gross, but duck is mighty tasty. It's like a cross between chicken and beef. I don't eat duck but 1-2 times a year and usually it is because some crisis came up necessitating the demise of a few birds. This is for the overall health and welfare of our flocks and while not an enjoyable process, it is part of the farm life I have fallen into.

So I posted this photo on Facebook. No explanation in how the bird came to me or anything else. Just identified as smoked duck.

When I returned home this afternoon, there was a shitstorm of a hate message posted to me calling me ignorant and a murderer and all kinds of horrible things. Report, block, now rant. No doubt this hypocrite is perfectly happy with the idea of abortion, but cannot tolerate the idea of someone who eats darling little duckies. In fairness to the person in question, she has been struggling with a very ill pet duck lately and I suspect she was reacting out of stress. Either way, I'm not going to deal with people who fly off the handle over something as simple as my meal choices.

This is my response to my friends on Facebook:

"I recently returned from work where we just received our first batch of meat birds of the season to find that someone online was blasting me for posting a photo of a smoked duck here. While I love ducks and keep them as pets, I'm not so ignorant to not be able to face the fact that ducks are sometimes raised and sold as meat birds. I butcher 100's of chickens every year and feel no guilt for doing... so. I work at a farm. That is part of farm life. I can accept what I do and feel no guilt knowing those birds were humanely raised and given the best lives possible. I may be blessed to be able to consume 1-2 ducks a year, but the fact that I eat duck doesn't take away from the fact that each and every duck I raise is treated with the utmost respect for the duration of its life and any person I sell a duck or duckling to is vetted carefully to assure the bird is going to a good home. I even have an emergency take-back program to help prevent the dumping of unwanted ducks at parks or lakes.

I eat meat. If it became necessary, I would and could hunt my own food. If you choose not to, I respect (and admire) your views. I thank you kindly to respect mine as well. If these statements offend you, please do us both a favor and unfriend me now."

I think that truly says it all. I'm not going to judge you, and I thank you to not judge me.

In other news, I have been busy hatching, raising and selling ducklings. I'm also preparing for spring by starting my seedlings for the garden. I'll leave you all today with some pictures of fuzzy duckies. These ducklings are bred to be egg layers and are kept as pets as they are absolutely hilarious to watch: