How do farmers reconcile themselves to the volumes of animals they send to slaughter over the course of their lifetimes?

(1000 Posts)
Empanadas Tue 15-Jun-21 13:44:22

Hi, this is something I’ve always wondered. However, I was watching that Netflix series about Prince Charles and the Duchy of Cornwall and there was a farmer showing a whole barn of cattle he has obviously reared from birth, but quite blithely saying, “oh they'll all be off next week.”

AIBU to think being a cattle / sheep / chicken farmer takes a certain type of person and to wonder how they deal with their conscience in this depressing business?

OP’s posts: |
WaltzForDebbie Tue 15-Jun-21 13:46:07

They don't think it's wrong otherwise they would be veggie! confused

ChangePart1 Tue 15-Jun-21 13:46:52

They don't see them as living, breathing, individual beings. They certainly don't see them as having any intrinsic rights or worth beyond financial.

To them it's the same as if they were growing crops and then sending them off to distributers. They don't see themselves as having anything to come to terms with or reconcile themselves to.

And I agree, it definitely takes a certain sort of person. But I think it takes a certain sort of person to be able to eat animal products, work in an abattoir, or carry out animal testing too.

TheSpottedZebra Tue 15-Jun-21 13:49:12

I think they just think that's the way it is - that (some) animals are to be eaten. As it always has been.
But the good ones give them a good life and hopefully an easy death.

Woeismethischristmas Tue 15-Jun-21 13:50:18

I think a good farmer will ensure their animals have a pleasant life with appropriate food, water, shelter and medical care. They’re not running a charity and if they can’t make money on the animals there won’t be any more. I’m surrounded by sheep fields and buy local lamb and beef I’ve seen reared.

Ozanj Tue 15-Jun-21 13:50:35

Most farmers who rear animals for slaughter that I know (and I know many) love their animals to pieces, but they all believe in the circle of life too. These same people are often incredibly stoic about loved ones dying too - I guess they see so much death they become desentized to it and many just want to focus on the present.

Scrowy Tue 15-Jun-21 13:51:27

ChangePart1

They don't see them as living, breathing, individual beings. They certainly don't see them as having any intrinsic rights or worth beyond financial.

To them it's the same as if they were growing crops and then sending them off to distributers. They don't see themselves as having anything to come to terms with or reconcile themselves to.

And I agree, it definitely takes a certain sort of person. But I think it takes a certain sort of person to be able to eat animal products, work in an abattoir, or carry out animal testing too.

That's complete and utter offensive bollocks.

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JohnWaynesHorse Tue 15-Jun-21 13:51:28

I know and have been around on several farms on slaughter day. It's not a happy, happy day but just a necessary one.

ChangePart1 Tue 15-Jun-21 13:56:20

shrug I find it more offensive when people think it's acceptable to breed, raise, kill and then sell the dead bodies of living breathing animals. Not gonna beat around the bush on that one.

lljkk Tue 15-Jun-21 13:57:27

Cycle of life. People gotta eat & high quality protein & heme iron sources are valuable nutrition; people are designed to get vitamin B12 from somewhere. Animals eat animals. We are animals, too.

How do Jains reconcile selves to how rest of world eats and lives? Jains are the only ones with any valid claim to moral high ground. Rest of us are just pretenders.

WiddlinDiddlin Tue 15-Jun-21 13:58:33

The human brain allows us to compartmentalize and deal with such things that way.

I raised mice for my snakes.

I gave them comfortable housing, quality food, stuff to play with, forage, housed with other mice... but they didn't have names and were not pets.

Once the time came to do the deed and cull the feeders/select the next generation breeders, I viewed them as food for my snakes and my selection criteria was size based, and also temperament based - so I would not breed from mice that were nervous or aggressive at being handled, I would not breed again from mice that were not good parents.

It is not fair, or indeed accurate to say that I did not view them as living breathing animals, of course I did, and I cared about them during the course of their lives - breeders would spend their entire natural life span with me.

On the other hand once it came to cull day, I didn't find it particularly hard to view them as food for snakes or replacements for the breeding population.

I chose to do this as the trade in frozen rodents is pretty horrid, with them being intensively farmed and culled in large groups in not particularly humane ways, and I did not wish to contribute to that.

At the same time I had pet rats, and I could not have killed one of my rats to feed one of my snakes - they came into my home as pets and remained as pets their entire lives.

Palavah Tue 15-Jun-21 13:59:28

Because that's mostly how the human race has fed itself for millenia?

DrunkenUnicorn Tue 15-Jun-21 14:02:22

‘AIBU to think being a cattle / sheep / chicken farmer takes a certain type of person and to wonder how they deal with their conscience in this depressing business?’

Well surely anyone who eats super market meat has ‘this depressing business’ on their conscience too?

I don’t agree with conditions in a lot of industrial farming, so I don’t eat it, we’re veggie with our own backyard chickens and we get milk from a local farm.

But I don’t intrinsically have a problem with eating meat per se- my issue is their quality of life. Animals live in the present- they have no concept of tomorrow and that what ifs. Therefore if they have had a good quality of life with their psychological as well as physical needs met, right up until the point of a humane death, then personally I would have no problem with it.

I just don’t think you can lump all the moral responsibility on the farmer.

MrsTulipTattsyrup Tue 15-Jun-21 14:03:42

Because it’s the job of the farmer, and the animals, to produce food for people who eat meat.

If we didn’t eat meat then those animals wouldn’t exist. They are bred to feed us.

I can’t imagine any farmer taking pleasure in knowing the animals are going to be killed, but they have done their job in raising them, keeping them healthy and hopefully giving them the best life they can, and at the end they know they’ve done their job well.

shivawn Tue 15-Jun-21 14:06:03

@MrsTulipTattsyrup Very sensible and rational post.

Scrowy Tue 15-Jun-21 14:06:07

I'm a farmer - there are many of us on mumsnet and I'm sure all of them will be just as upset as I am at reading this.

We have 80 suckler cows with around 70 calves, 60 of last years young stock and 30 bought in male dairy calves

1000ish sheep, at this time of year we also have around 1800 lambs.

Every last one of them is cared for.

We give them the best life we can while they are with us, which varies depending on what breed/sex they are, we feel sad when they leave us and we enjoy eating the good quality food that comes as a result of our and other farmers hard work.

We see life and death upfront, every new life is a joy, every untimely loss is a sadness. All of it is a privilege.

You don't have to go far to find any number of programmes on tv which show the dedication of farmers to their animals if you have no other access to working farm environments.

wonkylegs Tue 15-Jun-21 14:07:31

I think they are just in touch with the circle of life, that many of us just don't think about because we don't have to.
It's not a callousness just a realism without sentimentality. Most farmers care deeply for their animals but they also see them as part of a working life the two are not mutually exclusive.
I think there are lots of careers that if you look at them simplistically then they are hard to get your head round but for me farming is understandable even if I couldn't do it myself.

Sparkai Tue 15-Jun-21 14:07:51

ChangePart1

shrug I find it more offensive when people think it's acceptable to breed, raise, kill and then sell the dead bodies of living breathing animals. Not gonna beat around the bush on that one.

And there's the agenda!

You are wrong btw. Farmers care deeply for their livestock. Most subscribe to the idea that providing a good, full life to their animals is doing their best for them.

ChangePart1 Tue 15-Jun-21 14:11:15

Yes, I have an agenda where nonhuman animals are treated with respect and dignity, and not exploited or enslaved for human desires. Good catch, you got me there ;)

Farmers, on the other hand, have zero agenda. They don't deliberately and consciously choose to do what they do, it just all kinda happens to them.

Scrowy Tue 15-Jun-21 14:12:00

ChangePart1

shrug I find it more offensive when people think it's acceptable to breed, raise, kill and then sell the dead bodies of living breathing animals. Not gonna beat around the bush on that one.

At what point in time in the evolution of the human race do you feel it became unacceptable?

shouldistop Tue 15-Jun-21 14:14:15

Because they don't think it's wrong to eat meat? Like the majority of humans.

vulpesfoxtrot Tue 15-Jun-21 14:14:39

We're livestock farmers. Our cattle are all reared extensively on grass based systems before being sent to slaughter and we raise our children to understand that this is what we end up eating.

How do I live with myself? Knowing that every single one of our cattle have had the most high quality standard of life and that without the demand for high welfare British beef, they wouldn't have existed at all.

Clymene Tue 15-Jun-21 14:16:28

Christ vegans are fucking tedious

Soubriquet Tue 15-Jun-21 14:16:35

The animals reared are not pets

They are not viewed as pets. They are their livelihoods and to them, that animal is food.

It is as simple as that.

Orchidflower1 Tue 15-Jun-21 14:16:49

ChangePart1

They don't see them as living, breathing, individual beings. They certainly don't see them as having any intrinsic rights or worth beyond financial.

To them it's the same as if they were growing crops and then sending them off to distributers. They don't see themselves as having anything to come to terms with or reconcile themselves to.

And I agree, it definitely takes a certain sort of person. But I think it takes a certain sort of person to be able to eat animal products, work in an abattoir, or carry out animal testing too.

How utterly vile your comment is.

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