Preparing for this summers building and design courses and the rest of our homevour year we have recently slaughtered a calf Casta (castania sativa) was ten months old and still feeding from his mother the day he went to the abattoir. He had never eaten anything but milk, grass and hay and had access to the outdoors for his entire life, he had never been given drugs or vaccines of any description. This regime makes his meat the best domesticated food available on the planet today.
There are many reasons Fiona and I still eat meat and here are just a few. Meat is a valuable part of the natural human diet we are extremely well adapted to digest it and it gives us many essential nutrients which are not readily available to us in other foods.
The existence of every land based mammal on the planet increases the worm population in the soil it derives its food from by the body weight of that mammal. Only humans who are apparently too stupid to cycle their body waste back to the soil its nutrients came from defy this natural law. So consider Casta was about 250KG live weight the day he went to slaughter, there are approximately 4000 worms per kilo, 4000 multiplied by 250= 1000000. Yes that’s right one million worms now occupy out land which would not be there had we not raised Casta, those worms are increasing the soil fertility everyday. Soil fertility is the foundation of the entire plant kingdom. Contrast this to plough agriculture which kills approximately one million worms per acre per crop, plus the dozen small mammals which are killed under the wheels of the tractor or the blades of the plough. This diminishes soil nutrients and causes soil erosion at rates of tons per acre in extreme circumstances, and reduces the food supply for foxes and other predators like birds of prey and snakes.
While I would accept the argument grain fed animals are an environmental disaster grass fed livestock have an environmental benefit. Before anyone leaves the usual comment about methane try and find the research results for grass fed cattle verses the methane output of decomposition of grasslands and leaf fall from forests! then look at the methane output of grain fed humans.
Now to the produce and direct benefit we will get from Casta, usually we sell more than half of the meat we raise here Casta’s carcase weighed 176kg. Had we sold 90kg we would have made 900€ less the cost of slaughter 78€ we gain 86kg of meat plus the internal organs and 822€ clear profit.
This year we will have 16 people on site with us for courses for three months so we will not be selling any of Casta instead we will feed ourselves, students, interns and our dog Jazz all of him.
We also make our own sausage and bacon, here is some bacon we had made a week ago. We could not resists so lunch on butchering day was bacon and our fresh farm eggs.
I want to be clear here Fiona and I are both townies and although its illegal to kill your own cattle in France we kill clean and butcher all our other animals we consume. We also get given wild animals by local hunters who are happy to share with us.
All the best.