How many of you grew up eating your pets?
My guess is that if you were raised a farm kid, a village kid, or a third culture kid, you are familiar with this dilemma.
Today we slaughtered, eviscerated, and shrink-bagged 14 chickens. We had a lot of help.
Tomorrow, we will kill this magnificent creature that has been eating up our back yard since Tuesday. It’s one of the things I love about living in Africa. Want to put a bull and a bunch of chickens in your back yard? It’s not without its complications, and in this part of the world nothing is easy, but everything is possible.
As an animal lover and a meat eater, I have to come to terms with the relationship between the animals I enjoy caring for and the meat I consume. And the more I learn about commercial agriculture in general and meat production in particular, the more convinced I am that the whole thing is unsustainable and where animals are concerned unethical. It hasn’t yet stopped me from buying meat from the grocery store, but I am trying to do the local option as much as I can. Someday my convictions and my behavior might align, and I will become a vegetarian–but until then, I’m taking small steps. And I realize that raising your own meat is an option only for those with access to land–or at least a big backyard–which is a whole different issue.
Once you’ve fed, housed, and looked your diner in the eye, and then killed it as gently as possible, you have a completely different understanding of the food chain.
He’s not a big bull as far as bulls go, which is a good place to start, since we’ve never had a backyard bull before.
Wondwesen (MCC’s General Services Officer) and I found him in a feedlot in Kare, along with several hundred other bulls destined for the Fasika celebration tomorrow. This was one of the smaller lots in town. I was told he came to Addis from Harar, and is therefore tastier than the bigger, slimmer variety.
A professional butcher is coming to the compound at 4:30 tomorrow morning, and we will experience kircha, the traditional way of killing and sharing a bull with a family or neighborhood group (in this case our staff) on Easter morning.
I don’t expect this to be easy. I may be in my room with my head under my pillow until at least 5 o’clock.