Compassion in Farming

Sherlock Holmes 003Compassion,  in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth  if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to  mankind.
Albert  Schweitzer

As I totaled up our egg collection yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to find we had a record-breaking day. A whopping 15 eggs were laid  from our 30 laying hens. An amazing number for a cold and dark day in December! My husband just completed 4 new nest boxes this past weekend, totaling 8 , and a new hay manger for the goats. The hay manager has been designated dual purpose by the chickens, as it’s an excellent place to lay eggs. This doesn’t seem to bother the goats; they just munch around them.

This morning as I watched the chickens flood out of the barn ( some running, some slowly walking and others flying over my head) I again thought about our upcoming audit by Animal Welfare Approved on January 3rd. I have considered calling and cancelling the audit because we are such a small farm, only selling about 7 dozen eggs a week. What I realize though is that those 7 dozen eggs are filled with so much love and compassion, that they deserve to be given the stamp of approval from the very respected AWA. I want to be a part of spreading the message that it matters how we treat animals that produce or become our food.

My disappointment in the majority of our food producers is spurring me on to not just look at what my family is eating, but what we are all eating. It is appalling to watch video footage of farms that claim to be free-range, yet  hens barely have an inch to move and live out short, stressful un-chicken like lives. The deception bothers me as much as the inhumane treatment.  It makes shopping for the average consumer difficult to decipher which farms are telling the truth about their animal welfare practices. The corporate giants tell us a story that we want to hear, and paint a picture (sometimes painted on the egg carton itself) of the idyllic family farm. The problem is that in our culture, the idyllic family farm is not a very profitable venture, especially if you really consider the welfare of the animals living within it. When decisions are made primarily out of profit seeking,  the lines of compassion are quickly blurred.

This topic of ethics in farming has brought me down a rabbit hole that I have not yet surfaced and probably never will.  It has made me re-think farming altogether. What I do know though is that even if I chose to become a vegan today, and shut the door on animal farming all together, the door being shut is just an illusion. As long as there are people eating and using animal products, the door is wide open for everyone. I absolutely need to be apart of the solution, and continue to strive to be what I want the world to be.  There are not many absolutes in truth, so it makes it difficult to find answers to these difficult questions. So for today, I do my part by raising hens that get to stretch their legs, take a dust bath, scratch the dirt, eat lots of bugs, ravage a garden, lay eggs in solitude, bask in the sunshine, and just be a chickens.  After all of their bountiful laying years have waned, they will continue to be loved and honored at our Welcome Tree Farm.

Ideas to consider:

Seeking out an Animal Welfare Approved farm to purchase meat, eggs and dairy products from…

Eating less meat and animal products so that we lessen our dependence on industrialized farming and the small family farmer has a chance to make a living wage…

To open the door to awareness about where the food we eat comes from, and that it does matter…

Wholesome, nutritious and humanely raised food should not be a choice only for the wealthy…

To do one thing today that maybe inconvenient or out of your norm, that helps move us in the direction of compassion for all…


5 Comments on “Compassion in Farming

  1. Thank you Denise for again giving much to think about. Wow, 15 eggs! You’ve been working so hard to get ready for your audit. Very impressive.


  2. I think today’s farming practices have launched eating wild game & fish, hunted legally of course, to the forefront of ethical consumption of meat.


  3. Such Inspiring Ideas And Concepts. Your Stories And Predicaments Make Me Both Laugh And Cry, Such Touching Family Life Lessons Learned. Thanks For Writing Them For Us To Read.


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