The Emotional Toll of Raising an Animal for Meat

          I have people ask me all the time “how can you eat or butcher an animal that you have taken care of?  Don’t you get attached?”  Seven months ago, I said no, I don’t get attached.  That’s because up until that point, I only raised poultry for meat.  And chickens, well, they’re chickens.  Sure, I felt something while I was killing, plucking, and gutting them. And every single bird that I killed, I thanked for its sacrifice. I don’t appreciate them any less, I just never got attached.  
​           I hauled my pigs away to the slaughterhouse this morning after caring for them day in and day out for the past seven months and raising them from thirty to three hundred pounds. I can’t help but reflect on the whole experience that has taken a toll on me emotionally in a way I didn’t expect.
,           Pigs are not like chickens, they have big, incredibly hysterical personalities that are akin to a dog’s.  They greet me at the fence everyday whether it be because I’m going in to feed them or just walking by.  Whatever the circumstance, they come barreling down squealing and grunting with tails wagging hoping for a good scratch behind the ears or perhaps a snack.  Their eyes are human-like that show expression, emotion, and they really look at you.  It is impossible not to get attached to an animal that’s so intelligent and personable.  
             Taking them this morning I had my doubts.  I thought, should I be doing this? As much as it tore me up inside to drop them off sending them to their slaughter, even still having them wagging their tails and trying to get scratches through the stock trailer, I know in my bones what I’m doing is right.  I am a meat eater.  This will not ever change, and I can’t stand the thought of eating some animal raised on a cement pad in a building that never gets to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.  That is no life, and not how animals should be raised.  Just because they are our food, does not mean that they don’t deserve a quality life.  We are what we eat after all, and they are what they eat.  
            So, does it take a toll on me that I sent my beloved boys off to be killed so I can eat? Yes, I am sad.  And yes, I cried as I pulled away.  But, the thought of supporting factory farming, the mistreatment of the animals, and their poor diet wears on me heavier.  My pigs had the ultimate life for the past seven months.  They rooted to their heart’s content, wallowed, took naps in the shade of the woods, played in the summer’s rain, and they ate damn good.  Knowing that I did right by them, and gave them the best life they could have possibly had solidifies that I know I did the right thing.  
            Bacon Face and Piggy Cent will always be our first pigs, and for that they will be remembered and will always be special to us.  We learned so much from them, and yes, they were loved.  We will continue to do what we are doing, and although I may be able to become less attached overtime, it will never be easy.  If it does, then I fear that I have become detached from the reality of the situation or somehow become less appreciative of my animal being sacrificed so I can eat. And that is not okay.  The point of all of this is to be up close and personal with my food, know where it comes from and how it’s raised.  With that exposure comes some level of attachment.
           So, I will allow myself to feel sad and miss them.  But, I also look forward to the delicious and incredibly nutritious food they will provide and next year’s piglets.  Even as I sit here and type this, I look out my office window to where right about now I would see them sprawled out taking a nap in the mid-day sun, and I miss them.  So I will let myself feel sad and miss them, but I will move on and continue to do this.  Even if it isn’t easy, I know it’s right, and makes me appreciate my time with them that much more.
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Waiting to meet you…. GlennArt on October 14

October has begun with great weather for goats.  The girls are relaxing and enjoying the shades of autumn.  Come meet them from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on October 14.  We hope to see you at the Garden and the Pasture.  Both the Root Riot Garden and the Pasture are located at 450 N. Waller, which is one block north of Lake Street and three blocks east of Austin Boulevard.   Blues music is provided.  

In addition to GlennArt Products like chevre and honey, Happy Apple Pie Shop will also be selling mini pies.  They are also providing us with a taste of  their  specialty cookies with our lemonade.

Here is our press release found on this website:

See you there!

Building with Strawbales

The Course

In this two-day course we will present you with an opportunity to assess the opportunities for strawbale building in your life, whether you wish to build your own home, construct a chook shed or just decide if strawbale is the right medium for your project.

We take you through the theory and design of strawbale building as well as actually building part of a strawbale structure and we’ll discuss load-bearing versus pole frame structures, various wall shapes, foundations, plastering options, floors – earthen, concrete and wood.

You will learn through lectures, practical activities, case studies, videos, slides and a wealth of printed material.

In past workshops we have built an extension to the homestead at The Food Forest, a commercial coldroom, the ‘Eco Gazebo’, the ‘Studio’, an indoor/outdoor food preparation entertainment area and a beautiful sculptured garden wall using this extraordinary medium.


  • Basic construction techniques
  • Load-bearing vs pole frame structures
  • Design principles and site assessment 
  • Doors and windows 
  • Natural finishes 
  • Floors, foundations and roof options 
  • Fire, termites and rodents 
  • Building regulations and Council approvals
  • Costs
  • Builders, Contractors, Owner Builder comparisons

Pricipal tutors

Lance KairlGerald WittmanBohdan DorniakGraham Brookman and Annemarie Brookman.

Bookings & Refunds

  • The organisers reserve the right to cancel the course with one week’s notice if registrations are insufficient. In this case a full refund will be made.

Fact sheets on strawbale building