This morning at about 6am we took our Jacob wether to the abattoir. When we got our 5 Jacobs last November we knew that we would kill and eat the wether (castrated male) as we had no long term use for him. He was a lovely boy and he had two good years living both with us and his previous owner. It is not an easy thing to do, but if we want to eat meat we have to face up to the reality of where it comes from. Taking our animals personally to the abattoir makes me realise the value and true cost of meat. I can’t hide from the reality of it and pretend that meat just magically appears. Meat requires killing and death. Animals should therefore always have a good life and a quiet death.
Knowing this is one of the reasons I don’t eat much meat and it is the reason I only eat my own meat or meat that I know the provenance of. It also means that when I do eat it, I really enjoy it. I also prefer to eat it at times of celebration and sharing. We have friends and family visiting in a few weeks and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the life of our lovely sheep than by eating him with those we love.
Not a single bit of him will be wasted. I don’t just ask the butcher for the favourite joints. I strongly believe in the nose to tail principle and I will use every bit of him. I will roast the head, make haggis from his stomach, lungs and offal, the bones will go to the dogs and each cut of meat will be enjoyed and appreciated. I might sneakily eat the sweetbreads all to myself though as I am just a little bit greedy! Even the eyes and horns will get used – yes Belle, I am getting them for you. I thought about getting the blood for cooking or for the dogs, but there were a handful of sheep in ahead of him and it wasn’t practical to wait for such a small amount. I do collect the blood fro the pigs though as I adore black pudding.
The dogs, hens, alpacas and other sheep came to say goodbye – well probably not, I imagine they were just curious in case there was a chance of treats – and I drove him carefully to Ruse and Sons. I cannot express how thoughtful and careful the people are who work there. They share their knowledge generously; they always have time, nothing is rushed and this sensitivity and respect carries over to their treatment of the animals. Our boy was in good hands for his final journey.