Monday, February 25, 2013

SEDA THE PIG, THE FINAL POST

This has been a tough post for me.  Seda the Pig, our sponsored pig for our friends son, has been auctioned and we know he has been "processed".

First the good stuff; he did very well for "T".  He came in THIRD in his class, and 26th out of about 225 pigs (just about top 10%).  There was the Grand Champion and the Reserve Champion and then about 23 other pigs ahead of him.  Not bad at all and we, as are his parents, are very proud of him, this was his first time doing this.  He had never even been around a pig before this, and he is more than willing to do it again next semester.



We went to the auction day to see him and cheer on T.  Seda was in his own separate pen and we got to interact with him for the first time in awhile.  He was a sweet pig, if pigs can be be sweet.  He was very gentle and very intelligent.  He recognized T every time he saw him and would get up and run toward him every morning.  He even had this really cute habit of rolling over onto his side when you scratched his belly.

Now comes the part that's tough.  When we saw him, we knew what the outcome would be.  T knew what the outcome would be.  All of the young men and women there in the FFA barn with their animals knew what the outcome would be.  But even still, it suddenly becomes so real.  "Processing".  What a nice euphemism for what is really the end result, killing and butchering.  I'm not going to dance around the issue, we do love pork.  We love beef.  We love chicken.  We love meat.

It's so easy to run on down to the grocery store and buy that big hunk of meat on the little white Styrofoam tray.  It's all wrapped so neatly in clear wrap and best of all, hey, it's on sale!  Glistening like jewels under the artificial light of the meat counters.  Then there are the big signs nearby with phrases like
"Pork!  The other white meat" or "Beef!  It's what's for dinner".



All of that shields us.  It protects us.  It keeps most of us from realizing the ugly truth.  Sure, those of us with a connection to nature, those that have farms or raise livestock or grew up around it understand, but I would dare say that most of the public just blindly buys their meat at the store, all neat and tidy and wrapped up, and never gives a second thought to it's origin.  I've always said that if most people had to raise and/or butcher their own food, they  would probably rather become vegetarian.  I have the utmost respect for those that do it on their homesteads and farms as I don't think I could.  I'm confident in saying I'd have to become vegetarian after my experience with Seda and even just being around the "nosey cows" of late.


Pig butcher chart, image courtesy of Wikipedia
But this whole process of raising the pig, for us, for T, and for his family, has really opened our eyes to just WHERE our food comes from.  We have learned a whole new respect for these animals.  They are more than lines on a chart.  They are intelligent, they can bond with us, they are alive, they care for their young, they protect them, and most of all, they look you in the eye.  We must make sure they are raised properly and if they are to be "processed", they must be humanely treated in their final moments.

T spent some alone time with Seda after the auction and said his goodbyes.  His mother said he thanked him for helping him, for teaching him, and told him he appreciated the gift he was giving him.  I am told there were quite a few tears shed in the barn that evening for all the animals that had been raised (understandable).  You know, in a way, I think I would be more worried if they didn't have a reaction like that.  It shows me that many young people do care for and have compassion and respect for life.

Here is the last photo I took of Seda.  That's 2nd Man reaching down to scratch his head.  I called Seda's name and he glanced at the camera.  I won't lie, shortly after I snapped this one, I shed a few tears myself.  I would like to thank Seda for giving T new direction in his life and for teaching all of us who came to know him to care about where our food comes from.

Seda 2012-2013
This picture is going to be printed and framed and kept on the photo wall at the farm.  Seda will always have a special place in our hearts.

39 comments:

Janie said...

Very touching. I'm totally with you on that page. I will eat meat, but we try to buy humanely treated meat from local farms when we can. If I had to do it myself, I'd TOTALLY become vegetarian. :-)

Marcia said...

Very touching post. Now is there no way for you to have some of the chops or bacon from Seda?

Tonya @ My Cozy Little Farmhouse said...

That totally made me cry! At the risk of ridicule by some people--I would have to be vegetarian if I had to do it myself as well. I would become far to attached. I do like meat but have discovered the more I learn of industries practices the less meat I consume. Once upon a time meat would have been present at every single meal. Now it is several times a week. While I can't see the hubbs becoming vegetarian, it may be something I could do much easier than originally thought.

I am glad you and 2nd Man have a picture to remember Seda. ((hugs))

1st Man said...

Thank you, I understand completely.

Cathi said...

It's always hard. It should be hard! My Dad always gave me good advice - never give a name to animal you intend to raise for food.

1st Man said...

No, this being a school project or sorts (the FFA), all the livestock is auctioned to the highest bidder (provides money for college) and so he's auctioned off and someone just buys several animals and they are taken away. Most of the meat we found out is donated to shelters and the Boys and Girls Clubs, organizations like that, so that's good too.

1st Man said...

No ridicule at all, I'll defend you! Yep, we would totally become vegetarian as well. You know, we don't eat a lot of meat anyway, as you said, used to be every meal now not so much. Thank you!

1st Man said...

Yes, I like the way you said that, it SHOULD be hard. And definitely wise advice from your Dad! :-)

Kris said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you so much. I do raise all my own meats here at our farm. I can cut off a chicken head with no problem. Or a turkey. But when it comes to the four footed variety, it's a little harder. BUT, I do know why I do this. And that helps. I do name all my animals. Never had a problem with that. We are having lambs right now. Already have had 3 rams and 2 ewes. Of course, the rams will be dinner in the near future. But I can still pick them up and love on them all I want. I do not have a problem with that either. It's when I have to take them to the slaughterhouse in the back of my Trooper, or a trailor, and leave them there on that hard cold concrete floor, with big huge pigs or cows, I do get a little emotional. BUT, when I go pick up the meat, and I know who that was and where it came from, and it's SO good, I am ok. Or when I sell some to friends or strangers, and they call me and tell me how good it is, it makes it all worth it to me. I am ok with it. And your little frind will be ok too. I hope he will get more pigs, or cows, or sheep, and do this all over again. And good for you and 2nd man, for doing what you did. And good for his parents too, for raising such a good kid. He will becoame a great man.

redhorse said...

The trick is to raise several animals who look alike and not give them names. You never know who you're eating, although it isn't quite as anonymous as buying meat at the supermarket. At least I know what they were fed, that they were never mistreated, and that my beef isn't mixed with horse.

kymber said...

i will also defend you Tonya...as 1st Man said - all animals are loving and intelligent when treated in a humane manner. and there are tons of farmers and homesteaders out there who do their own raising and processing and then they live off of the food that they raised so well. it must be a very hard thing to process an animal that you have raised...but i think that if i had to, i could do it. my husband hunts and fishes and we process those animals which i think is much easier as we didn't raise them. and it is one of the reasons why we here, at our small homestead, have chosen not to raise animals. we have access to much local dairy, eggs and meat - all raised in humane and organic manners. we are lucky and i guess you could also say that we are too chicken to do it ourselves.

so Tonya - i completely understand what you are saying.

1st Man - beautiful post! pass on our congrats to T and his parents - they should all be very proud of his raising Seda. i am glad that you and 2nd Man helped out and i hope that you will do it again! i am glad you kept a pic of that gorgeous little guy!

your friend,
kymber

kymber said...

1st Man - i left my comment to you up under your comment to Tonya - did that make sense? see above!

your friend,
kymber

Kev Alviti said...

Nicely written. I'm glad it hasn't put you off meat.

Jonathan D said...

You should read this article, it's fascinating.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/10/science/10angier.html?_r=0

Pigs are also believed to be 4th in intelligence, behind humans, chimpanzees, and dolphins. We don't eat people, or chimpanzees, or dolphins, not sure why we eat pigs. I know chimps and dolphins get eaten of course by some cultures, but my point is they are considered so intelligent that most societies feel it wrong to eat. If pigs are 4th in line, why is that ok? Don't get me wrong, I love pork, but it really has made me think.

Great posting, thank you. Sorry about Seda but you are on the right track in learning.


Johnathan

Susan said...


I have to say my heart gave a bit of a lurch on reading today's topic. Here are a couple of references you might find useful.

"the sacredness that is a result of taking the life of another being to sustain your own”. "For this experience belongs in the category of the profound". http://www.honeygrove.ca/2012/12/on-reverence/

The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour has a chapter on killing animals humanely. Enjoying a tasty meal is the last thing his pigs remember.

'T' will be a wiser and more compassionate man due to this experience. You deserve credit for being part of the process. He was fortunate to have you as sponsors.

Galestorm said...

I rarely eat meat, but when I do I always say a prayer for it's sacrifice of life and I always pray that it died humanely. Slaughter house stories are gruesome! Our food supply is in big trouble with big corporations manipulating everything with eat with GMO's. We all need to be more aware and involved!

Gale

Annie*s Granny said...

You already know how this breaks my heart. Someday I'll blog about "Spike", the little steer who was raised in the pasture across the street. It's been about 13 years, I think, and I still tear up when I remember the day.....

I ate sausage for dinner tonight. Morningstar Farms Veggie Sausage. Tomorrow I'll have a Spicy Black Bean Burger for lunch. Yes, I still eat meat. But I find I eat less and less of it now.

I had a friend who always raised a calf for the freezer. She had a friend who did the same. When the time came, they traded calves, so neither one had to eat what had become their pet.

sheepyhollow said...

Very nice post! It's a very good lesson, to raise your own 'meat', and know where it comes from and the labor involved. I would rather raise my own - or purchase from my neighbors - than the super store meat counter. We name them and I love on them and still shed tears when they're taken to a small farm butcher. The process is as humane as possible! And, we thank God and that makes it a little bit easier.

Susan said...

My apologies to T. I have been remiss. GREAT JOB kid. 3rd in your class and 26th out of 225 is AWESOME. You obviously worked hard and to a high standard. Good for you.

GrafixMuse said...

From the first time you posted about Seda the Pig I knew this day would come. I tried to prepare myself but still shed a few tears especially after viewing the last photo. Thank you for sharing your adventures with sponsoring Seda.

Gammy Tammy said...

I agree with Gale. As one of your newest fans, I really love reading your posts, but ... um... I couldn't read this one. I tried... still love the blog though!!! :)

Anonymous said...

when my husband and I moved to our 4 acreas we put a double wide moble home on the land and built our pig pens. We raised our pigs for weiner pigs and we raised them for the meat. I was the mid-wife to several sows. Breach births needed my help. I was raised on a farm (we did not own it) rented the home and my dad had cow etc. So it was just part of farming; killing and eatting what we grew. What is hard is if a farm accident happened like our goat got caught on a stump while we were out shopping and hung herself. Or our pets would die , that seems the hardest for me. Sorry for your lose but she knew who she could count on to care and feed her. Pigs are really smart animals.

T's Mom said...

This is T's mom. I just wanted to say a big thank you to 1st and 2nd man for your love and support! We had an amazing time raising Seda. I say "we" because I fell in love with Seda too. I enjoyed helping in all aspects of this project...more so than I could have ever imagined. I appreciate all of your readers comments and support too! We plan to raise another pig over the summer. This has taught T so much and he wants to do it all again, despite the goodbyes at the end. Your comments will help to inspire him and teach him even more. We will look at all of your links and blogs in return. Thanks again 1st and 2nd Man...love ya!

Lisa Richardson said...

brought a few tears to my eyes too. :(

1st Man said...

Thank you. I don't know what else to say, you are very kind. Thanks. :-)

1st Man said...

Now that's a good idea actually. I can understand how that would make it easier.

1st Man said...

It made absolute sense, and was very kind and much appreciated. Thank you sweet lady!!

1st Man said...

Definitely not put me off of it, it's taught me a new respect for it. I might try to incorporate more veggies and variety but definitely new thinking about where it all comes from.

1st Man said...

Wow, great observations. Thank you for the link. FASCINATING. Thank you for the info.

1st Man said...

WOW. That was a wonderful link. Very touching. Thank you for this info, I'm going to check out that book. And thanks for the kind words for us. Much appreciated as well. We just wanted to help and we're so glad we did.

1st Man said...

Amen! I like the idea of a prayer of sacrifice. Definitely words to live by.

1st Man said...

Sorry. :-(

1st Man said...

Love you back! We are SO proud of T....he is becoming an AWESOME young man and I think this experience has really had a good impact on him.

Lots of love to you again!

1st Man said...

Definitely smart animals. I never realized that until being around one. Sounds like you have had some amazing life experiences. Not all good of course, but you have an understanding many of us don't. Thank you for sharing.

1st Man said...

Awww, thank you. I totally understand, it was hard enough to write. Big hugs!

1st Man said...

Thank you, yes we knew too and in the beginning it didn't seem like it would be that hard. But it's definitely been a learning experience. I think we learned as much as he did, ha.

1st Man said...

On behalf of him, thank you. His Mom (who posted below) is going to have him read this post and all these comments. Thank you again!

1st Man said...

Thanks. I know if someday we get to that point, I would like to purchase from neighbors as well. Tears can be good and cathartic huh?

1st Man said...

I understand. I am getting misty eyed imaging your story of Spike. We eat a bit less now as well and as the garden grows, fingers crossed, we'll have more veggie incorporated meals anyway.

The idea your friend had about switching was great. I like that. Not sure I could eat something I thought of as a pet.

There is something in those eyes, that's for sure.

Big cyber hugs!