A field trip to the Kill Floor

When I was younger, my mom took us on field trips. We weren't home schooled, but she thought it was important that we see how the world worked. I went to egg factories, egg packaging plants, dairy farms, sheep and popcorn farms, pig farms, museums, nuclear power plants, mines, caves, creameries, government offices, and all sorts of other interesting places. We always complained about going, but we learned a lot.

Once I became a mother, I started taking my kids on "field trips." We visited a lot of historic farms, checked out the landfill, explore a lot of nature preserves and landmarks, and will be touring a chocolate factory soon.

Recently a wildly unimaginable field trip came across my path. I have been in contact with the grass farmer that supplies grass-fed beef products to Target. I learned from them that Target actually approached them and asked to sell their products. Target sells their grass-fed beef for only 10c more per pound than the farm sells it themselves. Go Target!

But that wasn't the only interesting tidbit to come out of our conversation. They invited us to come tour their farm....most notably their killing floor. I'm not sure what to make of this. On the one hand, I want to see. And I want my children to understand. But are they too young? My husband, surprisingly, thought it was a better idea than I did. I wonder if they'd let me record it?

They offered, so I'm imagining a "best-case" scenario. I'm imagining the kind of farms I saw as a child (minus the indifference) and the most humane killing situation possible. I wonder if it will solidify my quest to buy humanely and properly raised animal products or just serve to make me feel even more like a murderer every time I eat meat. If that's even possible.....

14 comments:

Melonie said...

WOW - they must really have something in place that they feel is humane or they wouldn't have invited you out! I'm a new reader, found you via MoneySavingMom blog - I'll definitely become a Follower, if only to learn what you decide and how it goes. As someone who is familiar with Temple Grandin's research I'm really interested in how they do this and what you see!

J. L. W. said...

That is great that you do field trips with your children. I would also be interested in what you see.

I have an award at my blog for you-
http://thepracticalmomguide.blogspot.com/2010/02/blog-awards-ii.html

Mrs. Addison said...

That sounds very....interesting! haha. I would be interested in what you find out too.

I also have an award for you over at my blog! :)

http://www.wonderfullychaotic.com/2010/02/blog-awards.html

Brandette L said...

Personally, this is so NOT something I would ever consider doing or consider having my child see. When I was younger, I use to go on road trips with my grandfather a lot. Our family comes from dairy farmers in CA, so we knew a lot of the dairy farmers. One time, we went on a trip and I can vividly all these years later remember pulling up to this one particular beef farm. We got out of the car, I had no idea. I saw things I can never forget.

Everyone is different though. Before you make the decision, try to think of what you might see (gruesome details and all) and think of it through a very young child's mind. You know your children best, if you think they can process what they see constructively and it won't keep with them in a bad way then go for it.

supermomplace said...

I have been to farms, my younger brother even wanted to be farmer after that. He use to keep chicken and babysit the eggs like baby. he would throw a fit if we eat them. I've seen chicken, turkey, goat, cow killed but looking at your picture I went uhg! lol
this is interesting yesterday i was listening to a christian radio they were discussing that... we know its ok to eat meat, but its bad to mistreat the animal.. so how do you stand for what's right if you don't know where your meat has been? big time hooray for target!

Tammy said...

What's the deal with the picture of the skinned calf??? I like visiting your blog and have been enjoying your post. I liked your post on the Target shopping trip this past week. I took my daughter to pick up a few things because of it.

However, I have to say, "I don't like people who post pictures and video for shock value." I really don't like PETA and believe that most of there footage is old or staged. They have been around for more than thirty years and haven't made that much progress.

I grew up on a farm and we raise ducks and geese. One winter we didn't have very much money or food and had to slaugter the ducks and geese ourselves. It was not a pleasant experience but was very necessary. I was 12 at the time. If your children are younger than 12, I would not recommend taking them to the kill flour.

Animal protein is necessary for proper brain function and growth. If you have daughters, you may want to consider the possibility of triggering an eating disorder. There are cases of eating disorders in children as young as 7 maybe younger. My daughter has an eating disorder and came across the PETA site. She immediately refused to eat meat. She is not healthy enoungh yet to cut out an entire catagory of food (protein and fat). I hope you will consider this before exposing your children to this.

I would like to continue reading your blog but would appreciate a heads up if you intend to post more pictures like the one in this post.

Sincerely,
Tammy

Patiences said...

I think it was great of that company to extend the invitation, especially in these times of food contamination...I guess they have nothing to hide. And only you know how much your kids can handle.

Patiences@thepatientmom.blogspot.com

T Moody Designs said...

What a good idea! Don't like that photo though .lol

Mari said...

I would love to read about your trip. I am making the transition to a vegetarian myself, and if my husband lets me, I want to start a chicken farm so I can raise my own eggs. Like you I want to know exactley where my food is coming from!

Angela said...

Sorry for the horror photo. It is pretty bad. I completely agree that meat is high quality protein, but I also think it's important that people think about what they are eating. And what it costs. Not money.

My dad recently went on a date with a woman who turned out to be a hunter. He said he couldn't date someone who was a murderer. Umm.... any of us who eat meat, share in the murder, whether we are the trigger puller or not. Anyway, I will visit the farm this summer.

I am going to go into the kill floor, and probably come out crying. Since my husband will be with, we'll take turns. My kids understand (as best as a 4 and 5 year old can) that we are eating an animal that was once living, but I don't personally think they are ready to "see" it.

Someday they can and someday we'll discuss the decision to be a vegetarian or not. I'm hoping they'll choose to select better quality food as opposed to giving up any one food group. But my son recently told me "mom, once you die, I'm eating nothing but junk." great.

Tammy, I'm glad you found some good products at Target. I've been seriously loving Target lately. I don't forsee any other gruesome photos (again, sorry). And I'll be posting in the near future about whether eating more fat makes me fat or not.

I've been getting quite a few emails telling me that by drinking whole milk and butter, I may become, let's just say, plump. So far so good. I'm a big believer that processed crackers, chips, and cookies are a bigger threat.

And I've personally killed chickens. We raised them when I was a kid and ate them every winter. It's sad, and horrible, but natural, and sometimes necessary. It does change the way you see things.

Accounting Dude & Frugal Chick said...

I found your post interesting and I have enjoyed following your blog over the last couple of weeks.
My husband was a butcher in high school and college. His family owns a grocery store. He is also a hunter so I have heard many stories. One night he went out with his friends and they got to talking about cows. It turns out one guy raised cows, another knew how to slaughter a cow because he had worked at a slaughter house, and my husband knew how to butcher one. He found it interesting that they all had a different expertise. I just found it odd that three guys in the same group knew something different about a cow. No group of girls would ever talk about something like this.
Do you think the company would let you and your husband go tour the facility before taking your childrens? I think I would find it interesting, but I don't know if my stomach could handle it. I will keep reading to see what your decision is.

Stevie said...

I'm a vegan, so of course I don't believe in eating or using any animal products, but I realize that's not a position held by most people. I certainly applaud your efforts, however, for bringing consciousness into eating. I think being separated from our food supply has been a detriment to out health as well as to the well-being of animals. I have to disagree with Tammy, although I don't agree with PETA on everything, namely they believe the Pit Bull breed should be eliminated (I love Pits; but that's off subject); there's good documentation of factory farm horrors; how else have we been able to get such cheap food? I'm vegan because of the animals, but there are great health benefits(and environmental benefits, as well). For people that want to consume animal products, it's really not advisible to eat animals that come from horrific conditions, you shouldn't be consuming all the antibotics and stress hormones; et al.I'm just heartbroken over the conditions those animals are subjected to just to consume what really is unnecessary. Thanks for bringing up the issue of more humane eating.

supermomplace said...

I found a verse in the bible that says: "the godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel." That struck me since I'm a huge meat eater... When I look into it eating meat doesn't make you a murderer, animal was meant to be eating but cruelty toward animal is just bad. For instance I read that chicken factories (not farm) the chicken have never seen daylight or live a happy chicken life. the baby male chicken are just thrown in the dumpster. Companies like that would never seen my money if I knew. raising awareness is good but eating eating meat is as natural as breathing air. it doesn't make you a murderer! "eat mohr chiken"

Angela said...

Super mom Place, I agree. I have always felt bad about eating animals, but I feel better after having read "The Omnivore's Dilemma." I feel worse about the condition of our nation's "farms" but better about the act of eating animals in general.

I've personally been inside an egg factory farm. IT IS HORRIBLE! No light, no movement, no space, no beaks. There's nothing natural about it. The birds look sick. From sick chickens come sick eggs. Sort of.

I am so excited for spring and our farmer's market to open up again. I'm looking forward to meeting a bunch of the farmers, supporting our local agriculture, and eating a whole lot fresher/healthier. Thanks for sharing your comments everyone. :)

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!

Angela

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