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How can you eat your own animals?

PUBLISHED: 15:52 29 April 2014 | UPDATED: 10:16 30 April 2014

Kate and friends

Kate and friends

MAR 11, 2014: How can smallholders rear animals ... then kill and eat them? Kate Humble says she gets asked this one a lot....

MAR 11, 2014: How can smallholders rear animals ... then kill and eat them? Kate Humble says she gets asked this one a lot....

I asked Jim Beavan a similar question when we were filming for the first series of Lambing Live. Jim and his wife Kate were the brave pair of farmers that agreed to take me on as their apprentice. One morning I helped Jim load two of his ram lambs into a trailer and take them to the local abattoir. We unloaded them into a pen where they would spend the night, before being slaughtered the following morning. “I know you breed sheep principally to sell for meat,” I said to Jim, “but do you, nonetheless, feel a bit sad when an animal that you’ve raised is about to be killed?” Jim tugged his beard thoughtfully. “Look at those animals, Kate,” he said. “They’re in peak condition because I’ve done my job properly and given them a good life, so no, I don’t feel sad. I feel proud.”
We started with chickens. Darryl, who runs our local free-range poultry farm, gave me the name of his supplier and a few days later I went to collect a cheeping box of tiny day-old chicks. Even the very thought of eating them seemed barbaric. Yet in four months (as opposed to the few weeks it will take with intensively reared birds) the chicks had transformed into something that wouldn’t have been out of place in Jurassic Park, with vast feet, bulging, athletic thighs and bolshy natures. Suddenly, eating them seemed like a very good idea indeed. “Right,” said Ludo, “how are we going to kill them?”

Read Kate's full article in our April issue. You can buy the magazine at www.buyamag.co.uk and get it delivered straight to your door

Photo: Kate Humble and friends

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