Wednesday, December 21, 2016

About those cute, fluffy bunnies...

People get so excited when they hear we live on a farm. Even when I tell them it isn't really recognizable as a farm because it's so tiny and urban, they still fall in love with the idea of it. "You have chickens! And the quail and rabbits are so cute! And you grow stuff! How exciting!"

They want to come see it all for themselves. The kids bring friends over to the house, and while my kids want to stay inside or go to the mall, their friends want to eat things in the yard or try catching a chicken. It's fun, and novel, and exciting!

But it's a little different when you're the one living the daily business of keeping a farm running. I absolutely love it - it's been a lifelong dream, but even a small time deal like ours means daily chores and difficult decisions.

Everything we do here is an investment. The work I put into raising the chickens pays off when they lay eggs, and eventually, they end up in the crockpot. Same with the quail, the rabbits, and the food we grow in the gardens. I put work into it so that I can feed my family nutritious, local, organic food.

Our very first Rabbit Processing Day happened a couple of days ago, and it's already caused some, how can I put it mildly, consternation amongst some of our friends and family. This is the photo that started it. My husband was helping me move the rabbits out into their outdoor run, something that we do every single day that it's not pouring rain.

He captioned it: "Playing with our food!"

Unfortunately, seeing the fluffy bun tummy in conjunction with the word "food" caused some people some distress. The comments, both public and private, started rolling in. People seem to find it upsetting that we are killing our animals.

Here is what I want you to know:

You should know that while the animals in my yard are not "pets", they are loved and cared for at the same level as any pet. I can personally vouch for the health and well being of every animal I raise. These rabbits lived a fabulous life, albeit a short one. Right up until they died, my rabbits had everything a rabbit could want, and they died as peacefully as possible, something I personally saw to in order to keep the promise I made to my animals.

You see, I promise every animal that I bring onto our property it will have a content and safe life, with all the healthy nourishment they need to live as naturally as possible. So for my rabbits - they ran and hopped and leapt over each other, playing and grooming. These rabbits had not only the best food, but as much fresh garden produce and grass grazing time as was possible.

Soaking up some sun in the rabbit run.
All of our animals have safe, secure housing that is adapted to their seasonal needs. Each animal is handled carefully and lovingly every day so that when I do need to care for them, or ultimately, when the end of their life comes, they are calm in my hands, not panicked and afraid.

Her favorite spot for keeping an eye on
the barn's comings and goings.

Daily Lap Time time.
In contrast, the lives of any animal that end up in my shopping cart have been less than ideal at best, horrific at worst. Don't get me wrong; I'm not condemning or judging. In fact, I still buy meat, eggs, milk, etc. at the store, and I know the stories of animal cruelty that's wrapped up in it. It's why I'm trying this different way of living. I'm hoping that by getting my hands dirty, by looking into the eyes of my food as I thank it for giving me its life, I can move into a better, more connected life.

So while I am not condemning anyone for the personal decisions they make, I am asking kindly not to be condemned for mine.