We raise our sheep for meat. They are nice animals and we treat them lovingly. But, at the end of the day, they are food.
There isn’t much room for sentimentality on a farm. We are keeping one of our ewe lambs to expand our breeding stock, but the selection was based on lineage and size – not which lamb we like the most. The other lambs, when they reach 90 to 100 pounds, are “processed”. That is our euphemism for slaughtered and butchered. No sentimentality. They are food.
We are fortunate to have a government-inspected abattoir nearby for sheep and they use humane methods. The inspection stamp on the meat means we can legally sell it in B.C. The abattoir is run by a shepherd who takes excellent care of his flock. We trust him with our sheep. Our butcher is local and does a great job at a reasonable price. Our customers are happy with the product they buy, many saying it is the best-tasting lamb they’ve ever had.
The day we take lambs to the abattoir is full of mixed feelings. We feel proud of the healthy sheep we have raised and happy to provide high-quality food to our customers. We are sad because the lambs will die. We give them extra treats the day before, transport them gently and then thank them for their lives and say goodbye.
There are lots of stories about inhumane treatment of farm animals, and many vegetarians point to those sad facts as the basis for their eating choices. We do our best to ensure our sheep have good lives and are treated respectfully from birth until they arrive on your plate. No sentimentality, but we love our sheep.