From Pen to Plate: Navigating the Emotional Journey of Farm Life with Pigs

From Pen to Plate: Navigating the Emotional Journey of Farm Life with Pigs

Dear Farm Friends, 

At Alluvial Farms we often hear questions from our clients that revolve around a common theme: the connection we form with our pigs and the ethical considerations involved in raising and eventually processing them. In this blog post, we aim to shed light on these frequently asked questions and provide insight into the complex relationship between farmers and their animals.

**"Do you get attached to them?"**

Yes, we do get attached to our pigs. Our pigs are more than just livestock; they're a part of our daily lives. We watch them grow, nurture them, and care for their well-being. Forming bonds with our animals is inevitable, and it's a testament to our commitment to their welfare. However, our connection with them doesn't make us blind to the realities of our industry. We prioritize providing them with a happy, healthy life while they're with us.

**"How do you not get attached to them?"**

While attachment is natural, we also understand the importance of keeping a professional perspective. We remind ourselves of the purpose they serve in providing sustenance to our community. Our responsibility to raise them ethically and humanely is always at the forefront of our minds. By focusing on their well-being and the quality of life they experience on our farm, we strike a balance between care and purpose. Our pork is certified Animal Welfare Approved by the nonprofit A Greener World. Once a year an auditor from this organization flies out to our farm from Georgia to walk through our systems in person and review our record keeping. They also require that our butcher - the Island Grown Farmers Cooperative - carries an Animal Welfare Approved certificate. 

**"Isn't it terrible to have to kill them?"**

Ending the life of an animal we've raised can be emotionally challenging, but it's a necessary part of our work. We take great care in ensuring that the process is as humane and stress-free as possible. Ethical and humane practices are integral to our farm's philosophy. We believe in the importance of honoring the animals' lives by ensuring a respectful and compassionate ending. Our butcher is a cooperative business called Island Grown Farmers Cooperative. They may be the only USDA inspected butcher in the nation who actually travels farm to farm to slaughter food animals, which reduces stress on animals due to removing travel time. They have requirements for the farmer to provide humane handling for your animals in order for them to be able to come to your farm. They are also in the process of building a humane handling kill floor facility at their brand new plant in Burlington. Here is a photo of the Island Grown Farmers Cooperative mobile slaughter unit at our farm in March of 2023. 

**"How can you eat a pig you raised from a baby?"**

Raising animals for food is a responsibility we take seriously. We believe in transparency and sustainability. When we choose to consume meat from our farm, it is a deliberate choice made with respect for the animal's life and a commitment to minimizing waste. It's essential for us to ensure that every part of the animal is used, acknowledging the sacrifice they've made to nourish our families. For this reason we have a skin care line based on lard rendered from our pigs and a pet treats line based on organ meat from our pigs. 

At Alluvial Farms we encourage an open dialogue about the ethics of farming and the choices we make. We aim to provide quality, ethically raised products for our clients, and we are always striving to find ways to improve our practices and minimize any negative impact.

We hope this blog post helps you better understand the relationship we have with our pigs and the importance of ethical farming practices in our small family pig farm. We appreciate your support and welcome any further questions or discussions about our farm and our values. Together, we can continue to learn and grow in our commitment to responsible and sustainable agriculture.

Until soon, 

Katie & Matthew

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Thank for your farm and this blog! Your work also harkens back to traditional husbandry with the luxuries and burdens of modern farming. Your determination to provide so many great opportunities for community members to be closely connected to their own survival is awesome!

Val Lloyd

Great blog post, you certainly have your priorities straight. It is rewarding to raise animals for food and for pleasure but as you detail treating them humanely and ensuring they live the good life on the farm is the highest priority. It comes through in quality and hopefully in building a solid and loyal customer base. Excellent work Katie & Matthew

Dave Finet

Interesting information. Thanks!

Pat Braman

Thank you for sharing this blog post! I think this is a very important topic to be covered, and it is great learning more about the commitment you have to your animals. It is nice to learn that the Island Grown Farmers Cooperative travels to the farms directly, as it is so awful thinking about that last journey a lot of animals have to take between their home and where their lives end.


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