Raising a happy cow that lives in the herd all her life eating gass only to send them off to the butcher in the hands of a stranger is like raising a princess only to send her off to the whorehouse.
- quote by unknown
I wish we were allowed to kill the cows ourselves on the farm. Unfortunately until now we are not. Happily this could change very soon!
I have recently attended a visualisation (drawing) workshop by Roland Siegenthaler (echtpraktisch.ch) where he equipped us with the tools to visualise some of the problems and ideas that we are dealing with in our work.
So here is the story of Veranda, a lovely cow from our farm.
Dear Veranda had a happy life on the pasture.
When she is grown up, that dreadful day comes when farmer Benni has to send her off to the butcher.
Veranda is under enormous stress from the transport and arriving at a strange and hostile place.
Joggi goes to a fancy restaurant ordering a juicy organic T-bone steak. Joggi is sure that he ordered a healthy piece of meat. But what he doesn't know is that the steak is full of stress hormones. In fact, the steak tastes a little sour. But Joggi doesn't notice it because he never ate meat from an animal that didn't die stressfully.
Pretty soon, eating all those stress hormones Joggi feels stressed as well.
So what could the solution be?
Farmer Benni doesn't send Veranda to the butcher to be killed. Veranda goes out to the pasture just like she does every day and farmer Benni says a last thank you to Veranda and kills her when she is calm and in her familiar environment. Veranda had a happy life. From the first day to the last.
This time when Joggi orders a steak from Veranda it not only tastes better, it is also much healthier.
Joggi never had such a great steak in his life! And he feels happy, not just because it tastes so great but because he has never eaten a steak that did not come from a stressed animal.
Drawing this illustration was part of Roland Siegenthaler's workshop. We had 10 minutes to complete the task. I am aware that a complicated topic has been drastically simplified here.
Below you can see a video from Mai 2015 of the first 'pasture killing' of a cow that has ever been authorised in Switzerland.
Notice how the rest of the herd remains calm even after the cow is shot.