Meat Reality Day

Rohan meat reality

A few weeks ago I was trawling Instagram, scrolling through the hundreds of pictures that had been uploaded within the last couple of hours. A picture caught my eye. A photo of a dead bird, cut through the throat, lying on the ground between a man’s boots. The caption read “Years ago I decided to distance myself from relying on supermarket and butchers meat. I decided that if I was to continue eating meat I’d have to kill it myself. If you’re interested in this approach you can come on Sunday to a meat reality day where you will dispatch a bird, pluck it and gut it.  I can’t let you eat it, I’ll feed you with some of my mates pork instead. There are a few spots remaining. Link in profile.”

I clicked on the link.

This last 12 months have been huge.  Welcoming Elliot into our family and then owner building our house were life consuming.  Through that adventure we lost our focus a little, forgot what the important things to us were.

So I clicked on the link and was directed through to Whole Larder Love.  I contacted Rohan about taking Elliot with us, and he was most accommodating, and so it was settled.  I booked two places, and called J to let him know what he was in for.

Upon arrival we found there were about 25 of us in total. 25 people willing to learn this hard to stomach skill, 25 people willing to look their meat in its face, 25 people who were hoping to make a small shift in their lives and start living more simply. It was so lovely to spend the day with likeminded people. Elliot did the rounds, chatting to anyone who’d pay him attention, and snoozing in the portacot in the caravan.

I was absolutely, tear inducingly confronted when it was my turn.  We had started with the geese, bloody big birds, there was a few to go before moving on to the smaller ones (roosters and ducks), but I knew that Elliot was due to wake any minute.  If I didn’t dispatch a bird now, then I’d lose my chance and my balls!

I stood there, tears welling in my eyes before swiftly slitting the throat of the animal.  I snapped its neck back to be sure that I done the job, handed Rohan the knife and stepped back.  People clapped in support, those who had been before me knew that it was tough, and those still to come were as confronted as I’d been.

The rest of the day was spent dispatching birds one by one, plucking and then finally gutting.  Once all the work was done we sat down to enjoy some wine and some lunch.  We chatted to others about why they’d decided to make the long journey from Melbourne. We chatted about our dreams for a simpler future and about ways we could achieve this is urban environments.

What really got me, what’s shaken me to my core is… well I honestly can’t put it into words.  But something has changed.  I feel so strongly about buying locally, growing what we can, minimising trips to the supermarket.  The day was so much more than meat reality to me, it was a reminder of how I want to live, in every way.  Reminded me what makes me tick.

It was food reality.

17 thoughts on “Meat Reality Day

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I’m a meat eater & have genuinely wondered about this in the past; people who live on/grew up on farms manage this sort of thing but it’s easy to be so very removed from this in suburbia. I don’t know if I would ever do it but I think it’s important to recognise where your food comes from.

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  2. What a brave and wonderful thing Clare. I eat meat and so enjoy it but cannot shake the guilt so I try to not eat it too often. I don’t think I could do this but I am going to take your experience on board and make a bigger effort to source locally, ethically raised meat.

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    1. Thanks Nicole. It was a tough one, but I’m glad we did it. We aren’t able to grow and kill our own meat, but like you I plan to think a bit more about where it comes from.

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  3. I’m sure that was a very difficult moment for you as it would be for me. But I think those animals are very fortunate as I believe they suffer so much less than being herded into trucks and dropped off at the abbotoir xx

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  4. This post was really moving and I know I too, would have a lot of trouble doing this the first (or second, or tenth) time. I also know however that this is a skill I really want to learn at sometime in my life and was largely unaware of how to really go about it. Lots of light and love for you Clare, it was obviously a very confronting moment in time, but you’ve come out having reinforced your core beliefs around sustainable and local food. Go girl!

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  5. Wow this is a confronting post and yet I admire your honesty. I am vegetarian and I am very squeamish. I know people who don’t want to think about where their meat comes from but I admire others who actually understand and appreciate that there is killing required to eat meat, because I think we would have very different diets if we were not so removed from the process. (Though I am still ambivalent about the family I know who not only named their chickens but wrote their names on the carcasses in the freezer for family meals.)

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  6. A great piece of writing Clare… I eat meat and poultry, and adore animals and birds, but would be terribly squeamish about despatching an animal. Thank you for sharing your experience. And lovely to meet you at EDB!

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