Monday, August 15, 2011

I do not Eat Sheep Meat

When I was young we lived in New Zealand for a  year; a country known for its sheep production.  Lamb was not exactly "cheap", but it was a common food in the area - and New Zealand lamb is exported world wide as a prime meat choice.

I never liked the taste of it, I always found it "gamey".  My mom, and everyone else in the family, loved it, and mom served it with mint sauce. Now, back in Canada, I keep sheep as pets, they mow the lawn, and I do not eat the meat.  To me it is no different than eating any other pet.

The term "lamb" is used to refer to the meat of any sheep under the age of one year old.  In some parts of the world the term "hogget" is used to denote the meat of an animal that is young, one year of age or so.  "Mutton" refers to the meat of a more mature animal, and is tougher. 

The age when the lamb is slaughtered can be broken down into more specific terms depending on the country it is slaughtered in.  Baby lamb comes from animals slaughtered between 6 and 8 weeks of age.  Most lamb is "Spring" lamb, coming from animals slaughtered between 3 and 5 months of age.

As I said I do not eat lamb.  I grew up in the city, and never learned the "mental" ability to kill my own meat.  I am a hypocrite in that I can raise lamb, but cannot even eat it, and having kept these animals (and chickens) as pets, I find myself becoming almost vegetarian!  Even so, I understand that some people do eat meat, and as such try to make sure my animals have good lives before they are sold. 

Sheep tend to be one of the luckier livestock animals in that for the most part (except for mulesing) in that they are not subjected to some of the cruel mass farming techniques that other livestock animals endure (such as feedlots). 

One thing we did notice is that the ethnic buyers prefer lambs that are left natural.  They do not want them wethered (castrated), they do not want their tails docked.  This is something producers should keep in mind if they wish to market their lambs to ethnic buyers (those from the middle east).

Lambs are usually slaughtered by being stunned and having their throats cut, being hung by one (or both) legs to allow the blood to drain.  Kosher slaughter is done when the animal is fully alert, meaning its throat is cut but it is not stunned first, they do not want the animals to know they are going to be killed, they do not want the animals to be afraid.

1 comment:

  1. Reading your last paragraph makes me sad....
    Lambs are seriously too cute to be eaten :-(