Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Raising Animals, Or Not

Lately I have felt like I need my own cow. Maybe a few chickens, too.

Right now the main issue keeping me from rushing out to... wherever one buys livestock... is that my husband hates animals.

Okay, he doesn't *hate* animals. He hates OWNING animals. He used to raise Irish Setters, which will turn anyone off dogs. And our cats, our "cats are never really any work" cats, have been nothing but furry meowing headaches since we acquired them.

I'd say chickens are out of the question. Cows, WAY out of the question. But here is why I still pine for a herd of my own.

  1. I could use a constant, low-cost source of milk and eggs. Livestock could also be low-cost meat if I was brave enough to stick a knife into a creature not already cooked medium rare.
  2. Raising animals places you squarely in an agricultural lifestyle--early to rise, early to bed, in touch with the earth and its seasons, etc. This appeals to me, in theory at least.
  3. It's good for the kids. 4-H is a great program! Also, despite my attempts to dissuade them, my children are convinced that farms are animal utopias where the cows and pigs cavort on green pastures and have cow parties with alfalfa tea. This is kinder than the truth, I suppose.

There are many good reasons not to raise animals--my grandparents had a farm when when I was growing up, so I am more than aware of about a hundred of them--but that doesn't stop me from feeling that longing when my friend complains of having no way to use up the eight gallons a day of organic, fresh milk that her cow produces.