We know that Edgar is a cow and that our purpose here is to raise grass-fed calves and beef cattle. As Edgar was abandoned by his mother, we are left to raise him. Right now he resides in a straw-strewn makeshift manger in our cattle-sorting building. He is fed twice a day and often has the doors open for sunlight, or to roam around outside (he just follows whomever he is with) in a larger paddock. When he is a bit older he will be let in with the other calves. Yet he will always be more comfortable with humans.
As he will remain a bull, we will never be able to trust him entirely when he is fully grown. We will keep him here on the farm but we can't do this with every orphan. It's a reality I'm learning to accept. We raise meat, not pets. I only name the ones who stay with us.
But Edgar is now clearly a pet. And cute. And somebody's baby. That's the humanized element to raising animals that we don't eat. The reverse is that we eat some mammals and others we domesticate. It seems odd when you really think about it. For many years buying meat in the grocery store, which we still do on occasion, just made it a more abstract reality. When meat is portioned and pieced and slick-wrapped you don't necessarily think about where it comes from.
This is changing in our food world. People are thinking. They are asking important questions, wanting to know how an animal or vegetable was raised or where and with what means? If they choose not to eat animal products, that's fine, too. But for those who do there are solutions to factory farming. There are sustainable ways to raise or grow our food.
There are studies out now that show how beneficial grass-fed beef is compared to those raised on grain on a factory-farm. It doesn't necessarily have to be organic, either (very few farms are able to be 100% organic but many are close without being official: we are trying to get years of chemicals out of our pastures). Grass-fed beef has lower cholesterol, lower fat, better vitamins and minerals. And the cows were likely happier–although we're not exactly in a position to ask them or even determine this human emotion as applied to bovines.
That is perhaps the main reason we are now living on a farm: we want this sustainability in our own lives and for our children and to live from the land without depleting it.
You come back when you're ready!