Last Saturday, we spilled the first blood on our new Alabama Farm. We killed a half a dozen Freedom Rangers for our first Alabama chicken customers and the day went smoothly. It was also the first time we used the processing equipment in the shed behind the house and it looks like the space will work well for us. It needs to; we have over 1,000 birds to process this year!
What’s so significant about killing something; I mean, why not write about our new heifer calf? Because as Christians, we’ve abdicated our killing to a very cruel system that treats the animals and the workers in factory slaughter houses as little more than machines. Do you like your Smithfield ham? Or your Tyson chicken? We might think we like the taste and most of us are addicted to the price, but at the same time, most of us would repel in disgust at the inside of an industrial processing facility. The human working conditions in Tar Heel, North Carolina where they slaughter over 30,000 hogs a day is not something any of us would aspire to. Neither would the fecal contaminated, chlorine bath that “cleans” industrial chicken appeal to our senses. We tolerate it because we don’t see it.
The blood-letting belongs to the believers in Jesus Christ and it ought to be done on the farm where the animal was raised, at least in the majority. Of all people, Christians are the ones who ought to understand and thus be able to teach others why, how, and when we should kill.
Why should we? I mean, why not be a vegetarian? Because of Genesis 9:3-4 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with it’s life, that is, its blood.” This is not only why we can and should eat meat, it is also the how.
How should we kill? The verses above are the instruction to bleed the animal, not shock it, drowned it, decapitate it, gas it, or anything else; we simply need restraint and a sharp knife.
As an aside, another argument to deal with in addition to the vegetarian idea, is the whole Jordan Rubin Maker’s Diet issue that claims we ought to eat as the Jews. But Acts 10:13-15 deals with this plainly. “And a voice came to him, ‘Arise, Peter, kill and eat!’ But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.’ And again a voice came to him a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.‘” So not only were Gentiles not subject to the Jewish dietary laws in the first place, now Jews are not either.
And finally, when do we kill? Do we kill for anger? Sport? Fun? Of course not! The two verses in Genesis let us know that we kill when we need to eat.
So, we kill because God has said we can and should. We kill with a knife, letting the blood flow, because God has commanded us not to eat the life-blood. And particularly today, we need to bring the killing back home to the farm because industrial agriculture has adulterated it, mechanized it, and removed us, the eaters, from it.
The last and one of the most important reasons to bring the blood-letting home is so that we can see it. Why?! Why not simply avoid something so gory? Because our Savior has died for us. Because He packed these visceral, spiritual lessons into our daily lives to teach us spiritual things through the physical realm and our current technology-driven world is rapidly removing them from our sight. He shed his life-blood freely on the Cross so we would not have to die for our sins and in Genesis He gave us the life-blood of the animals so that their flesh, in death, would nourish ours, in life. Is this not beautiful!?
As Christians then, take a few minutes to think of what you ate for the last three meals. Surely at least a couple of those meals involved the flesh of an animal. But how many of you have killed an animal yourself so you and your family could eat? We are terribly removed from the life-lessons God built into our lives so He could draw us to Himself! So in some way, I would challenge you: help bring the blood-letting home. At least find a farmer and buy your food and participate that way. Come and lend a hand at a butchering. Expose yourself and your family to what God gives us through the blood of animals, and then teach your family how great a gift Christ’s blood is for us!