Eating Your Friends: Homesteading with Animals (Video)

coyote proof goose house photo

Image credit: Peak Moment TV

From backyard permaculture to a young couple downsizing to live simply, Peak Moment TV has shared a variety of different approaches to sustainable living. Their latest episode is a visit to a four acre homestead in a town called Rough and Ready (yes, really!) in California. But vegans be warned - you're unlikely to dig Mark Cooper's views on the role of animals in a sustainable system.Cooper and his family live on a 4-acre homestead that they moved into 9 years ago. At the time, the farm house was falling down, and the land was covered in brambles and mud. The video explains how Cooper and family used a progression of animals to clear the land, and to turn grassland into valuable protein. From goats to geese to Tibetan yaks, Cooper is clearly fond of keeping animals, but there is little room for "pasture pets" in his vision for sustainable living—however fond he is of them, the animals are ultimately there to contribute to the dinner table.

From backyard slaughter in West Oakland to hog butchery workshops in New York, by now the topic of getting more personal with your meat is a common one on TreeHugger. And while some will always see killing animals for food as wrong, whichever way you do it, there's no doubt in my mind that sustainable, responsible animal husbandry sure beats factory farming any day.

But beyond being simply "better than factory farms", this video is a clear demonstration of what animal husbandry does offer—namely an efficient way of turning grass and other vegetation into stuff humans can actually eat. (With a healthy side dressing of poop for the garden too.) Whether these ends justify the means will depend on your own personal ethics around meat eating and animal rights, but with vegan organic agriculture still somewhat of a rarity, I for one am a believer.

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