The cows at Circle C Farm are noticeably happy. They are free to roam, to be inquisitive and curious, and lively. We visited to learn more about humanely raised livestock in Southwest Florida.
But some of those who follow the vegan lifestyle will tell you there is no humane way to end a life.
“The big thing, I think, in defining humane, is the humaneness in which animals are raised, is about the environment they’re raised in and how they’re handled,” said Nicole Kozak, who runs the farm with her husband, Manny.
“Everything is out in an environment in a way it’s supposed to be. They’re not feed lotted, they’re not contained in small pastures.”
The managers at the farm say they form a sort of attachment to the livestock they raise. Not so much to the individual, but to the philosophy of treating them humanely.
But it still brings up the interesting question of what it’s like to raise these animals just to reach the moment where they must be put down.
“We know that that animal is getting the best opportunity in their environment for the entire period of being on grass, out pastured, and free ranged the way it’s supposed to be,” Kozak explained, “And in that split second when we do harvest, when it comes to a quick end, it’s done with respect and out of gratitude for what that animal is bringing to us, no matter which species it is.”
Kozak says some have had their mind switched from being vegan back to eating meat after visiting this farm.
“Many people have expressed that their concern about eating meat isn’t necessarily from the actual eating of the meat. It actually goes back to the conditions of which most animals, not all, but many animals in the big food system, how they’re handled,” said Kozak.
She continued, “Individuals have made choices, and we respect that. But it’s good to know we’ve had some who didn’t eat meat before, and now they’re starting to eat meat again because they’ve seen us for the last couple of years and they’ve seen the pictures on the farm or come out for a tour of the farm and they realize that, ‘hey, this is different.’”
If you’re interested in humanely raised, grass fed meat, Kozak mentioned there’s a misconception that it’s more expensive. She says that’s not true.
“In fact, in many cases, they’re less expensive and clearly a better quality and flavor,” she said.