I did an internship with a farmer that raised sheep and goats for meat. For a year I spent about 30 hours working directly in the management of these animals, learning about how they live, what they need to survive and in general what the are like.
They are not like humans, and they are little like dogs and cats.
They eat when they are hungry and have food available, and if they are hungry and there is no food available they will work to find it, they sleep when they are tired and they poop and pee when there bodies tell them too, with no regard to where they are.
Sheep are the least domesticated of domesticated animals, with horses, cow and goats much more acclimated to living with humans. They can be nearly wild when raised in the right environment.
After I completed my internship, I wasn’t ready to make farming my future and went to work as the chef at a preschool. It was a fun job where I worked in a kitchen inside the kindergarten classroom.
My favorite part of the day was story time, when the teachers would read aloud to the class. It was like having my own entertainment, and with my love of books it was a perfect fit to my self. I will never forget reading the story of Billy Goats Gruff. Not so much the story, but my reaction to it. I was appalled at the idea of giving human characteristics to animals, because from my direct experience, they are not human, and have little resemblance to humans.
But we don’t know that anymore.
We live in a world where we don’t understand what it is like to raise animals. We don’t understand what they are like. Nowadays, most people are so far removed from where their food comes from. They have little of no understanding of animals that don’t live in their home.
Julie Moreno is a chef and writer, now trying to get more people to cook their own food and understand where it comes from. She lives in the middle of California, where she’s learning to landscape with fruits and vegetables. Find her blog at The Wooden Cutting Board and Facebook @thewoodencuttingboard