We don't view our animals as commodities, but as part of the greater ecosystem of Creation. We try to be good stewards by treating our cattle, pigs and chickens in a respectful and responsible manner. Our herds are raised exclusively in nature (with access to shelter during bad weather), just as cattle and pigs have been raised throughout natural history until the past few decades.
Our stewardship of the land and animals goes beyond the cattle and pigs that graze the pastures. We use Regenerative Land Management to mimic the movement of herds on grasslands and savannas by working within the natural ecosystem instead of trying to shortcut it. The ecosystem on our farm includes birds that eat harmful insects and keep our herds happy and largely pest-free. Dung beetles rapidly process the "solid waste", err, manure, from the herds. And last, but not least, the soil and its billions of microscopic creatures play largely hidden, but significant part in raising food for humanity.
We proactively work with nature's food chain, using only sun, soil, and rain, and natural herd movements to grow sweet grasses for our animals to eat. All species naturally fertilize the land, and our soil is again a living organic medium that teems with life.
This process actually builds soil. As topsoil is added each year, the increased fertility makes the mixed native grasses grow faster, supporting the food intake of a larger herd size than what would be possible to support on a conventionally grazed pasture. The organic matter, or humus, that develops with the topsoil growth leads to increased water retention, soaking up heavy rains like a giant sponge, leading to less flooding downstream and drought resistance during dry times.
Raising animals this way is not the cheapest method in the short term, but current levels of topsoil loss in areas farmed by "conventional" agricultural methods is unsustainable and can only lead to global food shortages. So this is the right way - for the sake of our animals, our environment, and for the people who eat our products. Stewardship of our farm is not a passing fancy; it is a lifestyle decision and a core value of our family.
"Creation is the primary and most perfect revelation of the Divine." –Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274)