Teaser 213: Livestock For the Garden of Peace

Livestock was another discussion. We all agreed goats and sheep should be purchased or arranged through some barter locally. Sheep were few in the immediate area as we all knew and we would most likely procure their numbers closer to Bamako and have to truck them to the compound. Goats would be easiest but we would start with a few locally and arrange with members of the immediate community for their care, for whatever “payment” suited them, whether it be money, food, or other items. The same arrangement we would use for the sheep. Chickens would first require two coops, one for the hens only to produce infertile eggs, and one for the rooster and its “harem” as I preferred to call it to everyone's amusement, to produce fertile eggs for more chickens. Those tied to the compound would be responsible for the chickens, but if the endeavor was successful we could share the bounty with the community. We would need fencing for all livestock.

We decided cattle, while desirable, had many drawbacks, including the biggest one. The foraging requirements were much greater and there simply was very little foraging available. It would take miles of driving the cattle daily. There were very few cattle in the Gossi area for this reason and any cattle we brought would be competing with what already existed. This was out of the question to me and all agreed. It would easily become a contentious issue, so we decided any shortfall of milk would be picked up locally, if available, or we would buy it or arrange it from aid organizations, or produce milk from the goats. Beef, should we want any, would come from local sources, too. We would slaughter animals ourselves. No one really liked to consider it, but we were reminded of Muslim requirements for animals slaughtered. When we follow these requirements the Muslims who choose to become part of the cooperative will be satisfied. We have to remove every item of contention within our power. This is easily within our power. “Besides,” I argued with a smile, “when we stand around and watch an animal slaughtered so we may continue to exist, perhaps it will convince many of us to consider a more appropriate vegetarian diet.” I like meat as much as anyone else. If you like meat, though, you cannot get around slaughtering an animal. Someone has to do it. It's only fitting you should have to slaughter the animal yourself if you want it so much.

- Just Desserts, Segment Twenty-SixAn African Experiment Begins” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021

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