I have met quite a number of vegetarian chefs who serve meat on a regular basis. In fact, it isn’t really uncommon. U.K. native Jay Wilde is also vegetarian. The difference is, he owns a cattle farm. After sending his cows to the slaughterhouse for 6 years, he recently decided he could no longer do so. Instead, he sent his remaining 59 to an animal sanctuary.
“I began to see that cows recognize each other, and they’ve got very good memories. They experience a range of emotions – they can be sad, happy, bored or excited. They do also have facial expressions. You can tell what a cow is thinking by looking at them. I’ve even seen cows cry.”
Giving up his cattle meant Wilde would also have to say goodbye to a potential £40,000 paycheck for his herd. However, Wilde seems to be at peace with his decision, knowing his beloved “pets” are now with Hillside Animal Sanctuary.
“I know farmers are supposed to have a very matter-of-fact attitude about their animals and think they’re only here as a crop but, when you know them, you do realize that they do have individual personalities. They’re alive, not in a human way, but they do have their own experience of the world and it must be terrifying to be sent for slaughter. It just didn’t feel a good thing to do.”
Wilde is now a vegetable farmer who works alongside 11 free-roaming cows. He plans to open up a vegan restaurant accompanied by a teaching kitchen and accommodation.
Looks like I’m getting on a flight to England!