Animal-free farming - A painful farewell, but a step towards sustainability

The loss of our faithful and lovable donkey Kolja in spring hit us deeply. Over the years he had made an important contribution to the management of our grassland together with our 13 sheep and 2 goats. Their manure was invaluable to us because we farm organically and use circular economy to generate all the nutrients ourselves.

As a vegetarian family, it was clear to us that we would not slaughter our animals or use them for sale as food. Instead, they could grow old and die naturally. Very unusual at a time when animals are often only seen as factors of production. Our oldest chicken reached the proud 8 years - an age that a German broiler chicken would never reach, as it is usually slaughtered after 7-15 weeks.

For a long time we have been thinking about how we can generate our nutrients more sustainably and sensibly. An alternative to keeping animals is to care for our grassland by composting the grass clippings and feeding the valuable compost to our Jerusalem artichoke fields. Now that our donkey has unfortunately died and the lovable social component is missing, we have decided with a heavy heart to give our sheep and goats to a small farm in the Swabian Alb and to start with the alternative management of the grassland. Since mid-July we only have chickens and cats.

The step feels unusual and empty at first, but from an ecological point of view it offers numerous advantages. We hope that it is an important step towards even more sustainable agriculture, where the focus is on building and regenerating the soil. Our grass clippings now find their place on field heaps, where we turn them into valuable compost. With this approach, we continue to focus on the circular economy and contribute to the preservation and improvement of our soils.

We are confident that our decision to go animal-free is ultimately a step in the right direction - for sustainable, healthy agriculture and for our soil.

Georg Lindl
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