Farmer Wedding Celebrates with Farm-Raised Cow for Dinner

For his wedding, this CCE livestock educator served a cow that was born, raised and slaughtered on their farm.  


On Farm Slaughter Wedding Cow

The wedding helped showcase their animal husbandry by slaughtering a cow onsite (prior to the wedding) and serving it as part of their wedding dinner.
Courtesy of Jason Detzel


recently got married on my farm, in front of my family and friends. To augment that event, we decided to showcase our animal husbandry and respect for our guests by slaughtering a cow onsite and serving it as part of our wedding dinner — this took place the week before not during the wedding, in case you were wondering. I have slaughtered my fair share of animals on the farm, but this was the easiest and most efficient that it has ever been thanks to my new mobile processor. 

This animal was born on the farm. It ate grass, drank from ponds, followed me around, and lived the type of life that I wish for anyone on earth: full of peace, family, and food. Two weeks ago, I moved the herd to the front of the farm and with its head in a treat bucket, the grass finished heifer was dispatch quickly and humanly. No panicked ride in a trailer for hours over highways, no poking and prodding to walk up ramps, no strange smells, shadows, or trucks to spook her or get her worked up. Simply stunned and killed in an instant. 

This is how I wish every slaughter could be, and I hope that my eventual demise is as peaceful and beautiful. The picture shared here is from that slaughter day at the farm. We had considered filming this to show others the proper tools and techniques necessary to do the job quickly and correctly, but were fearful that some would find it distasteful and complain — and yes, I understand that. But I also understand and believe that you cannot respect life if you do not respect death.  

We are more removed from the process and realities of death than at any other time in our history. Many different industries have worked very hard to conceal every facet of the process, whether animal or human. I personally feel that we are doing ourselves and culture a great disservice. I’m not advocating for slaughter in the streets, what I am asking is that you think about how and where your animal was dispatched prior to it ending up on your plate. This is about respect for ourselves, for the planet, and for the animals that feed us. 

I am proud that we nourished the animal, we cared for it, and now it will provide for us. Not only that, but more than a few folks told me it was the best beef that they have ever tasted — and have asked if they could purchase some to make at home. Unfortunately, I cannot legally sell this beef as it was not processed in a USDA facility that would have inspected the meat and approved it for resale. So I will have to settle for giving some away, while eating my way through the 550 lbs. of beef in my chest freezer. Oh, and for those of you keeping track, this animal cost me about $3.50 per pound to produce. That means all the ground beef, T-bone, sirloin roasts, etc. come out to an average of $3.50 a pound. Not bad. 

If you are interested in learning more about on farm slaughter, have some questions about the legality of this in your area, or just want to complain about the weather (although I don’t know why you would since this is the start of an excellent harvest season), please contact me and I will get you in touch and we can chat.  

If you would like to get the contact of the butcher I used in Columbia County, please let me know. They did a stellar job and at a price so low that I had to tip him to feel right about the whole thing.  

Avatar of Jason Detzel

Jason Detzel

Jason Detzel is the Livestock Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extensive in Ulster County. He can be reached by phone at 845-340-3990 ext. 327