With Respect to Animals

Slow Films

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Animal Husbandry - (noun) the science of breeding, feeding, and tending domestic animals, especially farm animals.

That’s the definition of animal husbandry, and in Craig Haney one finds the very definition of a master of this discipline. He’s the man responsible for the animal kingdom at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture – sheep, pigs, chickens, geese, turkeys, rabbits, even honeybees are all bred, raised and cared for by Craig and his wickedly talented staff.

Working directly with Executive Chef and Co-owner Dan Barber, who helms the kitchens at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Blue Hill restaurant in Manhattan, Haney employs nearly twenty-three of the eighty acres at Stone Barns’ to maintain his animal population. Grazing in rotation, managing natural refuges for poultry and swine and grass feeding are all part of the overall plan envisioned and implemented by Haney. The high level of existence for the animals here make antibiotic use on a sick animal at Stone Barns a very, very rare thing.

Haney’s intuitive feel for the animals and respect for their needs is evident. Pastured and (almost) pampered, the system at SBCFFAA treats animals the way they are supposed to be treated. And it shows. When he walks up to the animals it’s almost as if Craig’s charges know him on sight. If all the sheep, pigs, chickens, geese, turkeys, rabbits, and yes, honeybees had names, Craig Haney would surely know each and every one of them.

It’s not every farm that can operate like Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, but it’s models like this that convincingly prove that the only way to raise animals for consumption is with a heaping helping of respect.

And that is exactly what Craig Haney does every day.

Is there a similar farm-to-table operation near you? What do you think of it?

Photo Credit: Slow Films