"Truly Farm Raised" Animals
I raise my own laying hens for eggs and my own goats for milk. I make my own cheese from this milk as well. My family only eats animal products that we raise. They are treated like a family pet and are allowed anywhere in our yard. They are always pecking around in the garden or roosting on a fence post. We consume no store bought meats or dairy products.
As a vegan how does one feel about the idea of consuming only what one can "farm" in their backyard?
I feel that our animal product consumption is based more on the ideals of earlier cultures. I don't want to completely omit these things from my family's diet but I feel very strongly about the mistreatment of animals on factory farms. Answer:
You ask a very good question. I cannot speak for all vegans because everyone views veganism in a slightly different light. I also cannot speak for what is right for you to do; it has to be a decision that each person makes on their own and based on what makes them comfortable.
My guess is that some would say that if you are truly only eating the products that naturally come from your own animals, you aren't harming them in any way. If you only have milk and cheese right after your animals have made babies, you aren't prolonging the lactation process or adulterating it in any way, that's certainly a better thing.
Others would probably say that the products that other animals produce aren't intended for human consumption. For instance, those aren't our eggs to take from the hens. That isn't our milk to take from the goats.
From a health perspective, eggs and milk really don't add to our diet. Many studies have shown that humans need to consume absolutely no cholesterol to be healthy, and that the less we actually do eat, the healthier our bodies become. The amount of beneficial protein in eggs and milk is cancelled out by the fact that the prevalent protein in milk (casein) actually forces our body to steal calcium from our bones. Therefore, rather than milk being doing a body good (for our bones, teeth, and nails), it does a body bad. Your farmed eggs and milk would certainly have more of the beneficial nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, but with the other drawbacks, some would question its worth.
At the end of the day, you have to do what you personally feel is best. You mentioned that you feel strongly about the mistreatment of animals on factory farms, so it seems you are most obligated to stick to veganism when outside of the house. Many people tell me that they oppose the treatment on factory farms, but I still see them eat cheese and eggs at restaurants. I just know that somewhere inside they feel guilty that their actions aren't aligning with their values.