PROFILE: Two Legs Good Farms

James Ottweiller
By James Ottweiller
August 10th, 2009

It’s been a while since my last piece for this paper. After brouhaha that surrounded my debut Telegraph piece, I was surprised to be asked back for an encore, even here in the depths of the sweltering silly season. Apparently, there is still a market for serious journalism in this world and for that we should all be grateful. My mandated mission this week is to write a profile on a very creative new business enterprise in the region: Two Legs Better Farms of Rossland, down on Eastbelt Road.

Two Legs Better is the brainchild of Rossland’s Hartley Mansfield, a vegetarian rancher with a positively revolutionary approach to securing his protein supply. Far from being the sort of benighted, tobacco-chewing roughneck one might expect, Mansfield is a species of West Kootenay visionary. Appropriately enough, the idea for two legs good came to him as if in a dream. As Mansfield himself puts it, ‘Three Thanksgivings ago, over a cold plate of congealed Tofurkey, I got to daydreaming, thinking about what makes meat such a bad thing. And I came up with two reasons: first producing meat causes animal suffering. Second, it kills them. Then I wondered, ‘what if I could get rid of both those troubling aspects of meat?”

Sound impossible? Not for a determined fellow like Mansfield. ‘I started thinking, ‘what if I take a leg off a lamb or a cow under anaesthetic. The animal doesn’t suffer or die and the consumer gets a lovely meal. Everyone’s a winner. The vegetarian market is a growing one–and pretty much untapped when it comes to the selling of mutton. I saw the potential and went for it.’

Armed–or should we say ‘legged’–with this new idea, Mansfield set to work. He soon found that painless removal of lamb shanks was not a complicaed matter. However, there were problems. ‘The first lambs we worked with weren’t too mobile and seemed kind of sad after shank removal. At first we tried antidepressants, but they didn’t seem to help. Then my wife got the bright idea of bringing in an occupational therapist to help them learn to walk on their two remaining legs. Worked like a charm.’

Once the sheep were up and running on two legs, Mansfield was home free. ‘We’re proud to say that all our meat is 100% vegetarian. As much suffering and death comes from a Two Legs Good lamb chop as from pulling a bunch of carrots from your home garden.’

Two Legs Good meat is far from inexpensive, of course. at approximately $42/pound, the meat is quite pricey. Mansfield admits this. ‘It’s not cheap. It’s not for everyone. It’s for the discerning consumer who enjoys a good lamb stew but who cares about the sanctity of life.’ The cost of the meat includes the pensioning of the stumpy sheep, who live, on average, six years after shank removal.

After tasting a delicious Two Legs Good kebab and then being introduced to Daisy, the feisty provider of my feast, this vegan reporter can attest to the truth: Rosslanders can now have their lamb and eat it too.

James Ottweiller is a freelance journalist an inhabitant of an alternate universe we like to call ‘Rossland X’; in this reality he exists only to haunt our dreams. Nothing an inhabitant of Rossland X says has any bearing on anything in the real world.

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