This evening I put some chicken feet and "trimmings" into the crockpot to make stock. To prepare the feet, you have to cut off the claws; I think I wrote about this a couple of years ago; it's a rather weird experience.
I put the feet into a sinkful of cold water, got my poultry shears and went at it. Chicken feet look like little witchy alien HANDS! Only three "fingers" and a "thumb," cut off at the "wrist;" the whole shebang being about four or five inches long. You cut off the little fingertips, toss the foot in the pot and go on to the next....
In a land where our animal flesh comes in tidy trimmed pieces, it's educational to do jobs like this. Most children, we hear, don't really have a firm idea of where their meat comes from, and heaven knows they won't get any hints if all they eat are things like chicken nuggets, tuna from a can, and hamburger neatly pressed into patties. During my kids' growing-up years, they never even saw me cut up a whole chicken -- it's something I learned to do early, but ceased to NEED TO in the '70s. Anyone my age or older will remember the awe we felt when we began seeing WHOLE BAGS of chicken breasts! One used to have to buy a whole chicken to get a comparatively small amount of white-meat, and chickens used to be more of a luxury than it is now. OF COURSE they used the rest of the bird for another dish -- people also used to be a lot more careful about waste in "the old days."
People who grow their own animals for meat (and some of the rest of us) I HOPE have a special sense of appreciation for the creatures we sacrifice so we can eat. Remember in that charming movie, "The Gods Must Be Crazy," it was explained how the hunter apologizes to the animal for killing it, explaining how his family needs the meat.... So it should be with us, too.
We should acknowledge what we're doing when we eat meat, though we don't have to dwell on it like conscientious vegetarians do. When it's possible, i'm sure we'd all feel better buying no products that weren't very humanely raised and slaughtered, but not everyone can afford grass-fed beef and its equivalents in other species -- until "the world changes" a lot of people must get along on feedlot meat and battery eggs. I don't believe they should have to apologize to the finger-pointers ... but mentally apologizing to the pig, chicken or steer might be in order.
We should have respect for the animals we eat -- and ONE way of doing that is to waste as little as possible. If another creature has to die to feed me (as I will feed the bacteria, etc, when I go), the LEAST I can do is have an attitude of gratitude.