You don't have to boast the surname Winklevoss or Saverin to get humanely dispatched by Mark Zuckerberg.

The social networking pioneer has recently been devoting part of his leisure time to the slaughter of pigs, goats, and the occasional free-range chicken.

As part of a personal challenge that is being chronicled via status updates on his Facebook page, the world's youngest billionaire is attempting to spend an entire year only eating meat that he has killed himself.

Zuckerberg began 2011 tentatively dropping a lobster into a pot of boiling water, but has since progressed to knocking off warm-blooded creatures.

Not long ago he uploaded a picture of a recently deceased chicken, along with a list of the dishes he made from it.

"I think many people forget that a living being has to die for you to eat meat, so my goal revolves around not letting myself forget that, and being thankful for what I have," he told Fortune magazine, which broke news of the culinary project.

"This year I've basically become a vegetarian, since the only meat I'm eating is from animals I've killed myself. So far, this has been a good experience. I'm eating a lot healthier foods and I've learned a lot about sustainable farming and [the] raising of animals."

Zuckerberg's odyssey began when he hosted a hog roast at his Silicon Valley home, and noticed that friends were leery about eating meat which had been carved directly from a spit-roasted pig.

"A bunch of people told me that even though they loved eating pork, they really didn't want to think about the fact that the pig used to be alive," he recalled. "That seemed irresponsible to me."

With girlfriend Priscilla Chan, he therefore asked a foodie acquaintance called Jesse Cool, who owns a nearby restaurant, to introduce him to farmers who might help facilitate the killing of his first chickens, pigs, and goats.

"He cut the throat of the goat with a knife, which is the most kind way to do it," said Cool.

The animal carcasses were taken to a butcher in nearby Santa Cruz, for processing. According to the rules of his experiment, they represent the only meat products Zuckerberg now eats. Should he find himself in a restaurant, he currently orders the veggie option.

Zuckerberg's dietary experiment is part of a long-running self-improvement regime. Every year in recent memory, he has taken up what he calls a "personal challenge" that allows him to: "learn about the world, expand my interests and teach myself greater discipline".

In 2009 his task involved wearing a tie every day, while 2010 saw him deciding to learn Chinese.

This year's challenge has been warmly applauded by ethical food campaigners. Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, used his Twitter account yesterday to say: "Good for him."


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