Sometimes I hear folks talk about wanting to appreciate the “sacrifice” an animal made so that we can eat meat. I used to talk this way often. I don’t think I’ll be able to talk like that anymore, as this is not true.
Obviously the animal does not choose to give its life up for us, nor would I want it to. If given the option, there is no altruism in pigs. They would fight to stay alive. Sacrifice on their part is impossible. So to imply the animal somehow willingly surrenders its body and accepts any suffering so that we can prepare meat? No thanks. I’ll have none of that. I want my animals to be straight-up murdered without any clue as what is about to happen to them. I want them to be knocked out cold without warning or the slightest hint of unease that something bad might be happening.
This is not always reality, but I am pretty darn sure that for the pigs who died this morning, this was their reality. Watching them from birth, I know how they react when they are stressed or scared, even when there is absolutely no real danger around, and they showed no signs of these things today. Their life up until this point has been one of forward motion. They are constantly moving to new surroundings, to new fields, to new shelters, in and out of trailers … and this was no different. As frustrating as it may be at times, a pig does not generally walk forward if it does not feel at ease. Unless it’s running away, obviously, but this was also not the case.
So I want the only “sacrifice” to be on the human side, as we mourn the loss of an animal’s daily presence and character on the farm. And then we bring it home, we cook its body and feed it to our family. How messed up is that? It’s totally messed up. Anyone who says its not is not thinking about it clearly.
So why kill when it is not necessary? You don’t NEED to eat meat to survive. Why murder? Why not be a vegetarian?
There are times when I look out at my fields and see all the animals I am responsible for and I wonder. All I can say is that I totally understand why vegetarians think meat eaters are all Looney Tunes. Sugar coating the way we tend to do, denying how monstrous we are, must make us seem even more like sociopaths.
If I was not such a theist, I would be a little more hard-pressed to justify this practice of meat-eating, but I can do it. Let’s just say there is no God and human and animals have equal right to roam the Earth until they are old and gray. If that were true, and if these pigs weren’t dying today, they would not have been born in the first place. And isn’t seven months of a comfortable life better than no life at all? Why not take advantage of centuries of selective breeding that allows the pig to be such an intimate part of our lives instead of out fending for themselves in the wild?
If these answers don’t jibe with your diet choices, please, please, please … stop eating meat.
Ultimately, this murderous path is the one that brings more value to my table, to my farm, to my life.
I don’t know.
Anyway, the field trip to the slaughter house was a pretty heavy first day for the adult division of Teter Tot Daycare. The kids, meanwhile, are slaughtering stuffed animals around the house. I am curious how they will view it as they grow up in an environment immersed in these cold hard facts. I worry they will be desensitized to it. I worry I will become desensitized to it. I’ll keep you posted.
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