Tuesday, October 8, 2013

in which I am a seventh grader who has recently realized that animals feel pain

I had a little bit of a nervous breakdown last night.  Our neighbor is taking our old chickens and extra goats to the auction today, and for some reason I chose last night to re-examine my place in the food web and my complicity in the miserable fates of countless suffering animals.  One of the anticipated benefits of raising our own animals and living in the country was the ability to extract ourselves to some extent from the chokehold of the industrial food system that tells us that animal cruelty is an inextricable cog in the great machine of feeding ourselves.  But have I really made a difference?  Or have I just added "supplier" to "consumer" in my placement in the food web?  So I was sitting on the bed, sobbing great hot tears of confusion and dismay, laughing a little bit at myself, and wondering where such strong emotion had come from so suddenly.  Anyway, I was wondering aloud to John about what if when I get to heaven all the goats I've butchered or sent to the auction over the years confront me and ask, "What did I do?  What was wrong with me that I was sent away while you kept the others? Why didn't you love me?"  Basically like Lisa Simpson's vision of that lamb at the petting zoo.  And now I'm crying again.  Maybe I'm starting menopause?  Whatever it was, last night was the closest I have come to becoming a vegetarian.  And I believe in eating meat, mind you.  I think it provides necessary nutrients that can't be replaced except synthetically, and you know how I feel about synthetic foods.  Is there anyone who has the emotional attachment that compels them to treat animals humanely along with the emotional detachment that enables them to slaughter the animals?  I can do it with chickens, but I haven't yet met a mammal I could kill. So I outsource it, like everybody else, and am I really so different from the people who buy roasts in the store without thinking about the life and death that put that roast in the refrigerator case?  Not to my animals, I'm not.  And I hate, hate, hate that the last memory my animals have of me is an act of betrayal; that I use their trust to trick them into approaching me and then drag them kicking and screaming either into a horse trailer to be transported and sold to someone whose feelings about animals and plans for them I have no way of knowing (but I have some guesses), or to a butcher to spend their last day alone and hungry before they're killed.

Have a great day, everybody!


Alana said...

I have a hard time with it too. I couldn't even burn their horn buds this year...I started to hyperventilate and sob as the hot iron approached. Had to call our neighbor to hold the baby so I could go in the house and cover my ears.

Gordon had me kill my pet chicken last year so I could learn how to do it for survival. It is the only time I have purposely killed an animal. I saw sobbing so hard I could hardly see what I was doing to the poor chicken. It changed me forever. I refuse to kill any more animals. I will just cook them. Even still I say prayers before processing day and ask for forgiveness from the animals. Sad, sad, sad. I think if people had to process their own pet animals for food, everyone would eat a whole lot less meat!

Alana said...

Ok, the one line is suppose to read, "I started sobbing so hard I could hardly see." That is what I get for having three little boys trying to talk to me while I type.

tipsybaker said...

I felt sick when we offloaded our boy goats this year. No more baby goats for us. I still can't wrap my head around this issue and I've sure tried. Thank you for your honest and refreshingly inconclusive post.