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September 14, 2008 / Kate

this horse is so high!

“To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of creation. When we do it knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, destructively, it is a desecration.” Wendell Berry, The Gift of Good Land

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about killing animals for meat; the significance and ramifications of it. Now that I have a close relationship with my food, I understand vegetarians so much more than I ever have before. I have a lot of respect for people who choose not to eat the flesh of other beings. I think I might become a vegetarian if I couldn’t raise meat myself and kill it myself. Keith and I have shaped our lifestyle so that we don’t buy meat unless we know for a fact that it has been raised humanely. We mostly eat the meat we raise, and we try not to eat CAFO meat unless it would be rude not to (in the case of a dinner invitation).

Any way you put it, death (and murder) is sad and cruel. This life we live, and the world we live in, is sad and cruel. There’s no way getting around it. A happy, healthy life is also beautiful, and I feel fortunate to participate in the happy lives of our animals.

We are slaughtering the lambs in one week and having a big Lamb Dinner the following week. A bunch of foodies are coming up from the bay area to camp and feast. I am in charge of desserts and I am thinking of a few lovely ice creams paired with small cakes or cookies or both. I’ve got a lavender honey ice cream sandwich idea going with lemon cookies. Any cake ideas? I’m thinking something light like almond.

I’ve been having Feelings about the lambs. Not the Feelings you would think I would have. I am resolute about the fact that they have to die, but I kind of want them all to myself.

I feel like I love these lambs and I want to be the one to eat them because I am the only one who really appreciates and understands them. Now that I have it typed out it sounds screwed up. But really. People eat meat all the time without considering the animal at all, without knowing or thinking about the way it lived. It seems so careless to me. I feel like no one gets how special these girls are, and how sad it is that they are going to die so that we may nourish our bodies. I want to honor them in a big way.

I get upset now when people joke about us killing our animals. Some people think it’s funny, or maybe they are uncomfortable with it so they have to make jokes while they eat it. I don’t know how to deal with it because this whole subject makes people very uncomfortable.

I also get frustrated when people give us a hard time about killing our animals. Most of these people are my co-workers, and it turns into an awkward conversation where I find myself defending my way of life (“Well, I’d rather eat an animal I loved and cried for than one that never experienced a happy life. Like the chicken/pork/beef/mystery meat you buy from Costco or Safeway. So! Friday’s payday, huh?! Hm…”).

Wendell Berry sums up my tirade much more eloquently, “Our model citizen is a sophisticate who before puberty understands how to produce a baby, but who at the age of thirty will not know how to produce a potato.” It’s these people who load up their shopping carts without knowing anything about where their food comes from, how it is grown, and how it will affect their bodies who are most likely to say something like, “How can you kill a cute little lamb? Rabbits are so adorable! Don’t eat them!” It certainly is easier to think of meat as meat and animals as animals with no relationship between them, but that is foolish and irresponsible.

Keith thinks this is precisely why we should invite all the people to eat our lambs so that they get exposed to our philosophy about eating animals. I see his point, but I just don’t want to share.

(123, Publish!)

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3 Comments

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  1. Thomas Lee Trevino / Sep 15 2008 1:35 am

    I wish that I could become a true veggie.. I have reduce my meat intake and actually feel much healthier and better. I have even lost a bit of weight. I have never trusted the USDA nor there ideas to promote horses for food. The lies they spread about us horse folks calling myself Peta is just a false story they have no facts to nothing they say. There all making money and thats the bottom line. In America its known for slaughter plants and in china and other countries there knows for making Computers and other technogy Items. I love America but I dont want us to be stamped as a country of killing everything from four legs to two legs in War. Its time for a change..

  2. Bea Elliott / Sep 16 2008 12:44 pm

    “Now that I have it typed out it sounds screwed up”. Well, perhaps this is a great time to examine why you think it’s neccessary to eat animals? You say you have such knowledge about where and how your food is grown. This should lead you to the understanding that a plant based diet could be just as healthy for your body. In fact, based on sound nutritional science… we are begining to see that eating animals is not as beneficial as once thought. And just think… if you went the route of the vegetarian – you’d also be in better mental and spiritual health as well. You would not have to kill the animals you “love” so dearly. They could live another “happy” day. And you would both be spared the “sadness and cruelty” that you know comes with (murder) and death. If you feel the conflict, as you say you do… perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your lifestyle? Perhaps just because you can “grow and kill your own” is no longer enough justification? Perhaps letting your animals live a full life might reward you in ways no “meal” ever could? This subject might make many people “uncomfortable” because it is riddled with so many contradicitions. Many people do know that it is not necessary to kill in order to live… those people might see the killing then, as a form of “gluttony”. Taking more than what one needs so to speak. Being a “veg*an” does not deserve any particular “respect” however… That would be like admiring someone if they didn’t lie or steal or murder… It’s the very least expected from a human(e) being. I’d let the animals live; and have an orgy of a veggie celebration! Truly embracing life and the compassion that man can bestow on his fellow creatures. http://www.humanemyth.org/

  3. Caroline Kernahan / Sep 16 2008 5:16 pm

    I don’t think it’s screwed up at all. I think it’s great that you’re thinking so consciously about it. If you have to eat your animals, I think they are lucky to have you, because when you eat them, it means so much to you and you do honor their lives. I became a vegetarian not because I didn’t think humans were intended to eat meat, but because I thought we were going about it all wrong. After 14 years of being a vegetarian, I know that I still couldn’t kill my own meat, but I think the few who choose to do so have the right idea. Even though I couldn’t do it, I would never tell someone else what they can eat or do. These are personal choices and no one else can make them for you. You shouldn’t have to defend yourself all the time. I’m sorry it causes you internal struggle and pain, but I know you’ll find the right way for you and stick to it.

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