Posted by: jamesotis | July 19, 2008

Bambi and other fairy tales

  Recently a coworker started on an animal rights crusade. By her statements, she would literally crucify unrepentant unbelievers who refuse to recant meat, leather, hunting and anything that involves so much as confining an animal to a farm. In her words, “Animals are more important than people.”

  My compliments to her on her passion. Every teen needs one, even if it’s bottle caps and pidgeons. I also have to say that the way we raise and kill our food is in many cases deplorable, whether in it’s effect on the animal’s lives or our own. My sister Marge did a very interesting report on animal rights or something similar in high school and her research had quite an effect on me.

  I myself have always been quite soft on animals, for the most part. I rescue lost animals. I take the injured home to recover in safety or to die in peace and relative comfort. I even kill my fish before gutting and beheading them. I however am not St. Francis. Although I hunt for need, I keep my skills sharp by hunting wi/o taking the final fatal or injurious actions. This still gives the prey a nasty cardio workout, panic attack and nervous shock/adrenaline dump. Sometimes I hunt using a surgically precise rifle and a brain stem shot that makes transmission of pain impulses highly unlikely and rapid relatively death certain. I also use more primitive methods such as sticks and stones to induce major and lethal blunt force trauma. Still a rapid death, but more painful and certainly more traumatic/dramatic for all concerned.

  Don’t get me wrong. I fully understand the implications of traumatic injury, both from a medical/biological perspective and from having been the recipient of such trauma from errant projectiles, vehicles and persons. And I still chose to kill. Why? Because it keeps me healthier. Yes, I said it. I look out for me first. And if I’m going to kill I like to keep it personal and remind myself that I directly cause death, pain and suffering by doing so. Yes, I still purchase a steak or a McDucks frequently. And I know that contrary to a certain 5 year old’s pronouncement, hamburger patties do not fall from cows backsides as they walk up and down in the garden. I also know that given a house of my own I may select a free range cow, personally kill it as painlessly as possible and process it myself, ensuring vastly reduced waste, suffering and cost. Incidentally this makes me somewhat of a domestic terrorist by reducing my dependence on other people’s jobs @ the slaughter house.

  What a choice: independence, efficiency, relative harmony and sacrificing the odd employment opportunity, or being a carefree, careless and wanton supporter of the current economical interdependence. Quite frankly, both sound good. Although I have to say that in my opinion people come before animals. Is it because we’re more intelligent? Hardly. Any experienced animal owner/trainer/farmer knows this. Pigs, moose, rats and cats are extremely intelligent, nevermind simians, porposes (not truly dolphins, which are fish, not mammals) and your average bear. Is it because we’re appointed the caretakers/managers/rulers of the planet? LOL, just look at what this planet does to us minus our contrived economy: it kicks our asses. Is it then because we have several advantages, whether it be technology, increased capacity for analysis and planning, transmission of knowledge or anything else? Bluntly put, yes. In modern times, civilizations and etc. humans have a huge advantage and a tendency to be selfish.

  Is this the most spiritually and/or ethically pure path? No, it is not. But just like high speed transportation, communal living (as opposed to the hermit’s life), contemporary entertainment or inexpensive environmental comforts such as air conditioning and heating, being in better health than not is detrimental to other life forms, our collective environment and ourselves. So until we can get past the personal horror at recycling the bodies of our friends and relatives into life-enhancing green pellets, such is our choice. At least against being smaller, weaker, less healthy individualls who can’t do such hard work as repairing our long distance, high speed vehicles or building and maintaining our community. Seldom have I met a vegan/vegetarian mechanic or construction worker, and their jobs are considerably easier than even a quarter century ago, let alone a full century.

  So never mind what Jesus would hypothetically do. What do you actually choose, here and now? Are you aware of your choices, intentional or otherwise? How about the consequences of your resultant actions? No need to go overboard like my Abramic ancestors and relatives, making one rule into one hundred. But a little care, forethought and reasoning is helpful to anyone, whether the vegan who would kill meat eaters or the insensitive rednecks who bait her.



  1. C’mon, you have to admit that cow droppings at first glance do resemble rather large hamburgers.

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