Sunday, March 17, 2013

Moral dilemmas.

When I was young I used to day dream of hunting. I used to dream of bringing wild game home and feeding my family. Rabbit stew, squirrel stew, venison steak, liver, partridge, pheasant all made up the menu. I've killed rabbits, squirrel partridge and pheasant. I've never killed a deer even though I've filled the air with lead. I have eaten a fair about of venison though. That has not bothered me from a moral standpoint killing to gain food. After all, isn't that the instinct of all species, survival. Some are prey, some are predators, but the food chain is vast and varied.

Cattle bother me. I've seen pictures of abused cattle being prodded with electrical shock sticks, hung by their feet and whisked down a overhead conveyor while still alive. Disheartening treatment by the superior predator, Man!

We live close to a butcher. He has his own herd, he slaughters calves mostly and has been doing so for years. As my wife and I travel back and forth I've seen him down a beast and cut it throat in the holding pen that is along side the road we travel. Terry came home one day to meet the man with a carcass slung from the front end loader taking it to the shop for processing. The holding pen isn't bad, it gets muddy when it rains but there is shelter, water and feed. He does not seem to mistreat his cattle. In my mind though it is death row. There is only one way out for those cattle waiting there and that is hanging on the end of a front end loader.

I have talked about buying meat from the man for some time but Terry has it in her mind what happens to his cows and considers him a murderer. I must admit I find it rather tough to look at the young cattle in the holding pen. Yesterday when I rode by the man was out by the fence doing something when a young bull kicked up its heels and joyfully jumped towards the man. Kind of like, "you want to play?" He paid no attention to the steer, and I don't blame him, you certainly cannot get attached to your inventory that way. But it made me feel sad. I kept thinking the beast does not know what awaits him, or does he? I hope not, I hope God has made that species to live only in the moment and not have the ability to contemplate the future. 

I got some raw bones from the man a few weeks ago and the dogs enjoyed them immensely. From time to time I thought, have I seen the steer whose bones you are gnawing on? However, they are deriving great pleasure, the dogs that is, and certainly good nourishment. But, I still can't help but feel guilty and sad. That's life, no one has ever said it is fair or just. Plus, I've talked with the man, he is a friendly nice man. Probably one I would enjoy knowing. It is a quandary I have no answer for.

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