Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Killing animals

Sounds horrible doesn't it?  In Barbara Kingsolver's book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, she tells of their day harvesting turkeys and roosters.  At first it really bothers her but then they find ways to make light of it even though they still feel kind of bad about it.  The holding room is death row "where the animals have time to get their emotional affairs in order".  They make comments like, "dead rooster walking", you know, like from the movie.  They laugh about the feathers sticking all over their bodies.  One of the children starts taking things out of the bucket where they throw the heads, feet and guts.  He puts on a show by making the heads talk and uses the other body parts as props.  She talks of how people say to her, "I could never eat something I raised".  She explains to them that at least she knows they had a good life before she kills them.  What else would be the purpose of raising turkeys if you weren't going to eat them?  I doubt they make very good pets and  I don't know of anyone that raises them for eggs.  I used to feel the same way as those people who challenged her and I have yet to kill one of my own animals but I do plan to eat some of our chickens one day and I guess I'll have to help in the processing (that doesn't sound as bad as killing).

Kingsolver writes that most of us know that everything we eat was formerly alive, both plant and animal.  It's the animals we've assigned some rights "while the saintly plants we maim and behead with moral impunity".  Which brings me to vegetarians.  I've never been one or thought that I could become one.  I like meat too much.  I never thought of this ........"If we draw the okay-to-kill line between animal and plant, and thus exclude meat, fowl, and fish from our diet on moral grounds, we still must live with the fact that every sack of flour and every soybean-based block of tofu came from a field where countless winged and furry lives were extinguished in the plowing, cultivating, and harvest.  An estimated 67 million birds die each year from pesticide exposure on U.S. farms.  Foxes, rabbits, and bobolinks are starved out of their homes or dismembered by the sickle mower".  I just never thought about that.  Great points.

So am I trying to make myself feel better about killing an animal?  Probably.  I do have to admit to killing an animal on purpose, a salamandar.  I still feel a little bit bad about it.  I used it for fishing, just put the hook right through it's tiny body and watched  it squirm and quickly threw it out in the water.  I don't think I even caught a fish on it.  Oh yeah, I've killed many fish too. 

Where am I going with this?  I'm not sure.  This will probably come up again next year when we have hatching chicks and find out that most of them are roosters.   I guess I'm just enjoying this book and thought I'd share some of the parts I find interesting.  You should read it.

1 comment:

  1. I know how you feel. I have chickens and initially intended to eat them when their egg laying slowed down. I intend to hatch chicks and eat the roosters too, I just don't know if I will be able to. I guess one never really knows until the time comes.