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I did a home safety assessment for a patient at work today.  I went with her & her husband to their rural home that includes a small herd (i.e. <25) of cows raised for meat.  Having never been in this particular situation before, I was keenly interested to learn everything I could about the fate of those animals.  I watched the cows innocently & peacefully grazing on grass as my patient was more than happy to answer all my questions.

By anyone’s definition, this is about as “humane” as an animal farm can get.  The bulls are not castrated, so the breeding is natural.  The cows have a lovely green pasture with a beautiful view of trees & mountains in a location w/ a mild climate.  A mobile unit comes to the farm to slaughter the animals on site.  The animals are killed when not much more than ~18 months (“so that the meat doesn’t get too tough”…and older animals are only “good” for hamburger.)  The animal’s body is hauled off to a butcher shop in a nearby city for about a week of aging (she called it “hanging”) & then processing into the various meat cuts.

This will be the last herd that my patient & her husband will have because they are both elderly & it’s getting to be too much work for them.  She also admitted that for health reasons everyone in her family is eating less beef so it is clearly not a necessary food source.  She clearly has a certain fondness for her animals & yet her speaking tone was matter of fact and clinical.

I found the whole experience quite unsettling.  Since going vegan, I have never needed confirmation, but yet being there confirmed in my mind that I am on the right track.  If this little family farm is AS good as it gets, I still don’t want any part of it.  I looked at the eyes of those animals.  I put myself in their situation.  I can only come to the conclusion that those animals don’t deserve to be suddenly killed when it is so unnecessary to kill them.  It is unnecessary to eat them.  And they really are babies…18 months.  Cows can live to be 20 years or more if given the chance.

More Q’s I have:  What happens when the mobile slaughter unit drives up?  What is the process then?  I didn’t have time to find out all the answers to every question that I later thought of.  What happens when one cow is harmed..killed?  When do the other cows know that they, too, will be harmed?  I still want to know more.  Nevertheless, I reflect on this interaction without tears, without anger.  I am disturbed by it because it is so unfair.  So unjust.  But I am glad that no more animals on this particular farm will be bred just to be killed.  I hope that more people will go vegan.

(Written April 5, 2012)

“Experience the Cabela’s Adventure Today”  -Cabela’s website

A new Cabela’s store opened April 19, 2012 in Tulalip, Washington.  “Hunting. Fishing. Outdoor Gear. World’s Foremost Outfitter.”  Oh, joy.  Exactly what the world needs more of:  glorification of animal killing.

“Walk through the main door and look up to see two mounted Orcas chasing a school of Chinook.”  -HeraldNet

Since opening day, the parking lot’s been constantly packed.  I know this because I drive past the place every time I drive to and from work.  (Between the Tulalip Tribe Resort/Casino, the new Cabela’s and the adjacent Seattle Premium Outlets (outlet mall), there is no evidence that I can see of our “down economy.”  But, I digress.)

“Displays will feature 200 animal mounts, including bears, elk, grouse and otters.”  -HeraldNet

There is a banner displayed on the outside of the store:  “Personal Defense & Home Protection.”

Let me see if I’ve got this straight:  You’re the quintessential Cabela’s customer.  You enter the store to buy items that are specifically designed to– track, sight, call, bait, lure, decoy, catch, shoot, target, kill, gut, skin, butcher, season, cure, brine, grill, dehydrate, smoke, grind, slice, and vacuum seal– living, breathing, sentient animals who are simply minding their own business, trying to survive and thrive.  Right so far?

You– Mr. Average Joe Hunter & Mr Average Bob Fisherman– go out in nature with all of your Cabela’s “goods” with the hope that something– someone— will die at your hands.  If the purchased items fulfill their intended purposes, then lives will be taken.

You want to take the life of an animal.  It’s not your life, it’s his life (or hers).  But you want it for yourself.  His body belongs to him, but you don’t care.  You feel entitled to it.  You don’t consider his needs, only your own wants.  You don’t empathize with the animal, despite the fact that he will fight to survive in whatever situation becomes threatening to him.

How ironic that…

When you navigate the world, you want to remain comfortable.  You seek contentment.  You know that your life is your own.  Your body belongs to you.  You withdraw from pain.  You don’t want to be hurt, and you don’t want to be killed.  You will defend yourself against threats to your safety and the safety of your family.  Maintain “PERSONAL DEFENSE.”

When you come home, you expect that your shelter will be undisturbed.  You don’t want others to take that which does not belong to them.  You assume that your belongings are secure because “what’s yours is yours.”  Maintain “HOME PROTECTION.”

Sorry, I don’t get it.

You want to take the life of another, but you don’t want to have the same circumstance visited upon yourself?  It makes no sense to me whatsoever.  Can’t you see the contradiction?  Can’t you choose to live in a better way?  If you think you have the courage to do so, then I can help show you how.  Let me help you.

“This is freaking impressive,” said Tyler Schmidt, a 16-year-old from Arlington making his first visit to a Cabela’s store. “When I die, this is where I want to go.”  -Marysville Globe

I like this comedy bit from Ellen Degeneres about hunting:

"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

“Every time you purchase animal products you pay assassins to murder sentient beings for you.”

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"My purpose is not to offend you, it is to provoke you to think." Unknown


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