Saturday, July 9, 2011

Becoming Vegetarian

     I've gotten so I sit in the rocking chair (we got after our first grandchild was born) in my room to do my 15 minute writing. (Writing Down the Bones) In the summer, all I see outside my windows is green, pines hugging the house, apple trees beginning to fill up with ripening fruit. The new ones; pear, new plum, cherry are beginning to fill, too. Later on in the summer it will look as if the branches could break they are so heavy with fruit. But it has never happened.

     I took a little longer with the horses this morning. I needed to fill all four water tanks.  I used the hoses. In the winter I need to carry water to the ones in the barn, but the horses don't drink as much. I usually give Tucker, the Morgan, his grain first. He greets me and is ready for his breakfast but is very respectful. He turns his head or steps back to give me room to put his grain in the feeder.

Then I get Bailey's grain ready. We are trying to see that he gets some bute 'aspirin' for a swollen and arthritic knee. He is lame on that leg and as a result trips all the time and when he goes down to roll it takes a long time for him to get up. He is our kid's horse, a retired roping horse. But I worry about him. So he gets his grain but I have to halter him and take him to the arena to eat so that his companion, Sport, doesn't eat up his grain. I leave him there and don't give him his hay yet so that there is a chance he will be hungry enough that he will eat the grain, even if there is icky stuff on it. But he eats around the medicine and the molasses, then turns over his feeding pan.

Then I gather hay for the other two who are in the barn. Bolaro, gets fed next. He is new. A beautiful mustang that was captured and sold at auction by the BLM. He is the sweetest, friendlist horse I have come across. Nickers at me coming and going.Then last I take Bailey his hay and grain and hay for Sport. Sport is a quarter horse, a barrell racing horse.  He is the one who got beat up by the other horses when he first came in and also suffered from Pigeon Fever. But now he is shiny and there are no visible scars. He, too is sweet except at dinner time because he lays his ears back and gnashes his chase Bailey away.

These horses are well cared for and happy. I can't fathom putting them through the ordeal that insensitive horse owners resort to when they are no longer useful. Horses are loaded into two layered trucks with no concern for their safety, fear or pain, for the trip to  horse slaughter facilities in Canada and Mexico.

Next door, I hear chickens clucking, goat kids baaing and a couple of turkeys and ducks. I think of the song from Oklahoma: "Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry". All of these animals provide something for humans. Yet there is a hidden shame in America today. The poor treatment of animals used for our food is undeniable, And yet a majority of people feel strongly that they need to live lives as close to what is natural as is is possible and when they are taken to slaughter  they should be  treated humanely.

I recently read  Wayne Pacella's book, The Bond; Our Kinship with Animals and our Call to Defend Them and learned about the plight of farm animals as well as, puppy mills, baby seal slaughter, canned hunts, and much more. It is everywhere. One of the things I came out with, beside the determination to use my skills as a writer to take my own small steps and to encourage others toward an attitude of kinship, was to  to move toward becoming a vegetarian and as I move in that direction to at least to be sure the meat, eggs, or milk I buy comes from animals that are humanely treated in all stages of their lives. If they are to make us healthy or keep us happy then we need to make sure they are too.

1 comment:

Kay Theodoratus said...

Hey I'd say, all "food" animals need to be treated with respect for their natures ... like basic things like room to turn around and walk a block. Doesn't matter if you're a vegetarian or carnivore.

The chemicals commercial protein producers use are harmful to both the primary consumers and the secondary ones.