Tag Archives: animal

Are you a Carnivore?

9 Apr
Beef cuts at the market

Mmmmm...

First of all, let me be perfectly clear about something. I am a confirmed carnivore. Sure, I enjoy vegetables, too… provided they’re to one side of a nice juicy steak. I like chicken and fish, too, but to be honest, I barely consider them to be meat. Meat is red, and generally comes from a creature larger than me. Pork and beef are my preferred poison.

I used to raise our own beef and slaughter one or two every year. I’ve done more than a fair amount of hunting, and butchered deer, wild boar, turkeys and even one bear. Aside from one childhood incident where I killed a squirrel just because I could (the shame of which I was immediately made to feel by my father, and which has stayed with me to this day), I have never killed any animal that didn’t find its way to my table. And I have never killed in order to hang a trophy on my wall.

I’ve slaughtered hogs, goats, and various fowl, cleaned and gutted enough fish to feed a small town for a month and I have NEVER failed to exercise compassion when doing so. When “doctoring” my animals (translation: castration, de-horning, or treating serious wounds), I always used anesthetic and antibiotics, and the most humane method I could.

I consider animals to be creatures that deserve at least as much compassion and respect as living beings as I do, even if they are headed for my table.

I’ve been a meat-eater all my life, and I have no intention of changing that now.

HOWEVER… I do know that industrialization of the meat industry has given rise to many barbaric practices in order to increase productivity (and of course, profits). I don’t know if all of those practices can be eradicated, while maintaining the necessary productivity. But I do believe we have to TRY!

The video below is not for the weak of heart or stomach. If you have a weak stomach, you probably won’t be able to watch it. I do, though, encourage you to at least listen to it. Punch the play button, and listen while you check your email or something, and you may find you’ll be enlightened.

I am certainly not trying to convince anyone to give up meat and become a vegan… I won’t be, I assure you. I simply encourage you to be aware of how hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of animals are deliberately and viciously treated every single month in this country. I encourage you to stay away from genetically modified food of all kinds, because nobody really knows what the long-term effects of ingesting such food may be.

And most of all, I encourage you to do anything you can to teach your children, nephews and nieces or grandchildren how important it is for them to remain humane when dealing with other creatures.

Don’t say I didn’t give you fair warning. This video is graphic. It’s appalling. It’s shameful. It’s something we all need to change.

Edit: 5/16/11 I see that this video has been removed. I’ll try to locate it elsewhere and put it back up.

Edit: 5/21/11 I couldn’t locate another copy of that video anywhere, unfortunately. However, I did find another one that is somewhat related and should be of interest to many of you. Food, Inc. can’t be embedded here, but here’s a link to the first of seven parts on YouTube. The remaining parts are present on the same channel.

Edit: 9-23-2013 Food, Inc. is back up on YouTube again… hopefully it’ll stay this time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkL2Q_kCRms

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Kindred Spirits

26 Nov

After about a year and a half back with Bob, I moved on again, and soon found myself in Dallas, working for an old associate from my first civilian job after leaving the Navy. He had an engineering company, and wanted to start a service division, so he asked me to come get it off the ground. After a few months with him, we landed a large design-build contract in Indianapolis. I rented a hotel suite not far from the job site, and just before the middle of October, I arrived to start our contractors on the job.

The project was originally intended to go about two months, but ultimately lasted about three and a half, thanks to a combination of irresponsible vendors and a Teamster strike.

In the time I was staying at that hotel, I got to know a number of the staff well, and still have a couple of friends there. But until the week after New Years, I had never had the opportunity to meet the General Manager.

Her name was Anne, and she was gorgeous! Although she had been in the States for seven or eight years, her English accent was still prominent. I was thoroughly captivated, although she was all business, and seemed uninterested.

A couple of nights later, another guest and I, along with a couple of the staff, went downtown to have a drink and go dancing. I was pleasantly surprised when Anne joined us at the club.

Recently divorced, I wasn’t seeing anyone in particular, and this young lady was a lot of fun to be around. We all had a few drinks, and several dances, and before we broke up for the night, I asked Anne to dinner the next night. When she accepted, I was pleasantly surprised for the second time.

The next night, Anne and I met at the hotel, and talked about where to go, what to do. Since she knew Indy a lot better than I, I asked her to pick the restaurant. She suggested a little Italian place in the center of downtown, which turned out to be great! After dinner, we decided to hit a club nearby, and have a couple of drinks.

Since it was Saturday night, we weren’t the only ones out for a good time, and the clubs were crowded. We never did find one that had more than standing room only, but managed to have several drinks, although we never did find enough free floor-space to dance. After three or four different spots, she suggested we try another place she knew, close enough that we could walk a few blocks, and avoid a parking problem.

Indianapolis is a nice Midwestern city that has made a great effort to preserve that “Hometown America” atmosphere in its downtown area. Horse-drawn carriages, mounted police patrols, gas-lamp streetlights…all added to a pleasant walk. At one point, I asked if she was interested in taking a carriage, but she declined, saying it was too bloody cold to stop walking. As we were walking along the main square, surrounded by Christmas shoppers, we saw a policewoman tie her horse off to a parking meter, and rush into a business. This seemed too good to be true.

“Come on,” I said, pulling her over to the waiting animal, “you’re about to see a part of Indianapolis you haven’t seen before. She protested a bit, looking around nervously, when I jumped into the saddle and offered her the stirrup, but finally laughed and let me pull her up behind me. We took off down the street, and trotted into a nearby alley. About halfway down the block, another alley intersected that one, and I turned uptown. We crossed the streets carefully, trying to stay in the alleyways as much as possible, painfully aware of the noise we were making.

It’s amazing how much attention a couple on horseback can attract on the street at night, particularly if the horse’s saddle blanket is adorned with the emblem of the Indianapolis Police Department. We waved cheerily, and a lot of folks laughed and waved back at us. Finally, after three or four blocks, we decided that since the horse’s hooves made such a racket, we were probably on borrowed time, so we dismounted in the junction of the alley and a street, hitched the horse to a signpost, and casually walked away down the street. Turning the corner, we saw several mounted patrolmen and patrol entering and exiting the alleys, apparently looking for their “horse-thief”. We shortly saw them all head past us, toward where we had left their wayward animal waiting.

We decided that was a good time to duck into a bar and have another drink.

Anne was normally a very tame, laid-back person, but that night, I learned that she had a little wild streak in her, as well. It was the start of a series of very good times!