Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This Just In: Americans Eat Cows!

There's now a national controversy at Green Mountain College because the school's working farm has decided to turn two ten-year old working oxen into food for the students. The school has decided since it is an actual sustainable farm that the two steers will be turned into burgers, but many students and alumni are upset. Upset because this particular burger would have a face and a history of service to the college behind it. Below you can click for a link to the story.

The Jenna from 5 years ago would have been appalled at eating any burger, much less a working animal's flesh. The Jenna from today would ask you to pass the A1. And that's not meant to sound harsh or cynical. I adore animals, I have dedicated my life to living for and with them, but I feel about these oxen the same way I feel about Farm Sanctuary and other "rescue" options for edible livestock: A place for not-hungry people to feel good about captive animals not being eaten. I can expand on this later. But for tonight, read the story and see how you feel about it. There is also a discussion on my Facebook page.

Meet Your Meat


Blogger admin said...

I think the difference with this issue from a regular farm setting is that the school portrayed these animals as almost mascots…pretty much pets. It doesn't sound like it was shared from the get-go that they would be dinner. They are basically like working horses or mules in many people’s minds—and I certainly couldn't eat my horse when she past her usefulness; in some countries I would be deemed immature for this feeling. I believe in sustainability, but wonder at what the university expected the response to be giving the way the animals were portrayed and the broad spectrum of beliefs and ideals their students and the community are sure to have.

October 23, 2012 at 9:31 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

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October 23, 2012 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

A food animal veterinarian for over twenty years, I have raised bottle calves for beef, and slaughtered my own goat kids for the freezer. So I will admit to being somewhat surprised at my gut feeling that slaughtering these oxen after 10 years of service is somehow repugnant, and something I would never do. I am very careful to not develop personal relationships with the animals I choose to eat. I do not think I could sustain that distance over 10 years of training and service. Just as I do not object in theory to the slaughter of horses for food, but I would not eat my own horse. Maybe I am just not hungry enough.

October 23, 2012 at 9:55 PM  
Blogger Karen C said...

Well, I have to say that I differ a bit here. I think if these two oxen have been a part of that community, perhaps loved by hundreds of students, it makes it different. Kind of like saying it's okay to eat your dog when it gets old. Or perhaps some of the older staff working at the college (just joshing). Just my opinion, but once a living being has become family to a community, I don't think I'd then feel okay about eating it.

October 23, 2012 at 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I heard this story on NPR the other day. We have no problem with the sustainability goal the school is trying to achieve... the only thing that puzzled us is the fact that the school is turning 10-year-old oxen into hamburger (my husband grew up on a cattle ranch). Ten-year-old oxen won't taste very good! It would be like eating 6-year-old chicken, or an 8-year-old dairy cow. Tough.

October 23, 2012 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger KiwiGirl said...

Hmm, how good would 10 year old beef actually taste? Having read the article (via the link), all this seems to have generated is yet another round of the ages-old vegan/vegetarian vs omnivore debate. I've no problem with the college's decision, but it's clearly generated quite a bit of negative PR - possibly more thought should have been given to that aspect, given the two cattle in question are mascot types.

October 23, 2012 at 11:54 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I know a zoo that keeps heritage breeds - pigs, cattle, chicks, goats ect. I happily petted and watched all of them, admired the biggest hogs I had ever seen (people who assume that all pigs are Babe are in for a shock there) and then I just as happily bought sausages at the zoo's shop. Why shouldn't I. The animals were clearly well-cared for and probably had a better life than most animals I had eaten before.

I'n not sure I could personally eat an animal I have known for ten years. But I wouldn't have much of a problem with it being slaughtered.

How about horses? Would you include them in edible livestock? I know horse meat is rarely eaten in the US and I think there's even a ban on slaughtering them for food? I love horse meat, but for some random reason my reaction if someone asked me what to do about his old horse would be: find a new owner/sanctuary. If it were a cow or oxen, I'd be looking up recipes instead.

October 24, 2012 at 5:13 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

I couldn't agree more. I am always astounded at those who are so separated from their food sources that they believe all meat comes on styrofoam trays in the market. This is an honored ending for livestock that has led a pretty fantastic life at the college.

October 24, 2012 at 6:10 AM  
Blogger Dancing shepherdess said...

Emotions aside- eating a ten year old steer, that meat's going to be less than optimal.

October 24, 2012 at 6:39 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It's an interesting controversy, but my sense is that the humans are the problem, not the oxen.

Could it be that these creatures were treated more like mascots, than working farm animals? What would the outcome be if the football players were actually fed the Miami Dolphins for dinner to save money? Point being: the students and faculty were conditioned inappropriately to the use of these animals, causing controversy.

October 24, 2012 at 7:25 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

I understand the argument and respect these animals and their service to the college. I understand that these animals are sentient beings and have friends and folks with emotional attachments to them. But I strongly feel retiring livestock to places like VINE is something the college's farm should not do. It sounds like this was always the plan for the oxen, not a surprise by any means. It's just become emotional due to all the people having to confront the idea that meat comes from an animal they know or like.

It comes down to this for me: cows are herbivores who have been raised since time out of mind to feed people, who are omnivores. These two steers, just happen to have faces and names and have become mascots. But they are still cows.

If Merlin broke his leg and had to be put down, and a local homeless shelter or school asked me for the meat for stew I wouldn't blink at giving it to them, I would probably try it. But that's because Merlin, and Sal, and Maude, and Bonita are herbivores. If you asked me to eat Gibson, Jazz, Annie, or a coyote or wolf or bobcat I wouldn't - because they are our fellow hunters. To me that's a form of cannibalism and against the natural order. I'd have to be pretty darn hungry to eat a dog. I think Robyn said it best. "Maybe I'm just not hungry enough"

That's what it comes down to. We can all have this argument because we aren't hungry right now. We may craze breakfast or some coffee, but actual gut-wrenching hunger is (I assume?) rare amongst people debating to eat cows or not. And this is why I said pass the A1, because out there people are very, very, very hungry and if all these animals being saved for farm sanctuaries and retirement programs could just be humanely slaughtered and fed to those people it would honor both animals: eater and eaten.

If I was at the college management level I would have donated the beef to people who can't eat beef unless it is a gift: a charity like a foodbank or homeless shelter. Feeding it to college students seems a little wasteful, since they can afford to pass aside the burger and eat some fish. But then the argument for local food comes out...

Well, We can be all emotional because we're not hungry. Right? I mean, if I had not had a meal in two weeks and someone handed me a burger that was a little tough and said it had a name and was a college mascot.

I'd take a bite and wave a pennant. and be very grateful to both the college and the cows.

October 24, 2012 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

I think you are 100% right JD

October 24, 2012 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger Rosalie said...

@Jedediah-- I wish we could include horses among edible livestock. It's easy to say "find a new owner/sanctuary" for an old horse, but hard to do because despite American sentimentality toward horses, we don't really have a horse culture and horses are very expensive to feed and maintain. And because horse slaughter is illegal in many (all?) parts of the US, unwanted horses are often shipped (under extremely inhumane circumstances) by middlemen to Mexico for slaughter. It's classic "not in my backyard (but I don't care what happens where I can't see)".

October 24, 2012 at 9:05 AM  
Blogger Rosalie said...

@Jedediah-- I wish we could include horses among edible livestock. It's easy to say "find a new owner/sanctuary" for an old horse, but hard to do because despite American sentimentality toward horses, we don't really have a horse culture and horses are very expensive to feed and maintain. And because horse slaughter is illegal in many (all?) parts of the US, unwanted horses are often shipped (under extremely inhumane circumstances) by middlemen to Mexico for slaughter. It's classic "not in my backyard (but I don't care what happens where I can't see)".

October 24, 2012 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger Megan, a farmer at heart said...

This article is making the rounds on most of my farming blogs. After just going to Sturbridge Village, I LOVE the oxen. I'm on the fence about this. When I get my oxen someday, I feel the amount of work that goes into training them and the bond that's between us I most deffiently would not have the ability to eat them. To me this type of working animal would have the same the place in my heart as my working dogs. Be it a waste of food but maybe if I go into it with the intention of possibly eating him it might go differently. Very good points are being made this whole thing.

October 24, 2012 at 9:07 AM  
Blogger greendria said...

I think your comment is fascinating, Jenna. I never thought of it like that, omnivores (us) not wanting to eat our fellow hunters (like dogs). I also related to the other commenter, who, though she eats meat, would probably not eat a horse. I am pretty attached to my two oldest hens. I wouldn't want to slaughter them, but if someone else butchered for me, I "think" I would probably eat them, ultimately I view them as "livestock".

October 24, 2012 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

I don't think any less of folks who don't want to eat an oxen. I get it. I think everyone's diet is their personal decision. I am so happy this conversation has been so open and respectable. I adore Lara and I'm happy we can both talk openly here about our views!

October 24, 2012 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Yes, the horse slaughter issue is another problem al together. If the animals are going to be shipped in cattle haulers in bulk to die in mexico anyway...why not humanely euthanize them here and feed people who want horse meat? I never ate horse, but I would try it I think. But again, that is my personal choice. Maybe some of you have eaten dogs in your travels and loved it? The idea makes me queasy, but I respect your plate all the same.

October 24, 2012 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Jenna, a horse slaughtering plant here in Missouri was supposed to be opened this year. For some reason the opening has been put on hold. I haven't really followed the story, but here is a link.


October 24, 2012 at 10:19 AM  
Blogger serena said...

If the school had always intended for the oxen to be butchered they never should have elevated them to be mascots in the first place. Having been a vegetarian myself (I now eat sustainably raised meat), and considering that the oxen have become mascots, I understand the argument against eating them.

However, I have also been in the position to eat a steer raised at the environmental learning center owned by my college. Though I had known Big Blue personally, when given the chance to eat his meat in a soup, I did so willingly. I appreciated that he had had a good life and that he now held a new purpose in providing nourishment. If humans must eat cows, let us do so humanely.

October 24, 2012 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger sheila said...

Since Bill and Lou are livestock and are the owner's private property, they have the right to treat them as pets or meat. Personally, I don't think I'd want to eat a working animal. I feel the same way about them as my grandfather did about his matched Percheron work horses (full sisters born a year apart). When tractors took over the farm work they were retired at a relatively young age of 12 and 13 years old. My grandfather turned them out to pasture and gave them a warm box stall in the winter. Molly and Babe lived a good 15 years in retirement before they died of old age. My grandfather wouldn't hear of sending them to slaughter. He said, "They don't owe me anything, I owe them for all the work they did!"

My Grandfather never had any qualms about eating older milk cows that didn't breed back. So I guess it's all in what you can wrap your head around and what is important to you.

October 24, 2012 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger HotFlashHomestead said...

Sometimes it seems like issues like this can divide people, with the pro-butchering crowd looking down on the anti-butchering crowd as lacking common sense or being in denial of the natural order of things. Neither is true. I've had hens I developed a soft spot for who will never see the cone, and consider my long-used horses to have earned their senior retirement out in my pasture (when of course it would be more financially rewarding to take them to the rendering plant and have them put down so I don't have to continue feeding them). If my children were starving then of course I would butcher any of these animals for food, but the point is I don't have to, and it seems the same with these oxen. If they're considered pets, then leave them as such until the zombie apocalypse forces us to use them for food. (It would take a zombie apocalypse to get me to eat a 10 year-old working oxen. Blech!)

October 24, 2012 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Margie said...

Facebook page?

October 24, 2012 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger M said...

I allowed myself to get attached to my small flock of meat sheep. Most of the older ewes are now slated for slaughter next week. I've struggled with my decision but came to the conclusion that the problem is MINE. They've been part of our working family but by elevating them to pet-status, I'm dishonoring them. They've had a good life and they'll surrender knowing they've done well. Having said that, I'll keep my absolute favorite girl and gratefully put her down when the time comes. Sheep have taught me so much.

October 24, 2012 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger anita said...

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October 24, 2012 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger anita said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 24, 2012 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger M said...

I allowed myself to get attached to my small flock of meat sheep. The older ewes are now slated for slaughter soon. I wrestled with this decision but came to understand the problem was MINE and by elevating them to pet-status I'm dishonoring their place in the world. They've had a good life and they can leave this world knowing they've done well for us. That said, I hanging on to my favorite girl and when it's time, I'll put her down gratefully. Sheep have taught me a lot about life.

October 24, 2012 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger M said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 24, 2012 at 1:02 PM  
Blogger anita said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 24, 2012 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger anita said...

I eat meat but I would not want to eat 10 year old, tough, stringy, possibly not healthy meat. Why would you when there is plenty of good healthy meat out there to eat? Just to make a point? What point is there to being so callous as to kill and eat old animals that have already served you well? You are not starving. Cut them some slack and if you can't look after them anymore then humanely euthanize them.

October 24, 2012 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

I have a personal facebook page you can "friend" or like or whatever and keep up with non-blog stuff. Search for Jenna Woginrich.

October 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Sheila: you said it perfectly! It is up to the owners, not a larger community what they do with their property. Just as it was your grandfather's decision not to eat those horses.

For the record. I don't plan on eating Merlin, and if there is a Zombie Apocalypse I'll need him even more. WITH A LANCE!

October 24, 2012 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

I have a Lamancha milk doe that will be 12 in Feb. I have had her 8 years. I am not going to breed her anymore after this next spring. I'll milk her til she dries up. But what to do with her when that happens? I have been thinking about this for awhile now. Then I saw this. I have eaten my own cows that I had gotten at a day old and bottle fed them goat milk til they were slaughtered. No problem. I am butchering chickens right now and will eat them. No problem. I have eaten lambs I have raised. And goats too. And turkeys.

But eat Abby? Or sell her to someone else who would? I don't know. I could not do it. But if I knew she would go to feed a family who really needed the food, yes, I think I could then. She is the best goat and has given my family so much good milk. And so many pretty kids. I have kept 2 of her doe kids.

So this is a hard one. I know how some of these people feel about these cows. But to have to kill them and just bury them? What a waste. And I think hamburger will be the best way to use this meat. And good dog bones too. Or broth. Just think of all the soup those bones would make!

October 24, 2012 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger Greentwinsmummy said...

There has been similar fuss over here in blighty with primary schools raising lambs and pigs.Rip roaring headlines of school children slaughtering lambs..........

I hold great fear and sadness to folks who have become so distanced from the source of food.Fear because its scary how many have this reaction and sadness because its wrong, dont eat meat, thats fine I can understand folks not wishing to or not liking it but we must not stray so far from the truth that we cannot see where we have come from.

GTM x x x

October 24, 2012 at 3:58 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

Jenna: the point you make about eating your horse is prefaced with "if...broke a leg and had to be put down". that is not the case with these old oxen. As an "old school" and just plain old farmer, I feel that folks can farm in a sustainable manner without eating their old work animals. It is not irresponsible and to portray it like that would turn off some folks who may be open to the message of sustainability (which is not a new idea). If famine occurs humans do not need to be taught to eat anything and everything. Witness the Donner Party. I think the college is doing their student body a disservice (as well as the working oxen) by presenting the argument that eating old working animals is part and parcel of sustainable farming.

October 24, 2012 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

and Jenna I love your last comment: off topic now but when I finally reached my 18 yr old son in NYC on 9/11 he thought maybe they would all die but then he added that he had his trusty bicycle and his swords so he was OK. He had a sword collection and with his bike he got to the shadow of one of the towers, fought a cop and got into the building where some his friends were living and got back out with them. I am sure Merlin would rise to an occasion such as that also! thank goodness for our working animals (and swords and bikes).

October 24, 2012 at 4:26 PM  
Blogger admin said...

Hey, this actually made it to a debate today among the middle school students where I work. Interesting discussions were reported. Must say that I found your comment intriguing especially especially after hearing about some of the arguments for and against this situation from the kids. In many cultures it has nothing to do with whether an animal is a carnivore or herbivore. Choosing not to eat “fellow hunters” definitely fits into the “not hungry enough” category in many's books ;-) To each their own.

October 24, 2012 at 8:11 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

I think we are all under the assumption that these oxen are going to be feeding a needy family. This is not the case. They are going to be ground up and used in the dining hall of a college, that will not respect where their meals come from. Most likely most of this meat will end up in the trash. There will be no prayers over this animal or thanks given before anyone sits down to this meal. If the plan was for them to be used to feed homeless family's or family's in need I would feel better about this but this is not the case. They are of no use anymore so into the grinder you go. I am an alumni of Green Mountain College and recently was at a reunion weekend and spoke with the director of the farm. These animals are going to feed the dining hall. Don't try to romanticise this and sugar coat this. They are going to be made into second rate burgers that will be flopped on a plate and tossed into the garbage. No I am not a vegetarina, just a humanitarian.

October 24, 2012 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Two people have made human comparisons to cows now. The cows are not humans. They are not in need of humanitarian action nor were they in the Donner party. Folks are anthropomorphizing these animals. Do you know how oxen are trained? They are yoked together as early as possible and voice command trained with a whip. They know "don't eat grass or get hit with stick in face" What we see as "service" is trained patterns of action. These cows are not seeing themselves as servants or mascots. They seem themselves as cows. If it was up to them they would be in some giant pasture having sex and eating grass. They were working animals not because they joined up, they were drafted.

Do you not think that any steer, from any meal, could not have been just as loved and known by a community? It could have just as well been raised in a college pasture and known by NPR voices. But 99.9% of cows are seen as food. When we get to know them as individuals they become people?

They are property of the university farm and the university farm will do what they see fit with them. And if, for whatever reason, the farm's owners have decided to have them turned into college hamburgers than that is their choice.

October 24, 2012 at 9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the slaughter is done humanely, and the meat is free of unsafe drugs, I don't see the problem.

I won't be eating my horses because they have had bute, which has no safe withdrawal period. It's a carcinogen and can cause aplastic anemia in some people, and has no cure. I also wouldn't send my horses to a slaughter plant because it wouldn't be ethical to feed other people poisons, and they don't have humane slaughter systems for horses (a large percentage are skinned while conscious), and the transport is inhumane.

October 25, 2012 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Brenda said...

Jenna: I did not equate the oxen to people, my Donner comment was to show that when starvation threatens folks will eat whatever they can. and I was trained to be a farmer in a time when kids were spanked for being bad, do not see where the training methods used for oxen has any bearing on the discussion. The college exists to educate so it does matter what they do. They can teach sustainable ag without slaughtering old farm working animals, that is a viable option that they seem to not want to explore. And the college exists due to tuition and alumni money so yes, they do have a responsibilty to respond to objections to their practices. They are not a solely owned farm. and last but not least calling this old farmer a person who anthropomorphizes her animals is just plain ignorant.

October 25, 2012 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger KiwiGirl said...

Jenna, just curious - you comment that cows aren't human/people are attributing human characters to them, when you clearly don't apply the same logic to working dogs (who surely inertact with us according to "trained patterns of action")/wolves etc? Hmm, last I checked, canines were animals also.

October 25, 2012 at 2:38 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

I already addressed my feelings on dogs. Dogs are carnivores, and fellow pack animals that hunt by daylight, just like us. They were bred through thousands of years of selection and behavior training to be partners in hunting, herding, livestock guarding, pulling, retrieving, pointing, flushing, racing, seeing for the blind and more. They were created in the image of companionship. That is not what cows were bred to be. Cows were bred to be food. A small minority of food cows were trained to work. Just like a small minority of dogs are raised for food.

October 25, 2012 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...


my piece on dogs vs livestock

October 25, 2012 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Brenda, I anthropomorphize my animals all the time. I constantly do it, I can't help it. I write about surly maude, happy sal, stubborn merlin. All of these animals have personalities and characteristics that we relate too as fellow animals. But, for me, it crosses a line to see an herbivore who since time out of mind has fed us omnivores as elevated above that base duty isn't correct. I would eat sal, maude, even merlin. I probably never will because most likely they will all die as wool and riding/carting animals but I don't have a moral objection to it because that is their biological role in this world. We bred these animals to be food. Just as we bred dogs to be companions and tools. Horses, obviously, are not bred for food any more but they certainly were and not all that long ago! It is taboo to eat a horse and I never ate a horse, but if you handed me a plate of of horse and a plate of coyote I'm digging into that horse. Because eating fellow predators feels morally wrong to me. Just like eating those oxen feels wrong to you. Just like if I walked into the siberian forest and a tiger ate me. I don't want that to happen but I'm not arguing with the design of it.

I understand that some of you feel it is morally wrong to eat a working ox. So please, tell that to the college as it is their choice and their property. I do not have any say in the matter of their life or death, I'm just stating my opinion on my blog. I;'m fine with the cows being eaten. I'm fine with the college eating sal and maude and merlin when they die too, if they want to go through the trouble of it.

That's all I'm going to say about that.

October 25, 2012 at 3:14 PM  
Blogger high st farm said...

i don't view this as a moral issue at all.

playing "if this were my decision", i would ask myself "are these animals more valuable in life or in death"?

it seems keeping them as educational animals at the college would be more beneficial that forgotten burgers. any cow can be a burger but not any cow could teach a young farmer how to handle working oxen, these two would. what a valuable resource to have not one but two ox as training tools within the college's program.

the sound ox could still be worked, used to teach students how to tack, lead, handle, plow, work, and such. at the very least i imagine they are quite tame and would be an asset when teaching oxen anatomy, diet, medicine, etc.

October 25, 2012 at 5:02 PM  
Blogger high st farm said...

most bony fish are daytime hunting carnivores. do you object to eating fish?

October 25, 2012 at 5:03 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

I think the folks in India would disagree with your theory on cows having the sole purpose to be food for us. and I do not subscribe to your theory on how dogs are different than cattle as working animals. All in all, we subscribe to different beliefs. My top concern is that sustainable ag is desperately important to the survival of all of us. I think we all hold that belief here on your blog. Teaching folks that they need to eat their work animals will no doubt alienate folks who otherwise may be headed towards embracing sustainable ag. Telling then that there are no other options as far as being a sustainable farm is just too narrow to serve the higher purpose of education. The idea that certain animals exist to serve as our food is a long embraced Judeo-Christian idea, that man holds dominion over the beasts, and I respect those of you who believe in that as being your option. But that is a philosophy that we do not subscribe to, and is certainly not the guiding philosophy behind sustainable ag. this has been an enlightening blog discussion, good for you for generating and encouraging this dialogue.

October 25, 2012 at 5:50 PM  
Blogger Stacie said...

Jenna, I really like how you frame your discomfort with eating dogs vs. your comfort with eating other animals in terms of similarity and familiarity; it really resonates with me. I have more moral pause with eating mammals, and within mammals, I have more moral pause eating animals that are companion animals or similar to humans in other ways. I think that's why I *don't* have a problem with other cultures who maybe eat dogs but don't eat cows; they have a different way of frame of reference for their interactions with the animals than I do.

October 26, 2012 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

I grew up on a farm where we raised all of our own meat - beef, pork and chicken, we still raise a beef for our freezer every year. My first thought reading this article was how bad this beef is going to taste because of the age of the oxen. My second is that GMC saying they are sustainable and that's the reason for slaughtering these animals is a cop out. Sorry, unless you are continually breeding and slaughtering all of your own meat year after year you can't win the sustainable argument. When they begin to raise most of everything they consume then they can use that argument.

October 26, 2012 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger FurryGodmother said...

Jenna- it would be great if you and or your readers could contact the college and encourage them to have a butcher come to the college and put the oxen down in their own pasture. That way they die without going through the fear of being loaded up and taken away. (And best if they don't see each other).

I've always respected you for doing that with pig. I'm in Hawaii so I can't recommend anyone to them but surely there are folks there who can do that. There is no reason for these oxen to die afraid. You could send them the link to your post on Pig.

October 26, 2012 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger FurryGodmother said...

I know that I too would have a hard time eating my pets. But on the other hand, how fair is it to an animal that you intend to eat that you treat it like an object and not as a beloved pet? I don't understand the vet who posted above who says she never gets emotionally involved with animals she intends to eat. If we keep animals, we have an obligation to them to give them happy emotional lives until we humanely slaughter them. My bunny (a tiny dwarf, I admit so not worth the effort to eat him. LOL!), gets lots of attention. I feel for rabbits who are left alone in cages, bereft of companionship because someone refuses to treat them as a "pet". That is selfish. Let them be loved and live happy, if short lives.

October 26, 2012 at 3:38 PM  
Blogger FurryGodmother said...

Jenna wrote: "If you asked me to eat Gibson, Jazz, Annie, or a coyote or wolf or bobcat I wouldn't - because they are our fellow hunters. To me that's a form of cannibalism and against the natural order. "

Out of curiosity, Jenna, whose natural order is that against? Predators eat other predators, if they can catch them, all the time.

Excerpt from a blog on predators eating other predators:


Has an amazing photo of a lion in full chase after a hyena.

"While herbivorous species are usually regarded as the ones that fall prey to predators, it is increasingly recognized by field biologists and ecologists that predators are themselves often predated upon, a phenomenon that Polis et al. (1989) termed intraguild predation. Palomares & Caro (1999) reviewed the literature on intraguild predation in mammals and listed 27 predatory species reported as having killed other predatory mammals."

As in most things, it boils down to humans being complex emotionally and projecting what we think that the natural order IS what WE think. Not necessarily so. That said, being human, I still have no intention of eating my fellow family members who happen to be of another species.

October 26, 2012 at 4:09 PM  

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