October 20, 2009

Life on a Farm and Intellectual Dishonesty

playpenintentiary I was reading BNGFan’s post regarding Sherriff Joe (America's sheriff) and the inmate who wanted an abortion. It is a great little post and it made me think. I spent a great portion of my youth on Pa’s farm. We still raise cattle there. We raise them to eat. Now we know that we are raising Beef cattle and to someorcs that would mean that we are the world’s worst barbarians. My grandpa would have been in his late sixties and I in my early teens. We had an old cow who was in labor and she was down and we were trying to help her but it was not going well. Here is a, not completely, domesticated (at least in the way you think of horses or dogs) animal who does not really want your help, she weighs somewhere around 900 pounds and she is down. Calf coming out all upside down and backwards. To top it all off this has got to be the biggest calf I have ever seen trying to fight his way into the world. So picture this, she is lying out in the field, it is muddy, wet, filthy, and bloody, it is getting twilight, she is down, she is hurting, we can’t get her up, we can’t get the calf turned, and it is about to die, and her chances of living are falling fast too, because the thing is just too big. Now if we were evil barbarians knowing that the calf was as good as dead, and the cow was rapidly losing her chances you would think we would cut our losses, and just shoot CircleOfLife2-WP her, right? Well I cannot speak for every rancher/farmer but I was taught that,when you raise animals, although we kill them and eat them when it is time, we also have a responsibility to protect and care for them. Just like in the Lion King, the circle of life. We don’t just let a cow die, we have a responsibility. We own it, we probably raised it, it depends on us for food and health and although it is not a pet, we do see them as more than meat or money on the hoof.

calves-460_1373344c So we get the truck and the trailer and the tractor and we proceed to lift and push her into the trailer. We call the vet, Doc Baker will meet us at his office, it is an hour drive. An hour later we arrive at the Vet’s, it is past supper time now. We fashion a ramp and tie her off to the barn and drive the truck out from under her. Somehow we get her on her feet. She has been in labor since sometime right after lunch, we realized she had trouble mid afternoon, we worked on her until dark, it is now over an hour past that. The calf is in a bad position and is huge. Doc reaches it and feels around and sure enough the calf is dead. What follows was one of the worst experiences on the farm I have been through. If nothing is done the cow will die shortly. Her hips are already so disjointed she can barely stand, and if she was not in the chute she would fall. Doc gets a piece of cable saw and reaches in and positions it between the front legs of the calf and on one side of its neck and then cuts the calf in half back through the shoulders and pulls that piece out. A little repositioning and a repeating of the process and one hind leg comes out. Lastly he pulls the other leg and abdomen out. It looks just like a calf, cute calfbut it is lying in a pile in three pieces in the dirt. It has hair, and eyelashes, and big brown eyes, and it is, although very large for a newborn, still a baby calf. It should have been walking around and lookin’ all cute the way baby’s of every species do. Instead it is lying like meat in three pieces on the ground, it might have lived if we had gotten her to the doctor a few hours previously, then again, it was so big I am not sure. Then Doc has to retrieve the placenta because the cow gave up pushing hours ago. Pa asks Doc, “you think the mama will make it?” Doc says “I don’t know, she will not be able to stand but if you can keep her on antibiotics and get her to eat and drink a bit she might.” Some painkillers for her and some stitches and then we spent another hour getting her back in the trailer and another hour driving back. Pa attended to her for about a week, and gradually the ol’ gal got better. I am sure Pa cute%20calf sold her not long after that and she probably ended up hamburgers. The point is this, that was almost twenty years ago, and I still remember. Doc Baker was at home, he didn’t have to get back out that late at night to do what he did. We didn’t have to pay all the money hauling her and medicating her, and the vet bill notwithstanding; she was just a beef cow right? I remember that baby calf lying in the dirt, flies buzzing around it, it was all wet and it had a pink little nose and big long eyelashes and it was lying in three pieces…dead. I remember it still.

These same assholes that think Partial Birth abortion is fine and dandy are the Newborn_1same people that think clubbing a seal and wearing fur is abhorrent. The only two fur seal differences between my story with the calf and a partial birth abortion is the calf was dead and the baby isn’t; and Babies are humans. I am not one of these people who say that all lives are equal. If it was between my hunger and a cow dying, I’ll take my Steak medium well, thanks. steak_out But some of the idiots we have in the White House actually believe that there is no difference between one life and another, and they think that abortion is ok, yet hunting wolves that are decimating the caribou herds is akin to the genocide in Darfur… I am intellectually honest in my position. All lives have worth, and yet some lives are going to have to be lost to provide for the circle of life. On the other hand I am saddened by the needless death of something that only a few years later I would have killed myself to provide food for me and mine and remember it plainly twenty years later. We spent far more on the old cow than she was worth, treating her and caring for her; and yet she still ended up as meat. Where is the intellectual honesty of people who say that aborting a child, and some even say up until he has the concept to understand his place in society, is acceptable; and culling predators who are driving other animals to near extinction thus preventing famine of the predators themselves, or the outrage over whales, seals, chickens, etc. used for food and clothing is barbaric? Abortion ok, killing animals for food bad? I love beef but feel remorse for veal. I Like eating goose, but I am not really wild about what it takes to make Fois Gras (and it is gross anyway).

I say all lives have the right to be born and be lived to the best of their ability, we have the responsibility to care for the animals and not treat them cruelly, at the same time we should not Humanize animals to put them on equal terms with our own species. How can we elevate a good dog, a seal, or a beef cow above that of an infant? Some people actually believe that the dog that is trained to get the newspaper’s life is worth more than a newborn baby’s and some of them are in the White House. Not only is that plainly crazy, it is intellectually dishonest. I think if everyone grew up on a farm raising animals they would understand. Instead we have people who think abortion is ok, and KFC is a sin.


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