Yes, I can love one and eat the other
ANIMAL EQUALITY: Why are some more equal than others?
I had my dog put down yesterday.
Tues 28th April. Around 8:48 am. I cried. A lot. I've just posted his image on this page and the screen is starting to blur...
He wasn't in pain. But he was in discomfort and his condition was terminal. The increasing lethargy and pounding of his labouring heart that morning was the signal. You can procrastinate only for so long.
He relied on me for his wellbeing and he relied on me to help him out when he couldn't help himself. The responsibility cannot be shirked. He had a right to die when living became too hard.
Phone call made and the wait for the vet was filled with tears and farewells.
That afternoon, on the same day, the cull cows were sorted, identification tags checked and they were put into the curfew yard to ensure safe transit to the abattoirs. There were no tears. The decision to send them to their final destiny was made without qualm, regret or remorse, yet the responsibility for their wellbeing fell on the same shoulders that had been sobbing inconsolably just hours prior, over a dog.
I can love one yet eat another? You bet.
Is the care and consideration for their well being the same? You bet.
They all have rights. The right to be well fed, well cared for and well treated. To have ills and injuries, misadventures and mishaps tended to. And yet one is sent to slaughter and the other solemnly laid to rest overlooking his favourite view.
Perhaps now is the time to introduce reality. Production animals are just that, yet individually they each matter. Each calf saved in a difficult birth is a triumph. Each illness cured a win - and it's not all about the money, it's about a living, breathing animal for which you are responsible for.
A world population that demands protein in the form of animal meat dictates that animals be raised and slaughtered for consumption. Efficiency and profitability determines their welfare is paramount.
Slaughter is not a crime and yet, as a part of the process and being a beef cattle farmer, the insults come thick and fast from the "compassionate" faction of society who deem me cruel, heartless, murderous, insensitive.
The dog was family and I was his world, his pack leader, his carer and provider and he had the intelligence centuries of evolution had given him to benefit from the relationship. The cows, well, they did their own thing within their own hierarchy, guided by the management provided, to ensure their wellbeing and productivity.
They weren't family, they were (oh, heaven forbid) a product. Yet still, I maintain, the care given them was no less, simply a little less personal and familial. Their lives were largely natural.
So, who is right in deciding an animals fate?
I've read of 'rescued' chooks being given egg-inhibiting drugs. Apparently the drugs have a negative effect on their natures!
I've read of calves losing their feet to frostbite, but being 'saved' by having to undergo endless procedures and surgeries to fit new prosthetics as they grow. I've read of grossly flyblown sheep moribund with infection being put through hours/days of extra pain in a futile attempt to 'save' them.
Is that natural or right or in the animals best interest?
When does an individuals 'feel good motive' come at the cost of the animals well being? And who decides when and how to draw the line?
There are more questions than answers and, ultimately, it is an individual's perspective of what entails 'animal rights'. Being a beef farmer, I resent the cruel, murderous tag coming from those who I perceive as committing far worse wrongs regarding animal welfare, than producing farmed animals.
I have a new pup who is filling the void. The cows start calving next month. All will be well treasured.
Published 01 May 2015. Dorrigo NSW2453
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