19 Sep

My job is the best. I spend my time looking after animals and tending to things on the farm. It is very satisfying work, and I enjoy it very much.

The time is nearing its end for my pigs, and I have been reflecting upon their lives and the time I have spent with them.  I have been every day with these pigs since they left their mothers, and it is a sad time, preparing for their death. I feel that a lot of people think something along the lines of , “I told you it would be hard,”  about this. They would be right, but not in the sense that I was unprepared for it. I have always known it would be sad to send them to their death, but for me, that is not a reason not to have raised animals for meat. For nutritional/scientific, social, and ethical reasons, I think that humans should eat meat. I am not going to go into the ethics of whether or not to eat meat here, because that is not the point I am getting at right now. After accepting the belief that we should eat meat, I am faced with the problems of how to feed humans meat without treating animals like they are meat-manufacturing organisms without individuality or value.  Getting involved in producing meat is, for me, an extension of my former vegetarianism – strange as it might be for some to grasp that. I raise animals for food so that someone knew them, cared for them, valued their lives, appreciated their individuality, and was sad when they died. Yes, being sad about their death is part of the point for me. I am capable of turning off that empathy towards the animals – it is pretty easy to do, but I challenge myself not to, because I think the sadness should be acknowledged.

I am not willing to shield myself from the hard parts of eating meat or being a part of human society by letting someone else do the dirty work – especially someone else who considers them to be a meat-manufacturing organism and treats them callously…or worse.

There is a commonly-held opinion that one should not become too attached to farm animals, because of the inevitable end to that relationship, but I do not agree with that. It is fool’s logic to think we shouldn’t love something because it is going to die…no different than refusing to fall in love because it will inevitably end. The point is to live and glean as much joy, love, and pleasure along the way as we are able, all the while coping with all the harder parts. As I will always say about many different situations, avoiding the hard parts, the pain, the struggle, is not the point of life.

These pigs have brought me much joy. They make me laugh. Like the other day, one ate so fast, she barfed. Totally funny. I’ve been there, girl. I never named them, but I know them individually by their personalities. The littlest one will give up dinner for any kind of affection. If I rub her belly, she will roll onto her side, sighing and smiling; she solicits ear nibbles and caresses from the other pigs, too. Today I saw he medium boy breathe into her face affectionately and she loved it. The biggest one is the most food-motivated, and also the most suspicious and surly. She makes a show of wanting to be left alone, but she will begrudgingly let me scratch her neck for one second. I will remember each one of them warmly.


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