The topic I am writing on today is a tender one. One that will draw much passion on both sides of the equation. I hesitated to write about it, but the more I thought about it, the more moved I became.
I was involved in a discussion on Facebook about the slaughtering of dogs for meat. The people in this discussion were angry and horrified by the practise. Comments like "never here in Canada, that's disgusting" etc...abounded. WARNING - there are some graphic images that I have gathered for this article - if you have a squeamish stomach, this is not going to make you feel very good.

We here in north America are very quick to condemn and criticize cultures that we do not understand. We become outraged by pictures of hundreds of dog pelts laid out to dry after the dogs were slaughtered for food. Or the photos of dogs in wooden cages crammed in so tight they can barley move and yet...

How many of you have ever been to a "modern and humane" slaughter house?
How many of you know how a cow, chicken, pig or horse come to be on your dinner plate?

 Above, Hogs on a rail in a slaughter house, below that, dogs on a rail in a market and below that, monkeys on a rail after the kill...all being used for food.

I am a farm girl, we were taught that dogs were our working companions as were the horses, we were taught not to get attached to the steers because we'd be eating them come fall, we were taught never to invest ourselves emotionally in the ducks and chickens we raised as they too would end up in the freezer. The same held true for the pigs.

I was taught that cats had a job, to kill mice, they were not a pet, they were an employee.
Our milk cow was one of the only domestic farm animals save for the horses and dogs that it was OK to get close to.

I used to be an avid hunter, I have shot and gutted deer, moose and elk. I have prepared fish out of a stream and served it for dinner and prepared duck and geese shot from the sky for the oven...

The native North American Indian killed buffalo and other game, the Inuit - seals.
Dead seals - killed during a traditional hunt, the
dinner table and clothing is where they are destined.

Fishermen kill whales and dolphins, fish and shell fish of all kinds, the destination? Supermarkets everywhere.

And yet, we rail because other cultures eat dogs and cats. How - why is this so offensive to us?

When I studied the Native North American Indian in high school, I learned that the meat eating tribes used every bit of the buffalo or bear they killed to feed, clothe and house their families and that they never took a life with out thanking the creature for providing - they always thanked the great spirit for providing and not just with words but as I said, by utilizing every ounce of meat, hide, sinew and bone. NOTHING was wasted.

For as long as man has been on this planet we have eaten animals of all shapes and sizes - used their pelts for shelter, clothing, tools, weapons, implements and footwear.

Cruelty to any creature is one thing, beating an animal is just plain wrong in my humble opinion.

As I have written this article, I have examined my upbringing and my values I can honestly say that some of the teachings I was raised with were wrong.

I was told chickens are dumb - they are not. I worked on a chicken farm harvesting eggs and there was this one rooster who used to always attack me. Well one day, this same rooster was being beaten by three others, he was on his back and doomed to die. I shooed the other roosters away and put this guy back up on his feet and from that day forward, every time I went into his barn, he followed me and made sure no other rooster attacked me.

I was told cats are not a pet, but an employee and yet now that I have a cat, I can't imagine why my parents would cheat me out of a love like that.

I was told that cows are stupid creatures and yet I can attest to their mother's love - watching a cow and her sickly calf , the love and concern the mother feels is evident in her face and her mannerisms. 
I have had cows snuggle me and show pure joy at seeing me. And I can tell you with out a doubt that horses and dogs have an unconditional love that is amazing. Sheep and goats can be hilarious or serious, they all have personalities - every living creature I have ever come across has a personality.

I have had wild deer as pets, and yet I viewed coyotes as the greatest pest a farmer can deal with next to the gopher and badger.

We are hypocrites people - every person who wears leather goods, eats beef, pork, chicken and seafood or any other manner of creature is a hypocrite if we express our outrage at what other cultures eat. We have no idea beyond images shown to us of what their culture believes or what their land offers up for food be it creature or legume. Unless of course we choose to educate ourselves.

We look at the Asian cultures and react to the images of dogs strung up, not unlike pigs on a slaughter house rail and we react with violent - indigent anger.

What is the difference - I mean really and honestly - what is the difference?

Is it because we view dogs and cats as pets - companions and friends?

Is it because of our religious views?

In other countries they revere cattle as sacred and untouchable and will starve sooner that kill a cow and yet here in North America as in many countries, cattle are slaughtered daily to feed us.

I am at an age in my life where I am learning to look at all sides of an issue and this whole issue has made me examine my own core values - and I have a question for you...after reading this, after seeing the pictures, the similarities in how we treat cattle, hogs and chickens - how is what they do in these other countries really any different from what we do?

Does a cow feel less terror going into the slaughter house than a dog does?
Does a horse fear more or less than a cat? What about a veal calf?
What about sheep and goats? How about that cute looking seal?
What about the gigantic whale or the smallest fish?
I wonder at the terror they feel and how it differs from the terror of any other creature?

What makes us human beings on the north American continent think our way is the only way or the right way? Do other cultures react as violently to our practises as we do to theirs?

We are talking the killing of animals for food, clothing and in some cases still today, shelter - beating an animal, neglecting an animal that is totally wrong no matter what in my books - but the killing of a creature to feed us - what is right and what is wrong? The bible tells us which "beasts" are OK to eat and which are not. 
I wonder what other religious books say on the topic...some day when I have the time to read, I think I will examine other religious books to see what is considered as right and wrong.

I think that I might just become a vegan, this situation has really caused me to look at the feelings of the creatures that grace our dinner tables and our bodies- all of these creatures I believe feel- but that is just me.

All I can picture right now is Bessie the cow with her big nose at the window of a Wendy's or a McDonald's and those big sad cow eyes dripping with tears as we eat her son.

Many of us don't even give thanks before we eat, we are that tactless and thoughtless, it is as if we somehow view ourselves as superior to the creature whose life was sacrificed so we could have sustenance.

People will continue to eat beef, pig, goat, lamb, horse, monkey, seal, moose, deer, elk, elephant, cariboo, alligator, rhinoceros, armadillo, possum, snake, question is this...

How do these creatures feel when we kill them? And what is right and wrong with regards to this topic. I am in no way being disrespectful to those who feel outrage at dogs and cats being used for food, I am truly in a place of self examination and wondering how you view the topic and whether or not you have ever considered what an animal thinks or feels...

Something tells me this is a discussion that will go on until the end of time.

As always, I appreciate your feed back and input...

The news feeds are pretty quiet so far today but sadly there have been more deaths in our community.

Have a fabulous Monday and if you are riding today - PLEASE, ride like everyone around you is blind and can not see you and a reminder - respect with that right hand is doubly important right now as we defend our community against discriminatory motorcycle only noise bylaws.

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  1. cruisinthru9:37 AM

    as "enlightened" humans we have blurred the line between emotions and instincts. Our survival instincts are we let our emotions rule.
    If we were starving somewhere and had to fight for our "cute" do you think that cat or monkey would be then?

  2. From the desk of... Good Ol' HG,
    Hogswipe Amb@$$ador

    Fer what it's worth, ALL creatures (I believe) are inherently born with the capability to Love, Nourish & Sacrifice for the sake of their own...

    We, as a culture, would have to go WAY BACK to even begin to under-stand the concepts in which we take for granted today...

    YES, there was a time when we had to learn to hunt & fish simply to survive. At this point, I would venture to think it is a genetical predisposition and an inherent part that's within each and every one of us...

    That said, (& this is comin' from meat-eater) I believe it would be a step in an "enlightened" direction to at least try to minimize our plight of the world's precious living things and pursue a path that was given to us without need for sacrifice, a path that is in an overall sense, healthy, which in the end, is truly what makes sense...

    Then again, what do I know, I'm Jus' an @$$ and las' time I looked, it seems everbody wants a piece of me!

    BOTTOM LINE: Don't judge or condemn... Enlightenment comes from within each & everyone of us, for it is a gift we are ALL given, an opportunity we ALL share... & I believe we should use it wisely for the sake of our shared experience~

    I think I'll go have a salad... Greek of course! ;)

  3. Pass the bacon. On second thought I think I'll have a steak. :)