Thursday, October 27, 2011

NAKED LUNCH AND BOWHUNTING-- “See the clown Mommy! See the clown.”

 Photo by me
My former writing teacher, Susan Swan, respected Canadian author and public intellectual, has been posting on Facebook about the personal and the political. Remember the Seventies slogan: “The personal is the political.”  That sort of conversation… It is from that discussion that I was inspired to write this blog.

Decades ago, in my photographic career, an agricultural magazine, hired me to do the illustrations for a piece on a new factory-farming hog operation. What I saw (and I will not describe it out of delicacy), disgusted me so deeply, that I decided then and there to not support the hog industry by eating pork.  My pork consumption is very low and sometimes nil for months. I am not perfect in my resolve, but not bad.

I once visited a slaughterhouse. It was not nearly as offensive as the factory hog farm, because the animals there only suffer for minutes or hours and not for many months. I suggest a visit to a slaughterhouse should be required for small children before they are allowed to visit the magic kingdom of Ronald McDonald, under the Golden Arches.

William Burroughs wrote the book Naked Lunch. He defined a “naked lunch” as “a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork." Indeed.

I am present at the death of almost every animal I eat and am aware of what it takes to put meat my fork. I am not living in denial—denying the life imprisonment and horrifying execution of the pig in my Sausage McMuffin suffered.  “See the clown, Mommy! See the clown!”

Killing with a bow is not a pretty thing; sometimes it is downright gruesome, but it is not factory farming.  Field dressing and butchering is disgusting.  I hunt for meat because my meat is the very definition of free-range, and it is not as though the animal I kill was not going to die anyway, eventually, of something. The “something” is usually winter starvation and, just about as commonly, predation or a parasite infestation combined with malnutrition. No matter how briefly painful it might be for my animal to die from a broadhead at the end of my arrow, it is kinder than any other way that animal was going to die “naturally”, unless it has the good fortune to run into the path of a transport truck.

I know what is on the end of my fork.

I respect vegetarians.

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