Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Johann Wagener 10-15-13

In India cows are sacred. Here they are great on the BBQ grill. In Korea dogs are a great serve for dinner. Here we spend more money pampering the little critters than most people in the world spend on themselves.

I remembered that as a kid growing up in a post WWII world my folks (who were old fashioned that way) kept a fully stocked vegetable garden and  a barn full of chickens and rabbits. That was just in case another war started up.

I also have fragments of memories about my experiences during those years; especially when it came to the rabbits; some of which I gave names to and called my pets. I recall spending time in the cages when the new born bunnies arrived and being delighted in watching them romp and stomp; all with different personalities of sorts. They were a lot of fun. I clearly remember that.

Then those bunnies grew up and the memories went dark. I have flashes of my dad grabbing on to one of my friends by their long fluffy ears, quickly cracking their skulls with a hammer, slicing them open from stem to stern and hanging them up to bleed out while at the same time gutting them. He would then come back a little later and literally strip them of their skin. Then it  was my mothers turn. Off into the kitchen she went, and the last time I saw my friend(s) would be on our dinning room table with my father commenting on how great the wine sauce was and my mother taking the complimentary bows and encouraging me and my sister to "dig in."

I don't want to give the impression that I'm a vegan. I'm not. Meat is on my list of things I like to eat; except rabbits,of course. But after reading articles like the one posted here I always have moments of apprehension about what some might call a barbaric practice; especially if I conjure up images of these creatures pre-slaughter. Like the one's that were my friends.

That leads me to again question why I continue to participate in this practice? The internal debate sort of goes like this; why eat meat? well, it's good for you. you need the protein, blah, blah,blah. Then, what if I lived in Korea? How would I handle the "pooch steaks" thing? Still, my doctor says meat is good for me. But then, in the 50's doctors (or guys dressed liked them) used to say cigarettes were good for you; fresh like Spring air. Uhm?

And so my internal  debate continues even though at times it seems to be resolving itself. As I get older I find myself becoming less and less craving a steak or those juicy racks of beef I used to devour any time I could find an excuse to do it. So maybe, just maybe, as I grow older, Mother Nature will make the decision for me. Just maybe.

We Americans like to think of ourselves as animal lovers. But is this claim true? One way to answer this question is to follow the money. According to government, industry and interest group stats, we spend about $50 billion on our pets annually and donate another $6 billion to animal-related and environmental charities. This sounds like a lot until you compare it to the amount we collectively devote to killing members of other species: $72 billion on hunting and fishing, $60 billion on animal research and $240 billion on meat, poultry and seafood. In short, Americans fork out nearly seven times more toward harming animals than toward protecting them.

Our cultural schizophrenia over the treatment of other species is also reflected in our behavior. In 2010, PETA named Bill Clinton Man of the Year because he had forsworn the consumption of animal products and become a vegan — no meat, no dairy, no honey. Yet on CNN last year, while extolling the benefits of his new vegetable-only lifestyle, the former president casually added, "Now I try to eat salmon once a week."