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So, okay, dig it: Let me start by saying that I’m not writing this to start some ugly debate complete with childish jokes and defensive jabs. I’m writing this because I am genuinely confused and upset by something and I really need to talk about it and work through it.
This past weekend I was at a fundraiser for Hoofprints and Heartbeats and I was shooting some photos of a lady and her two horses. As I followed her and her friend into the horse pen I heard her saying “I’m mad at Anthony Bourdain right now because I saw him on a show eating horse meat in Europe. That is horrific.” Wait…what? Now, here’s where I’m confused. Why is it okay to eat cows or pigs but it’s not okay to eat horses or dogs? Please don’t tell me it’s an intelligence thing. Pigs have been proven to be as smart if not smarter than dogs. Is it an aesthetic issue? Ugly animals may be eaten? That doesn’t explain people who eat lamb. I just don’t get it.
There are people in China who don’t think twice about raising dogs in pens and then slaughtering and eating them. It’s cultural. There are people in India who are horrified at the idea of eating cows. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I wish that people would just own their shit. It makes absolutely no sense to say that it’s terrible that people eat horses while one is chowing down on pork ribs. They’re all animals. They all deserve our love and protection. They can’t make the decisions that we make. We can choose to eat things other than animals.
I saw author Gail Carriger this past Friday at Murder by the Book and during her lecture she talked about apex predators. She said that we as humans are the perfect examples of apex predators because we have no predators of our own, which can cause all sorts of issues. I think that the term “apex predator” is all about power. We make life and death decisions for millions of living creatures. We are strong and intelligent. We are the top of the food chain. To me, that means that we can’t just sit back and take what we want. Because we are so smart, we can use our intelligence for better things. Yeah, I’m going to quote Spider-Man (or rather, Stan Lee) here:
With great power comes great responsibility.
We’re responsible for this Earth and for everything on it. Everything.
“But animals are delicious! Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!” Fine. Go for it. Just own it. Acknowledge what you’re doing. Please, please stop living in weird denial. The package of meat in the store was once a living, trusting, thinking, feeling creature, just like your beloved dog, cat, horse, or bird. The lamb that you’re eating was taken from its mother against its will and slaughtered. The fish on your plate was jerked from the ocean and suffocated. How does this make sense? I’m not trying to be some vegan terrorist, I’m honestly confused. HOW does it make sense?
I’m not looking to fight. I’m not. I’m looking for peace and for peace of mind. Here’s what I wish: I wish that instead of being predators we could be caretakers. Let’s be custodians. Let’s care for the Earth, and everything on it, including each other.
That will be my wish for everyone.