More human than (the) human(s).

October 20th, 2008 9:52 pm by Kelly Garbato

In The New York Times, “Farm Boy” Nicholas Kristof “Reflects” on time spent murdering innocent, sentient beings:

Then there were the geese, the most admirable creatures I’ve ever met. We raised Chinese white geese, a common breed, and they have distinctive personalities. They mate for life and adhere to family values that would shame most of those who dine on them.

While one of our geese was sitting on her eggs, her gander would go out foraging for food—and if he found some delicacy, he would rush back to give it to his mate. Sometimes I would offer males a dish of corn to fatten them up—but it was impossible, for they would take it all home to their true loves.

Once a month or so, we would slaughter the geese. When I was 10 years old, my job was to lock the geese in the barn and then rush and grab one. Then I would take it out and hold it by its wings on the chopping block while my Dad or someone else swung the ax.

The 150 geese knew that something dreadful was happening and would cower in a far corner of the barn, and run away in terror as I approached. Then I would grab one and carry it away as it screeched and struggled in my arms.

Very often, one goose would bravely step away from the panicked flock and walk tremulously toward me. It would be the mate of the one I had caught, male or female, and it would step right up to me, protesting pitifully. It would be frightened out of its wits, but still determined to stand with and comfort its lover.

He goes on to say,

So, yes, I eat meat (even, hesitantly, goose). But I draw the line at animals being raised in cruel conditions.

How very generous of you, Mr. Kristof.

Elsewhere, three Floridian teens – John Richmond, Caleb Smith and Anthony Strickland – shot and butchered a calf in front of its his (her?) mother, stole his (her?) corpse, and then spent the rest of the evening dismembering the body from the comfort of their own home. Mama cow, meanwhile, grieved through the night for her lost child:

According to an arrest affidavit, the three men jumped a fence entering Holman’s property. Smith was carrying a .22-caliber rifle, the report states. After locating the calf, Smith shot the animal. Then the three gutted and dragged the calf to the fence line, where they broke a wooden section of the fence to get the animal out. […]

The men loaded the animal into the back of Smith’s truck and then took it to Smith’s home, where they butchered it. They took the rest of the calf’s remains and dumped them in a canal at 41st Street and 66th Avenue, the arrest report said.

Sheriff’s deputies were able to follow a blood trail that led to Smith’s home. They also found blood and remains in Smith’s vehicle. All three men were interviewed. Smith would not talk, but Strickland and Richmond admitted to the incident, a report states.

The 6-month-old calf was one of about 90 head of cattle on the property, Holman said. He valued the calf at about $500.

Holman said he found the calf’s head Sunday morning near a ditch where the three men reportedly killed it in front of its mother.

“The mother cow was looking in the ditch,” Holman said. “She stayed there for 24 hours. They killed the calf right in front of the mother cow. I want to see them punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

Mary Martin notes the irony in the calf’s would-be killer calling for the calf’s actual killers to be “punished to the fullest extent of the law”:

I can’t even begin to imagine the anguish of the grieving mother, and I don’t even want to imagine what might be going on between the ears of the three charged with this crime. However, how twisted is it that the rancher, whose “property” exists to go to slaughter, wants the killers punished for preventing him from killing his “property” on his own time and in his own way? Perhaps the manner in which he was going to create his end result is different from what the men did, but the result is the same: the calf dies. Holman should just come out and say he’s angry because the killing represents lost income; his outrage, the way it’s expressed, is bizarre.

Welcome to The Twilight Zone, 1984, and unfortunately, the US of A in 2008, where murder of an individual is called destruction of property; where premeditated, institutionalized killing of sentient humans isn’t murder at all; and where it’s unthinkably vicious to tear one individual calf from his or her mother in the dead of night, but it’s perfectly acceptable to do it on a mass scale, on a schedule, in the light of day.

Sigh. And humankind is supposedly the most evolved, enlightened species in the animal kingdom? My daily existence suggests otherwise.

Oh, and by the way – both of these incidents demonstrate the ways in which animal rights can be viewed from a feminist perspective. Lovers and children, ripped from their mates and mothers, to feed the bloodthirsty beast that is the megatheocorporatocracy – how is that not a “feminist issue”?

Hint: “because they’re animals” is not a valid answer, because it relies on group membership and reeks of speciesism and human privilege. Try again, please.

(Crossposted from.)



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3 Responses to “More human than (the) human(s).”

  1. Jeni Treehugger Says:

    You know – I’ve never understood and nor will I, how anyone who has worked in the slaughtering of animals can continue to eat animals. I just can’t relate to people who think and justify things like that.
    When I read that Farm Boy article I was thinking – “this is going to be a heartfelt story of someone who realised the unethical and murderous treatment of animals raised solely for food and who saw the light and the relisation of how cruel and wrong their acts were and are now on a mission to bring that realistation to others.”
    And the crazy thing is – that IS what he’s trying to do while still munching down on a cow sandwich!!

  2. Kelly Says:

    I know, I know! That was my exact feeling reading the article. I mean, where do you go from there?

  3. Elaine Vigneault Says:

    Great title for the post!

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