The domestication contract
know that many of you are still stuck on the ethics of eating meat
simply because you can't bear to think that you were personally
responsible for the death of a cuddly cow or cute chicken. If
you're going to go that route, you should definitely become a vegan,
since being a vegetarian doesn't prevent the death of livestock
--- check out my essay about the bloody side of eggs, for example.
But I hope you'll
consider the fact that most of the animals that we
kill are domesticated livestock that wouldn't be able to survive in
the wild if turned loose to fend for themselves. We've entered
into a contract with our cows and pigs, just as we have with our cats
and dogs (although the terms are a bit different.) We feed them,
shelter them, and give them a happy life...until the day the guillotine
In nature, omnivores (like
humans) eat other animals, and death is part
of life. It just made sense to those first Red
to hang around human villages, staying where the food was copious and
the predators were few. In effect, the chickens-to-be traded a
dangerous life full of wild predators for a safe and easy life with
only one predator --- man.
On the other hand, pain
and suffering are not part of the contract ---
I believe that CAFOs
void the terms of our domestication agreement. On our homestead,
chickens are raised on pasture, live a happy life, and are killed
quickly, so I consider this a valid way to honor the agreement early
humans and Red Jungle Fowl made when the latter started hanging around
camps of the former.
When I was in high
school, I knee-jerked toward semi-vegetarianism, but
since then I've examined the issue in more detail and concluded that
eating meat in moderation is better for the planet. In many ways,
I think that being a vegetarian is a lot like washing
the birds caught in the oil spill
--- both actions make us feel better about living in a dangerous world
in which things die, but neither action actually helps that world
better place. I'd like to make the world a better place.
Want to make your chickens' world a better
place? Add a homemade chicken
waterer and improve their health
while preventing feather pecking.
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