I started this blog to talk about the questions, about wrestling with the angels, struggling with things I don’t know and things I do know, but don’t quite want to accept.
I’ve gotten a little off-course here. I’ve been distracted by some important things going on: Emily Maynard’s post about modesty and the controversy that followed, including my two posts (here and here), Mark Driscoll’s slut-shaming of Esther, Hurricane Isaac, and more.
Well, during this month a new struggle has begun within me, a struggle with cruelty to animals … specifically, the animals that make up such a large part of my daily diet. Kurt Willems’s “God of the Gut” article sent my mind down paths my belly really wished it hadn’t. Greg Boyd’s “Compassionate Dominion and Factory Farms” sealed the deal. Modern American factory farming is not humane. It just isn’t. (Warning, the videos are not for the faint of heart).
Let me say that I’m neither a vegetarian nor even a pacifist right now. I have no problem whatsoever killing and eating animals. I even hunt a couple of times a year with my uncle. Any animal living in the wild has to worry about getting eaten. Herbivores have to worry about predation, and even predators have to worry about being eaten from the inside out by disease or parasites. So the death of an animal for food is not a problem in my mind.
But I will not abide torture. And the practices in factory farms, where animals are held in tiny crates (sometimes for their entire lives), are castrated or de-toothed without anesthesia, and are slaughtered sloppily, leaving some alive for the slaughtering process? That’s torture.
This isn’t an example of something I’m not sure about. I wouldn’t treat my dogs like that, and pigs are roughly as intelligent as dogs. I know, I’m not planning to eat my dogs. But I wouldn’t treat a deer like that, either.
Every hunter has ethical standards, trying to take only shots that are sure, that will kill quickly, that won’t make the animal suffer unnecessarily. Yet, when it comes to factory farming, there are no such considerations. Like so much in corporate America, the bottom line is king.
So like I said, I’m not struggling with whether this is right for me to do. I’m struggling with what a deep-seated pain in the neck it is. I can’t back-check restaurants, so guess who’s a pescetarian when he eats out? And guess who used to be head-over-heels in love with Rosie’s Barbecue, Strick’s Barbecue, Mug Shots Burgers, and just about any version of chili cheese fries? Guess who’s got to convince his wife to pay twice as much for meat and 50% for eggs? Thankfully, she’s been very supportive.
Essentially, my struggle is to not be a wimp. I’ve read the horror stories. I know what I have to do. Now, the struggle is to do it. Funny how that goes.