I've become something of a lurker on this list, but as a participant in both
sanet and graze-L and a grazing researcher, I've thought a lot about animal
health and comfort and the relationship between farmers and their stock.
Andy Richker writes:
I find it curious that cattlepeople or others
>in a similar vein see nothing strange about caring and probably even liking
>their herds and then killing them. I think it is bit of a shame that
>especially these people who can practice such a positive interaction with
>their land and animals end up having to exploit them for their own
>livelihood. But I guess this is the nature of capitalism.
I would disagree that this "contradiction" has anything to do with
capitalism. I think it is very much a natural aspect of the relationship of
humans with the animals that we use to meet our needs for food, clothing,
etc. I would remind Andy of the respect/reverence that many Native American
peoples had for the animals they hunted. This is characteristic of other
more subsistance based cultures, as well. I don't think that the affection
that some farmers feel for their livestock is much different. Humans have
consumed meat for millenia--biologically, we are omnivorous. It is natural
that people have developed ways of expressing our respect and appreciation
for the animals that provide us sustenance.
Department of Agronomy
University of Wisconsin
1575 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706