ethics browsing by tag


The myth of rural ethics

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

I just posted a comment in response to a blog post on the Iowa Farm Bureau blog. I doubt that the comment will get approved, so I thought I’d post it here as well.

Here’s the paragraph that caught my eye:

Not only are too many suburban-dwelling kids like my daughter removed from the character-building value of the sweaty, dirty, heavy-lifting jobs which are a part of farm life, they’re uneducated on modern food production. How can we be surprised when they are seduced or recruited by animal activists who claim food today comes from cruel practices or polluters? Many kids have never been on a farm to gain the experience to discern the truth themselves.

Here’s my comment:

I grew up on a small homestead farm in rural Vermont. I watched cows and goats give birth. I saw pigs and cows killed and then butchered. I helped with the smoking of their meat. I helped in the garden weeding and picking vegetables that we ate and canned and pickled.
All of that experience led me to realize that there was no justification for killing these animals. I experienced looking into their eyes in that moment of death. I saw how they wanted to live and how they cared for their young. We were getting enough food from the vegetables we were growing, why did we need to raise these animals like this and then kill them?
I think if people allow themselves to openly and honestly experience the lives of the animals they are “raising” they will gain an greater appreciation of those lives. And a greater respect – a real respect, one that enables us to take the great and noble step of letting them live their own lives.
I’ve also spent time on farm animal sanctuaries, where I have been able to be with animals who are not destined to be loaded on a slaughter truck or get shot in the head. The experience is far different, and I remember those days with happiness. The sadness of killing an animal to eat is not necessary, and can be completely and easily avoided through responsible choices. How can any suffering we inflict be justified when we are doing it unnecessarily?