You may remember a comment I received after I wrote the post about butchering our lambs. Yesterday, I was reading one of my favorite blogs and read something on this subject I really appreciated. Ben Hewitt writes:
Death happens. Things die all the time so that we might live. You drive a car whose emissions are smothering countless creatures, including fellow humans, whose very production has killed many times over. We sit in front of computers that are full of rare earth minerals, the mining of which ravages ecosystems far beyond our range of vision. I could go on. The truth is, it doesn’t matter what you eat or what you don’t eat. It doesn’t matter if you wear leather or don’t, if you live in the city or the country, if you read the Bible or the Koran.
Things die so you can live. You will someday die so others can live. To the extent possible, our preference is to acknowledge this reality. To take some ownership of it. People sometimes say to me, in reference to slaughtering animals for our consumption: I don’t think I could do that. I understand the sentiment. We inhabit a culture that does its level best to segregate us from the reality of death and dying, and particularly the death and dying that is the direct consequence of our living. The thing I always want to say in reply to this comment, the thing I never quite have the guts to say because I fear it could make them uncomfortable or be perceived as insensitive, is this: Sure you could. In fact, you already are.