The hard lessons of life on farm

Message for Papa

Every farmer is by nature a philosopher. You must live for the big picture, cherish the little things and remember that, no matter what, the wheel continues to turn.

This week, a cow died in labour and two more gave birth to bulls. We felt sad about the death of a favourite but welcomed two of her sisters back into the herd. Farmers know that death is an inescapable fact of life.

Even so, it was different when a friend’s dog was killed in a freak tree-felling accident. It’s much harder to be philosophical about a the passing of a man’s best mate and I felt sick just hearing about it.

It’s times like these that throw the delineation between farm animal and pet into stark relief. Animal activists often ask farmers and meat eaters whether they would eat their own pets. Of course not. Does that make a compelling case for veganism?

Not in my view. All our animals will die one day, irrespective of the cause. What makes us ethical custodians is the quality of life we provide.

7 thoughts on “The hard lessons of life on farm

  1. I tidied up the chookyard today, shifted the chookhouse basically the same yard just more space for my chooks to roam in. Oddly enough today I thought about how different my yard has become since I introduced my chooks just a few months back. Neighbours walk past & talk to the chooks, there is always some one dropping scraps over their fence or stale bread etc. I live in a normal suburbian house but I am creating a permaculture garden along with the fresh veggies & the chooks the neighbours now walking past & stopping to chat with the girls & with each other. It has turned my corner block into a place with a different feel.

    Yes animals bring with them a great deal of responsibilty, but they also bring love and joy.
    I am sorry to hear of the loss of the cow and the dog,they will be missed for who they were in everyones life.


    • What an interesting observation, Rosemary. There’s something very calming about chooks – I reckon it’s a combination of their ludicrous shapes, seemingly random wanderings and that lovely warbling sound they make. Who could resist your oasis?


  2. Aw, I am so sorry for your loss. Very well said on the difference between the way we feel about pets and farm yard animals. I love our cows but it is a different love than what I feel for my border collie.


  3. The second part of your question is actually about factory farming. Because while animals understand being eaten and that relationship, it doesn’t mean we understand living lives of hell and dying in panic and pain. That also is not part of the natural way of things. And it is a direct product of humans not being in relationship with their food. If you were in relationship with all you ate, you would never mistreat an animal in the food chain. You would never kill your vegetables with poisons. You would treat ALL living things with love, respect, and honor. Because you would understand that the life you treat well will nourish you. Instead, you have walled off all relationship with your food and thus have treated the living beings who give their lives to you with complete disrespect, dishonor, and total lack of compassion. And this you then feed to yourselves and your children. If humans for one minute felt the anguish and pain of the animals you hold captive and kill for your food, the practice you call factory farming would come to a screeching halt. Yet you blindly consume that anguish daily. What you do to them goes into you.


    • My spam filter had collected your comment, “Corporation offshore” and I must say that I’m not sure whether you’re a spammer or not but I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt. I guess the whole point of the post was to explain that it is possible to have compassion for animals and yet be an omnivore.


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