In reference to the 4-H articles (June 20), Sheila Gill’s response (June 27), and the subsequent responses: I am a confused meat eater. I like the taste of meat. My body seems to crave it when I have been a vegetarian, so I try to eat meat that is grass-fed, organic, and sustainably and lovingly raised. Though I have chickens, cats and dogs, I could personally never eat them because I have grown to love them, and I believe they love me.
When my kids were little and we went to the 4-H fairs, they wanted to buy cows, pigs, and bulls to “save them” from being eaten. They were having the same confusion I was having, reconciling the love and care of animals, then the eating of them!
There are numerous studies published on the feelings of animals, so to say, in essence, as Bill Gass and Heather McAvoy (July 4) have that the 4-H animals are not raised as pets, I think we are trying to deny that we have feelings for animals or that they have them for us. This is not anthropomorphizing, it is just denial and possibly a touch of brainwashing of the children. I doubt there is one of those kids who did not have fondness, i.e. “love,” for the animals they so carefully tended before sale.
Being a meat eater in our culture requires a certain amount of denial, especially when we see the hideous and inhumane ways animals are treated and raised for food, as pets, and for human “pleasure,” such as rodeos, bullfights, cockfights, dogfights, etc.
Why deny what plainly exists? We love animals, they love us, and sometimes we eat them. I just hope we all could love them and respect them in the way the 4-H children apparently do, with full acceptance of our feelings, including guilt.