Assault and Battery

have you noticed my blog is feast or famine lately? sorry about that, if you are a regular reader. i get these good intentions to post on a schedule, with some kind of reliability, and then the unpredictable reality of this life i’m living sets in. if the saying is true, i’ve paved a super-highway to hell at this point. see you all there!

anyway, speaking of feasting, i’m sure by now you have heard of, and been grossed out by, the recent giganto salmonella outbreak in the egg industry and the appalling conditions found by the FDA, inside the batteries. there’s so much i feel compelled to say about this…from a health and diet standpoint (we support animal “industry” by our consumption and our consumption need not be so great! eat less eggs!), from a local economy standpoint (support small scale farms! support your neighbor and their small backyard flock! get your own chickens! pay the extra few bucks at the health food store to buy humane eggs!) ….and also from a compassion standpoint.

with the introduction of the latter, up steps this extremely brutish inner critic…more like some kind of inner bullying, closeminded, dismissive a-hole, a conglomerative figure from my childhood community…and i excuse myself with my passionate outcry and slink to the back of the class. it is this inner cartesian dualist that i assume i need to address, it is this mindset i think i have to change and even though i have felt validated over and over again, by personal experience, scholarship and “expert” opinion as to the reality of sentience and emotionality in animals…i totally clam up. i am one of the biggest advocates of compassion to other species that i know, and i am also one of the quietest. afraid of ridicule, aggression and tongue-tie, my mind goes blank, my knees get quivery and i am left with an upsurge of anger that brings tears to my eyes and increases that fear of being invalidated as “tender hearted” or “oversensitive” or “bleeding heart”. those boxes are really so insulting.

i don’t know how to speak to that mind-set and especially how to do so with respect and reverence. because i really WANT to be respectful here…I KNOW that mind-set well. i grew up in ranching country, i understand the psyche that splits the mind from the heart and gives one power over the other. i understand the perspective that pits humans against all “other” and insists that our species have manifest destiny. (my tone of frustration really leaks out here, but i hope it is believable that within this description i do not assign blame or shame.) plus, no-one likes to be lectured at, everyone is sick of the drums of gloom and doom and how can we have a real conversation if we set ourselves up in defensible space?

so i guess i won’t lecture here and i won’t bash you over the head with a PETA sized mallet. what i can do, is not fall prey to the inner cartesian. instead of exerting mind over matter and trying to match might with might, i will allow the small rabbit of my heart to step forward and to say,

that it is my belief, based on experience, that all creatures have an ability to love, to feel pain, fear, aggression and sadness. it is also my belief that the world is a better place when all beings are free to do what their animal bodies need and want to do…whether it be to eat fresh food, to feel the warmth of the sun, to stretch limbs after sleeping, to mate or to protect offspring. it is my belief that the world is truly a beautiful place, despite war, pollution, torture, murder or oppression and if we are at all privy to have something to be grateful for (health, food, shelter, companionship, options) then the best way to honor this gift of life is to rise to the occasion. and i believe the best way to meet life with any kind of adequacy at navigating the stones in the road is with compassion…compassion for self and compassion for other…including others we consider smaller or insignificant. and since that inner jerkface is yapping at me again, i will also say that the old excuse of “don’t be naive, it’s a dog eat dog world” is a perspective that doesn’t really apply and besides it was never “before the dog eats the dog the dog tortures the dog by the type of conditions that a battery hen experiences – world “.

extending a hand to ease the suffering of another benefits everyone, including yourself. and when your hand cannot reach, your choices can. what happens in this world happens because people make choices and other people support them. another choice is always possible.

what would your small rabbit like to say?

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3 thoughts on “Assault and Battery

  1. I love the video you added to this entry! Let no one say animals are not as smart as we are. I’ve got an issue of Organic Gardening that has a chicken raising article in it. Now I just need a place in the yard for them and Chris’ approval and I can learn to raise them.

  2. Sweet! I miss my chicks, weren’t they wonderful!!!!! So many memories. Nothing insignificant about those incredible little friends.

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