On authentically caring about animals, both beasts and humans alike.
I read a comment on Instagram the other day where a vegan activist was horrified that a farmer would slaughter an animal. “They love you unconditionally, and you betray their trust.” I was stupefied. And then it got me thinking about where that comes from.
Of course, we can blow comments like that away with the wave of our hands. Insult people. Laugh at them. I do it, too, I admit. Such ridiculous statements, stemming from a connection to the natural world delivered on the screen of a Disney movie, are easy to make fun of and, really, who has time to educate someone who doesn’t even want to hear? Nobody. Totally ineffectual, anyways.
And yet, it’s gnawing at me. Some fodder for my writing as I think about and deconstruct the essays I want to put in my book (a year, maybe two, in the making – I’m slow, what can I say). I was trudging through cattle pasture today, moving my grazing beasts to a new swath of land and thinking about how humans love things. It seems to me, we can really love things, warts and all, make the concerted effort to know them as they are or we can hold a vision of something, close our eyes to its flaws and traits that don’t fall in line with our idealistic versions, and live in that fantasy world that leaves us parched for authenticity. To me, that’s the saddest existence of all.
I think a lot of people live in that second world now. Be it with their relationships with other people or with animals or just with nature in general. Every living thing has its share of fucked-up-edness if we’re using a measure of perfection. But really, I’d just say that every living animal should be its fully realized animal self which includes things that are not fairy tale friendly.