A deer died in our backyard yesterday. Ten years ago I would’ve found this event deeply disturbing, tragic, and probably warranting a medium-length depression on my part. Instead, I thought to myself, “Huh. Interesting.” Later, when the hunter and his friend came in a pick-up truck to claim it and promised us some venison steaks as a sort of middle-man gratuity, I didn’t even recoil with a long-ingrained vegetarian revulsion. Instead, I thought: “Cool!”
Clearly, some things have changed. For one thing, I recently ended a two-decade-long meat abstention of varying degrees. (You know, no-red-meat-but-yes-poultry – ie: “flexitarian”– becomes no-poultry-but-yes-fish -ie: “pescatarian”– which evolves into no-fish-no-poultry-no-red-meat-but-yes-eggs-milk-and-cheese -ie: “ovo-lacto vegetarian”– which ultimately, of course, turns into “I eat nothing but kiwi-fruit, orange Tic-Tacs, and dirt” – ie: “antidisestablishmentarian”.) So no longer avoiding meat of any kind certainly changes my outlook on these sorts of things.
But other things have changed too: my definition of respect for life, and what constitutes responsible eating. Where once I considered it a act of kindness and compassion- not to mention a sign of my highly-evolved sense of ethics- to shun burgers in favor of a meal consisting of fries and water, or to consume a Thanksgiving Day dinner comprised of everything but the turkey- basically a festival of starch- nowadays I realize that respect for life, happiness and well-being has to by necessity, start at home. Which is to say, with me. Continue reading Thoughts on a Dead Deer