I believe that supermarkets are the greatest invention that man has ever known. A good supermarket is a place where I can find almost anything that I need in order for me to survive. It will have foods from all over the world and across the country giving me choices and options that broaden my knowledge of cultural differences and lets me exercise my palate for different flavors and tastes.
Another advantage of having a good supermarket is having a good butcher. He or she can present various types of meat, which I love so much, which I would not be able to provide for myself. They allow me to eat that which I would not hunt or kill my self. They supply me with cuts that I would not be able to cut myself without getting my own hands bloody.
Two weeks ago, I was accosted by a little girl using a small bull horn screaming in my ear. I could tell that she hadn’t meant to scream at me. I had just walked in her way as she and a few other people were protesting outside of Jacques Ferber, a furrier in Philadelphia with posters and placards showing skinned animals. I had no idea that people were still do this and I was reminded of being on Bond St in London about 2 or 3 years ago, when the same thing happened.
I remember walking down the street thinking there was nothing there that I could afford when I walked into a small group of teens or young adults. They also were holding up banners and screaming something. I didn’t realize what it was until I was outside a fur store. The group offered me some leaflets and asked me to sign a manifest or something. I shook my head and kept walking thinking this fight was not my fight. Then someone shouted as I was leaving, “Could you please not wear leather sir.” I flinched expecting a bucket of paint splashed on me and wondering which way I would have to turn so I could throw out the first punch. But no paint came my way. What did come however, was the realization that even though I had said I believed in animal rights, maybe I just believed in them if they were convenient.
I have never in my life been to a circus because I think that the animal acts are obscene and the way the animals are trained, even more so. I have only been to a zoo twice and both times I felt uncomfortable surrounded by wild animals caged up in an area no larger than the average bathroom. Knowing this always made me feel good knowing that I was not contributing to the suffering of animals taken from their native habitat. But I had always felt free to wear cow skin and eat the flesh of other animals. Maybe it was time for a review.
Except of course, I never did that examination of my habits and that last encounter reminded me of my doubts. I still wear leather and eat meat. It just tastes so damned good.
Now there is news today of sick cattle being slaughtered and sold by Westland Hallmark as meat coming from otherwise healthy stock. Beef sold by this company is being recalled by the US Dept. of Agriculture until further investigations can be done. And I wonder again, is it time to rethink this western way of life that I live, where livestock is raised on antibiotics and growth hormones. Where there is always an outbreak of foot and mouth or mad cow disease somewhere on the western hemisphere. Is this really a safe way to live?
I wonder, is time to change my relationship with the butcher?