August 31, 2008

I have always taken my pets to the vet out in the cow field, who asks you to hold your pet on the operating table, who wears boots because they need foot protection. I prefer large animal vets. They have a larger perspective. Plus, if your animal isn't feeling well, there is something about taking them to the country and getting out of the car in a huge natural area that feels right. It feels a lot more healing, for the animal and for me, than a quick trip to the local strip mall where you have to be careful not to get hit by any of the cars in the enormous parking lot. You know, right next door to Bed Bath and Beyond...

The day Raspberry had her little baby horn buds cut out of her sweet little baby head, I stood watching the vet work. Are you the kind of mother who cries when her babies get shots? I am. This was more intense, let me tell you. She was roped and pulled into a stall and locked into a head gate. The rope around her head was wrapped around an iron pole and the attendant leaned on the other end. I won't write out the details. In fact, I can't. But I stood watching this procedure, trying to listen carefully to all the information the vet was giving me, and thinking, "What the bloody hell have I done?" Just who the hell am I to ask so much from this innocent little baby? Mr. Green, I noticed, suddenly had something he needed to do at his truck. Henry would have none of it and was loitering in a pasture outside. Ry watched half the time. But I stood there. I felt it necessary. I said to the vet, "Wow, it is important to see this so I can appreciate exactly what I am asking of this cow."

Right here I could launch into a serious essay about where our food comes from. Indeed, that is one of the over arching points to our study of permaculture and the kids are getting it. I will say this one thing: unless you have known a food animal and seen them frightened or in pain, you are shamefully and pathetically blind. You live in a horrifying mire of atrocity and you don't even know it. We should all be ashamed in the truest sense of the word. And most of us won't be.

But I won't go there. I'll take you back with us to the barn the next day, yesterday. Joe spent the whole day with Mr. Green fixing a nice big new stall for Raspberry. I made four pies - assorted meat, apple, and pumpkin. I took the kids to the library. And we spent the rest of the day with Raspberry. She took sweet feed out of my hand. She took some out of Ry's hand. And she gave Henry a nice deep sniff.

I felt the most delicate, polite, and gentle little mouth nuzzle my hand. Ry and I sat together on up turned buckets with our heads on the fence and Raspberry joined us. We sat there eye level with one another and discussed Charlotte's Web. Ry found all the best strands of hay with the heaviest grainiest heads and fed them, one by one, to RazzleBerryDazzle. Later, the sun lowered and the men started singing together.

2 comments:

Annie said...

:( The realities of animal husbandry... farming... I don't know the right word. But clearly something that can be hard to witness when you haven't grown up with it being a daily part of life.

Katherine said...

yeah, thanks.

It was hard to watch. But it brought home what other cows go through in the mass market, which is truly an abomination and shouldn't be legal. That's what I'm really talking about.

My little heifer lives like a princess. Because she is princess. :)