Blame Bambi.

Bear with me, because this intro will be somewhat roundabout. Upon reading this, you may be inclined to regret the moments – minutes, even – that you’ve spent poring over my host of semi-lucid posts. Beware: Any respect you may have had for me might be lost today.

I’ve decided to go Vegan.

Baahahaha. Just kidding!

But what I’m about to say really couldn’t be any worse than that statement, so here goes:

I watched The Bachelor the other day.

Have I lost you? Actually, I’ve watched it a few times now because one of the sweetest, most genuine ladies from my sorority days was on there. She was sent home early in favor of a few more unstable, less cool, more plastic-y contestants. Anyhow, I mention this guilty pleasure because one of the remaining ladies, a woman named…um…So-and-so, said something very intelligent; and as a Lit major I’m bound to attribute quotes properly.

So-and-so said, “We’re a death-denying society.”

This contestant, who is an undertaker in Chico, CA (so many great minds in Chico!) had an excellent point. We are so far removed from death. We think about it, but only in the context of decrepitude, Joan Rivers, insurance policies, and improbable scenarios played out on CSI. We avoid the truth of it at all costs, and in doing so, we miss out on much of the appreciation we should have for life and our place in this world. And when you strip off all the modern accoutrements, the granite countertops, and the Zumba classes, it’s a little clearer: We are part of an amazing, dynamic, intelligent System; one that’s not only physical, but emotional and – dare I say it – spiritual in its unfathomable synergism.

We are certainly death-denyers, especially when it comes to our food. We don’t know where it comes from, what it takes to raise it in harmony with nature, or what it takes to hunt and/or kill it; and from the time we’re four, we know that animals are just like us, but furry. That they are our bretheren – our nonviolent, vegan, happy bretheren, and thus the seed is planted: I can’t eat Bambi!

I swear, I thought hunting was a crime my entire childhood. (Where in blazes did I think my meat came from?) I couldn’t believe that the nameless, faceless, evil hunter would separate sweet little Bambi from his mother. Absentee father, mother whose flesh was being turned into deer jerky…could the world be any more cruel? And all these little forest animals wanted to do was frolic in a clearing and bat their ridiculously long eyelashes!

I’ll freely admit, the thought of slaughtering my own game makes me a little antsy. But one day, I’m going to have to do it. I’ve got an obsession with only eating animals that have had a life close to what Nature intended; it probably borders on orthorexic. I’ve been wanting chicken for weeks now, but haven’t nailed down a source I like. Bulletin: “Vegetarian Fed Wholesome Grains in an Enriched Environment” is wrong on about eight levels. Nothanx. I’ll drive an hour each way and spend 12 bucks on a pound of pastured, sustainably farmed, organic, grass-fed (yada yada yada) beef when I know I could get it for $2 elsewhere. But I’m still removed from the process (unlike my friend Ashley, the huntress).

I want to live appreciatively, and knowing myself (an omnivore) and what I need (animal products: Vitamin B12…Pre-formed Vitamin A…Vitamin K2 MK-4…the list goes on) there’s no better way to do it than to express, through my choices, my gratitude for the many deaths that take place to nourish my existence. One day I’ll be richening the soil as part of that Cycle. It’s not fun to talk about, but every day I eat something’s kids. I ate Bambi the other day, and my dog did too (albeit from a different source).

I’m going to be ridiculously trite and draw from the Blackfoot, a tribe who lived for centuries on a diet of 90% meat and who valued certain animals as their spiritual guides. They loved animals. And they ate them too. I won’t romanticize their connection to nature – we all know that drill. But I like the fact that there’s no sugar-coating the pesky Death issue when it comes to the hunt. The Blackfoot hunted buffalo by driving them off a cliff, and called the cliff Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.

Now that’s realistic. I will say that I hardly ever hear about how my food was killed. I only hear about how it was farmed.

Is it time to learn a little more about the killing part?

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13 Responses to “Blame Bambi.”

  1. How true, how true. I look forward to your thoughtful words on the “killing part.”

  2. Exactly right on the death-denying part. My daughter saw one of her friends killed in a motorcycle accident and is pretty traumatized by it. Her first impression was – Mom, it wasn’t like on TV or in the movies.
    I hunted as a kid – there weren’t any boy children in our family at the time. 🙂 One of my first lessons came when I had winged a dove, not killed it. I wanted to bring it home and nurse it back to health. My dad took out his big pocketknife and gave the bird a good knock on the head. Lesson learned.
    Kids today haven’t a clue where their food comes from and it’s a shame, not to mention shameful how we treat our food – CAFOs, etc.
    Good post.

    • Thanks for this comment. I witnessed a child die very suddenly of some kind of heart anomaly in a basketball camp I was coaching, and the image has never left me. She was the little sister of one of my teammates, and I still haven’t fully comprehended the meaning.

  3. I think we live parallel lives because I feel the same way. I feel like I should HAVE to kill my own food – and yet, I dont think I can – not without emotional trauma and/or weeping. But shouldn’t I force myself that emotional trauma as penance for this animal giving its life for me? Shouldn’t that be more important that my boo-hoo fest? So, right now, I do what I can. I buy all grass-fed and pastured. I’m so very lucky to have a local farmer who cuts us such great deals at my crossfit box and we get all of our meat, pork, fowl, and eggs from the same man. I get to talk to him, shake his hand. The same hand that killed the meat I’m eating. T he same meat that lived a good life by that hand.

    AND NOW I CLEARLY NEED TO WRITE MY OWN POST ON THIS SUBJECT.

    Oh and read this. It was so amazingly poignant and beautiful and exactly my worst fear: http://www.chicken-tender.com/2011/02/blood-on-my-hands.html

    • That’s an amazing post! Wow. I know there are places locally where I can slaughter… I feel I need to. But I can also totally see how that could drive me to become a lacto-ovo-vegetarian of sorts (not really…but maybe). But then I come back to the idea that it’s me that doesn’t understand the nature of life or of sentience undivided from the natural realm (as humans, with our junk and our bipedalism, are). How can I feel such empathy for a chicken, but not muster the same feeling for a fish or a scallop?

  4. You totally has me. I am sitting in my car reading this and my mouth was wide open in shock! Glad I kept reading.

  5. This is a topic I have been giving a lot of thought lately as well cavegirl. The conflicts are starting to diminish as I learn more and get closer to my food sources. It was merely months ago that I happily loaded my cart with meats from the local grocery store. Now, I think I would prefer to have a vegetarian meal if I could not get meat from a family member that hunts or a local farmer, or at the very least a place like Slanker’s. I still have a long way to go, but I’m working on it. And I know that I also need to participate in the kill one of these days.

  6. oh, this is so hard for me. I appreciate people who hunt and eat their meat. I appreciate the hunters in my life who have given me game meat that they have hunted. But….I can’t do it. I can’t get over bambi. Also, guns give me this wierd visceral reaction….I can’t stand to be near one. Maybe I need therapy.

  7. Well, I’m one of those death deniers. It is a very uncomfortable place to be — believing that eating meat is healthier for me than not, but knowing that if I had to kill my own food in order to eat it that I would probably starve to death. Maybe I could fish.

    On a more shallow note, I watch the Bachelor, God help me, and I’m now dying (get it?!?) to know who the contestant you know is…

  8. I stumbled on this resource for ordering meat, but you’ll probably have to do more digging to see if any of them provide chicken that isn’t fed corn or soy: http://www.eatwild.com/products/farmsthatship.html

    I feel the same conundrum about wanting animals as close to Nature as possible, but I continue to eat chicken because it’s tasty and easy. Chicken thighs are my standby. But I feel lucky to be surrounded by pastured beef, bison, pork, and egg providers, as well as all the organic produce I could want.

    I actually have a non-corn-and-soy fed chicken in my freezer right now. My plan is to roast it so I can really get a sense of its flavor. Here goes nothing. 🙂

    • I contacted a few suppliers through eatwild recently and have had a great response! While I wish I didn’t always have to buy the WHOLE chicken (if only chicken breasts were an entirely separate animal!) one of the things I’m working on is being open to new tastes and textures. For whatever reason, probably because I wasn’t raised on chicken thighs or “dark white” meat, I have an aversion to it. I’ll do red meat and very lean white meat like turkey and chicken breasts, but unless the dark meat is submerged in a soup or stew I don’t particularly enjoy it! I miss chicken, though, and am ready to find a great local source for it – especially now that we have the chest freezer.

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