Redneck Sustainability: Eating your Pets

Before you gag from the title of this blog, let me explain that my pets growing up included a pig, a few dozen rabbits, some ducks, a few hamsters, an occasional cat, a dog, a calf and a guinea pig. I’ll let your imagination tell you which ones I ate and witch ones I didn’t. But why should eating pets be such a bad thing?

If anything is out of whack, it’s that we’ve manipulated animal breeding, not that we eat them. What’s worse? Eating domesticated animals or breeding them to belch methane into old age and die a pointless life? There’s a chin scratcher.

Natives to North America, First Peoples if you will, knew that we should have a healthy connection with the food we eat, sometimes even asking the noble beasts permission to extinguish their souls. Now whacking a domesticated pet in the head as it stares up at you with trusting eyes might not be quite the same as hunting a noble beast, but none the less, it’s good to have an intimate connection with our food.

On that note, let’s take another lesson in sustainability from the redneck play book of life.

Like myself as a child, most rednecks share the ins and outs of daily life with animals that later go in through the mouth and out through the arse, each playing a beautiful role in maintaining that daily life. (Now that’s sustainability!)

For this simple reason I could never be a vegetarian. To be so would ignore the noble sacrifice that too many dear friends have made with their lives in order to feed mine.  Who am I to rob animals of the worthy and valuable role they are called to play?

But at the same time, meat should be savored not just for its flavor and taste but also for its value and expense. Rednecks don’t believe in flippant impulses for a BBQ, quick trips to the grocery and casual gorgings on ground beef, hooves and sawdust. When we chomp down on a rabbit pot pie each bite is in grateful memory of the little scamp that made it possible.

Even redneck children know how to reconcile the contrasting emotions involved in connecting with a pet one moment and eating it the next. After all, cooking little Bunny Foo Foo or Miss Piggy over a Smokey Joe does not just a BBQ make, but it’s a somber and religious experience.

(edited from original post, April 1st, 2009)

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