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Backyard Butchering: Loving Animals to Death

May 19, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Source Exposing the Big Game
By Jim Robertson

Yesterday I received the following comment to my post, All Meat is the Product of Cruelty and Exploitation… “How can you argue with those whose response is: ‘In the natural world animals kill other animals for food and in a most painful and cruel way and if I choose to raise my animals on my own property allowing them to live in a free and natural manner just as they would live in the wild that only differs in that they have shelter from the elements should they choose to use it and they are not kept in pens or tied but in large open barns and that at some point they will be killed as quickly and humanely as possible to be eaten by my family and the excess sold to others. I love animals but choose to eat them as well. I believe that how I treat them and kill them is better than they would live in the wild and their deaths much less horrible than being ripped apart alive as is the case in the wild’. What can you say to that?”

…to which I replied: First of all, it sounds like someone has been watching too many “nature” programs that revel in prolonged scenes of wildlife predation. Most cases of natural predation happen much faster; in many cases the prey are killed instantly.

In my book, Exposing the Big Game, I wrote about a wolf kill I witnessed in Yellowstone: “Suddenly they tore out after a young mule deer who had risked leaving the cover of the forest for the lure of an open meadow. The inexperienced doe didn’t stand a chance against the incredible, greyhound-like speed of the determined wolves. One quickly caught her by the hind leg, bringing her down, and a split second later the other had her by the throat. In less than a heartbeat, a living, breathing deer was reduced to a lifeless carcass.” Not a pretty sight, but much more the norm than the horrible scenarios depicted for entertainment on cable T.V. shows.

The hypothetical argument you spelled out (above) begins by raising the naturalist fallacy, which I covered in the post, Top Ten Retorts to Hunters’ Fallacies (just substitute hunter for animal farmer/rancher):

# 9) Animals kill other animals, so we can too.
That’s an example of what’s known as the naturalistic fallacy—the notion that any behavior that can be found in nature is morally justifiable. But wolves and other natural predators need to hunt to survive, humans don’t—for them it’s nothing more than a thrill kill. Human beings have moved beyond countless other behaviors such as cannibalism or infanticide, so why can’t some people tear themselves away from hunting?

A quote from author Robert Franklin Leslie adds to this:
“It is not important that a hawk takes a robin, that a bear robs a grouse nest. That is Nature’s own salient way even if we don’t understand it…Wilderness life has gone on that way since the beginning, and the prey has withstood the predation. But when man steps in…the very soul of Nature cringes for having endowed one of her creatures with intelligence disproportionate to responsibility.”

Backyard animal farming is nothing but the revival of Old World animal husbandry, from which modern-day factory farming is an unfortunate upshot. Both the factory farmer and the backyard butcher breed animals for the sole purpose of killing them when the time is ripe. They don’t raise the animals just because they love them and want to give them a good life, and raising them does nothing to eliminate any suffering that might go on in the wild between natural predator and prey (unless a person’s intent is to eliminate all natural relationships between wild animals, and there would be a lot of suffering on the predator’s part as the human strives to eliminate them).

Killing farmed animals “quickly and humanely” is easier said than done. At some point the animal knows that the human they trusted intends to hurt or kill them, as they probably would have seen it happen to one or more of their herd-mates. And the act of ending a healthy animal’s life so you can eat their flesh is cruel no matter how you slice it, especially since people do not have to eat meat to live a long, healthy life. And in fact, a lifetime of meat-eating is unhealthy for the human primate. Also from the Top Ten list mentioned above:

8) Humans are carnivores, look at our canine teeth.
Human teeth are designed primarily for chewing plant-based foods, like our primate cousins do. Humans “fangs” are teensy compared to those of gorillas, who are strict vegetarians and only show them to appear fierce. Also, our intestinal tract is long to allow for the slow digestion of high-fiber foods, while true carnivores have short intestines as needed to process meat and dispose of the resulting toxic wastes quickly.

7) Wild game (or free-range) meat is health food.
All animal flesh is rife with cholesterol throughout, and the protein in animal flesh is acidic, causing bone calcium losses as it is metabolized. According to the American Dietetic Association, a diet high in animal products has been linked to obesity, diabetes, colon and other cancers, osteoporosis, kidney stones, gallstones, diverticular disease, hypertension and coronary artery disease. New studies have found that another culprit in causing heart disease may be a little-studied chemical that is burped out by bacteria in the intestines after people eat meat.

Again, wolves and other predators need to eat meat to survive—modern humans do not. Natural predators don’t hate their prey, but they don’t pretend to love them either.

Forget the 4-H Club—you can’t really claim to “love” an animal you plan to someday kill, butcher and consume.

have you ever listened to the words
you hunters speak,
so called arguments, illogical and weak.
trying to rationalize and defend,
something that you know in your heart
has got to end!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

13 Comments leave one →
  1. christine ehlers permalink
    May 19, 2013 9:31 pm

    SICKOS!!!!!!! 😦


  2. May 20, 2013 3:29 am

    have you ever listened to the words
    you hunters speak,
    so called arguments, illogical and weak.
    trying to rationalize and defend,
    something that you know in your heart
    has got to end!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Duane Thamm permalink
    May 24, 2013 2:10 pm

    Fuck people who are cruel to animals. How come people are not snipeing people who work at butcher houses like they snipe abortion doctors? Educate your friends and family. Easy to go meat free and stay healthier. Feel good about yourself and proud to take a stand for the voiceless innocent. MAKE A DIFFERENCE!


  4. Emy Will permalink
    June 22, 2014 10:16 am

    It is quite remarkable how people who eat meat find irrational arguments to justify a moment on the lips. Farming and killing one ‘ s own animals is no better than factory farmed animals. Thanks for sharing, Stacey.


    • June 22, 2014 10:47 am

      I know, it would be hilarious if not for the utter cruelty and exploration involved. Well-said, thanks, Emy.


    • June 24, 2014 12:10 pm

      I completely agree. Well-said, thanks, Emy.


  5. June 24, 2014 6:20 pm

    Well said, and completely agree. Love the arguement from the “hunters” that they are culling the heard. Who appointed these cowards guardians of our ecosystem. To had insult, Hunters, claim it to be a sport. If killing a wonderful animal is a sport, what is baseball, basketball. Those are sports, that is based on competition of equality capable opponents. No human could take down a bear, lion, tiger, wolf with there bare hands. Humans are not equipped to act as predator to these animals. We would be their prey. Because we would be in there environment. Hunters think they can even the score using refiles, muzzle loaders, and bow and arrow. That to me is a coward. A person who goes up against an animal they can’t beat in there playing field. They are so proud that killed any animal. How proud they are as they sit in their three stand and wait for bambie to come by. The worst of the cowards are the “trophy” or “sport” killers. These are the creeps that kill for the fun of it. They pay big bucks to go on some canned hunt to kill a lion, elephant or a giraffe. Then they have the stupidity to take photos with the kill and smile. The smile of cowards. Some even drape their kill in the American Flag. Since when did it become patriotic to kill any animal? Especially one that is not even on the same content. So I am getting off course here, but I always saw the conflict with famers raising cattle or whatever. They take care of them (maybe), then they kill them. For what? To survive?. They do it for money. Poachers in Africa are monsters, but they kill for the money, the farmer kills for the money as well. The hunter, they do it for the fun of it. Maybe its there inadequacies as a human that they find pleasure in killing an animal. For me they are coward murders. The argument that they eat what they kill, it total BS. We have more food markets in every Walmart and Target etc. Humans, do not need to eat animals for survival. The house cat, needs to eat meat, because there digestive system requires that level of protein for survival. Cat are olbligate carnivors. Feed them a vegan diet and thats just a death sentence. Humans do not need meat like our hunters claim. Just another coward excuse to kill. Finally, the family farmer you raises his cattle with his kids, and then decides to kill them when they can get the best price. How does one kill a living being you cared about. Does a switch go on and off? Well time to kill the cow, or it veal time, so we need to toture that little one a the right time. Who the hell can justify killing a baby animal. Because it taste better? I am not a vegan, I am vegetarian. One day a switch went off in my head and said, you love your cats, but you other animals. That is a contradiction in the largest way. So, I stopped eating animals. I will be come a vegan in time. I don’t preach this lifestyle to anyone. But I do have much to say on taking the life of an animal. We have no right to do so. We are the only species that drinks milk as an adult. To that end, its milk from another species. Most people do not want to know what they are eating, when it a steak, or ham, or fish. They don’t wan’ to know how it lived and died. But on that plate is a soul that is lost. Killed, and murdered. A soul that had could feel pain, fear and affection. They can’t justify it, so they look the other way. Maybe one day, more people will have that switch go on. Maybe one day, humanity will realize to be human, does not require the taking of another life. Well sorry for being wordy. Your article says alot to people who understand what you are saying.


    • June 24, 2014 9:44 pm

      Hi, Mike ~

      Very well-written and true, thank you so much for your compelling words. Every excuse a hunter uses is a lie. They say they are protecting animals and “thinning the herd” so the rest can eat. That’s nothing but total BS – animals adapt to their environment naturally. When hunters kill, the herd has a larger eating ground, which in turn causes greater production and a therefore greater population. It’s called rebound, and NO hunter will admit to knowing about this process. And I agree about the milk – it’s gross and disgusting and completely unnatural. Do we farm human breast milk for other species? How silly. Yet millions of people are causing animals to endure brutality, suffering, and cruel deaths for their tastebuds. How about we all just drink human breastmilk instead? Seriously, lets farm knowing and willing women to participate and sell that. I bet you my right hand that most people would think that that is disgusting. But it’s perfectly normal to deprive other animals their lives, and their children.

      “Maybe one day, humanity will realize to be human, does not require the taking of another life.” You summed it up very well. I hope that day comes soon. Humans are just too evil to allow this to continue.

      Thanks, again, Mike.


  6. Adrian P Williams permalink
    January 3, 2019 1:02 am

    Great points. I’d like to add another. Backyard farmers make it sound as though they are practically saving the lives of these creatures they breed, who would otherwise suffer more. That doesn’t make sense. If they weren’t bred, they wouldn’t exist. So, they wouldn’t suffer in the wild at all – they wouldn’t be in the wild. They wouldn’t be anywhere, if it wasn’t for humans.

    I don’t except, either, that humans are doing farm animals a favour by bringing them into existence. A non-existent thing can’t crave existence. It obviously can’t do anything – it doesn’t exist. If we bred humans for the purpose of slavery, and justified it by saying “But otherwise they wouldn’t exist,” or “But they’re better off with me than they are out there in the scary old big wide world,” no one would accept it. But these are basically the arguments we accept in relation to animal agriculture.

    A being only becomes important, only has the right to life, once it comes into existence. After that point, it’s the treatment of them, not the circumstances of their birth, that matter. Humans are born free. We have an automatic right to freedom enshrined by human rights law. The real question is why animal’s don’t have this right. It’s simply because they can’t ask for it. They can’t communicate their right to freedom in a language we understand.

    As the only existing ethical, rational and advanced intelligence beings on planet Earth, it falls to us to use our minds to empathetically consider what the voiceless would want. Of course, given the choice, beings would want to be free. They would want to be in control, to be in charge of their life and even to take their chance in nature, if it meant they choice avoid the certain, gruesome fate that awaits them with humans, and the constant mistreatment at our hands (you couldn’t argue that a cow wants a human arm up her backside).

    We can determine all this through logic and careful thought. But, at the current time, we are choosing to ignore our inner voices of better judgement, because to listen to them would cause us some inconvenience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 3, 2019 6:25 pm

      Very well written, I completely agree. I have often said, to the disappointment and shock of some of my peers, that I would rather “ag” animals not be around at all – stop killing and exploiting them, and then let them go Frankly, being absent is better than being present and tortured, tormented, commodified, and murdered.

      Thanks, Adrian.


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