Thursday, May 17, 2012

Predator Pets

Some mornings all that's left is just a leg, or the head, or an internal organ.

This evening from the kitchen window I see Simon sauntering towards the cat door with a mouthful, a baby bunny. I step outside to intercept him with a gruff, "Simon!" and he drops his prey and meows with an air of boredom. He lets me pick him up and dump him in the house. I go back to inspect the quarry and it moves to flee but drags its hind leg, surely a death knell for one dependent on speed to live. He seems otherwise unharmed. I pick him up without a squeal or struggle and carry him out to the woods and let him go beneath a thorny bush. I'm doubtful he will live long but who knows. Here's hoping.

I once rescued a pretty moth from what seemed a dire situation and set it to flight from our porch. The warm glow of the good Samaritan was quickly iced as a phoebe swooped from the eve and picked it clean mid air, landing on a branch with hearty gulp. Bird didn't seem to care that I didn't use the good silver or light the candles.

The dog killed a groundhog last Sunday.

What do we think of this natural instinct to kill in the food chain, the instinct of these pets we feed so well?  I live with a vegetarian who feels ill at the sight of the carnage. I work with a vegan who tries to convince me to be one too. I have been a vegetarian but am now an omnivore like most of our species. I have never hunted or fished. I have only intentionally killed an animal once or twice out of mercy. I cringe at the thought of doing it, but have no doubt I would do so if I was hungry.

If I have a food philosophy, and I am wary of philosophies, (spoken as truth but subject to change at the slightest duress) it is simply to be grateful for food. Any food. Eat what is offered.

We who have been well fed all our lives can not imagine otherwise. The thought of pawing through a dumpster, of eating garbage, is unthinkable. But the unthinkable happens to people every day.

A simple twist of fate and this evening I might have said, "Here Simon, c'mere boy. That's a good kitty. What a good hunter you are. Thank you for this food."

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