Today I committed Murder. No cold blooded killing, his was rather warm. Perhaps if mine had been colder it would have been easier. It was fully premeditated, I have been thinking about it and planning for it for well over a year, and actually committed to doing the killing in January. Everyone including myself thought I would come out of it before this fine first Saturday in April but I gathered the knives and went through with it.
He was gorgeous, that didn’t help, the beautifulness made it much more difficult. The fact that I held him in my arms and cuddled him for at least 10 minutes didn’t help either. I apologized profusely. I had to be shown how to handle the knife, how to even hold it, not use to cutting towards my hand it made no sense to me bring up fear of not only killing this poor boy but also hurting my livelihood, my fingers.
I cried, but I knew I had no choice, he was mine now, I could not take him home, and he had to die. First the knife got stuck in his bountiful plumage, next it rolled on the feather shafts, push harder I heard. Then her arm went around me and helped guide my hand that was shaking, ‘it is what he was born for’.
Pressure came I could feel the crunch of ligaments and tissue the squirm of the roster beneath my arm. Then the blood started to flow. I could not see it at first, I had to ask if he was bleeding. Then I saw the puddle, he shifted again and calmed as the blood drained from his body he slipped blissfully into the next realm. The confusion he felt, I felt. The fear he felt, I felt. The relaxation he felt, I felt. Then there was the coldness, the hollowness, the emptiness.
The rest was fairly easy going, having a good grasp of anatomy helps I guess in more than just medicine. He was the smallest of the ones which made it difficult but I got the idea. Before I knew it he was bagged up and ready to go. I cried again for him on the drive home as he sat in the cooler behind my seat. When I got home, I scurried my chicks into their coop knowing that sometime in the future, their fate would be the same as the boy in the cooler. Then I did what I know from the movies every killer does, I cracked open a cold yummy beer, this one a 2013 vintage dark ale from TJ’s, guess I will have to get another and put it in the cellar for the next time.
How did I get here? A quiet, somewhat meek, vegetarian for half of my nearly 50 years and vegan for about 6 of those years. There would have been a time in my life in my 20’s when this would never have been possible. While I would not have written the type of threatening letters and such that I know this farm owner/teacher has received and continues to receive…I would have simply not done what I did today. I grew up in farm country Wisconsin I knew and ate plenty of animals as a youth. My uncle was a high up person in a famous meat packing company, my father a scientist who at one point checked out cheese operations as part of his job. We got fresh eggs, milk and meat from literally (and yes, I am using that word correctly!) the guy next door.
My vegetarianism was my choice, I was never one of the militant types when it came to animal rights. Sure, I do dog rescue, but I also understand that as a human we are on the top of the food chain, not to mention that my dogs eat meat too. We humans are there however with consciousness; we have choices to make. Sometimes your body needs animal proteins and that is why animals are breed and raised for us to eat. But think about it: Was the pig you are eating ‘grown’ or ‘raised’? Did the hen really see the light of day before it was put on a truck to the automated processing plant? Did the cow whose muscle was just your steak eat grass or corn? The HOW is what we NEED to look at now.
When I started eating meat again, I did it very much with the animal in mind, and today was part of that. I realized I could not quite reconcile my need for meat if I could not actually procure it, and by that I do mean kill it. Now I know I can. Will I again in the future? Maybe. My beautiful rooster is in the crock pot now and actually smelling pretty darn good. Not many people can say that they killed, gutted and made their dinner. Next, will be adding the word raised to the beginning of that list.
It is the cycle of life, the world is fed on the back of the chicken. The trend of boneless, skinless chicken is appalling, besides the fact that you are losing all of the flavor of the bird, you are even more distancing yourself from the organic process of life and death. Death of a chicken is not that pretty, I can tell you that first hand from my life experience now, however death is a part of life. That boy had three strong hands and a lot of thankfulness and love as it passed on in order to make it into my pot tonight. I will be most thankful to its’ sprite when I eat him as his death helps feed me and give me life. I will never have another chicken sandwich without thinking of today, becoming a murderer changes you.
My choices have been to learn some level of self-sufficiency, now I have some chickens, their eggs will make lovely brownies and cakes, and eventually they themselves will become soup. I have gardens filled with everything I can grow, I have a small orchard and berry patches. I will continue to buy things from farmers I know, have a relationship with and respect. This is choice, living life consciously. Knowing that I cannot grow all that my friends and family need to survive on. I choose to live and eat food that is locally grown, organic as possible, and meat that is lovingly raised, humanely and consciously slaughtered for my consumption. Before today, I was not sure that I could kill anything that was not a mercy killing or a bug, but I can, and in some strange way I feel stronger and more okay with the fact of eating meat again. I felt that if I could not go through with this, how could I ever eat it again without beating myself up over the dichotomy? I remember hearing this ‘if you can’t kill it, you shouldn’t eat it’ type of talk from my vegan friends, well, I can so I will now move forward in that peace that my rooster had as he slipped to the next world to feed me tonight. And yes, I am still going to cry a bit more.