I do stupid things way too often. Like most folks, I don’t intend to do stupid things. It’s just that way too often things are do are revealed to be stupid after I’ve done them.
Case in point: A few weeks ago, during deer season, I shot a particularly large and good-looking buck. Almost immediately I took his picture with my phone and posted it in facebook (because it’s 2012 and that’s what we do, right?). That morning I also put the photo in a blog post. Many of y’all probably saw it.
A few days later an old friend of mine from high school changed her status on facebook to read something like: “I hate it when people put pictures of dead animals on here. Why would they think we would want to see something like that?” I knew she must be talking about me. And I felt terrible.
Those who know us well know that we are devoted to sustainable living, including humane and respectful treatment of animals. Although I’m not a vegetarian (Cherie is), I don’t eat any meat unless it comes from an animal raised or hunted on this farm. I do that in part to avoid complicity in the industrial food complex’s systematic cruelty to animals. I am not a bloodthirsty redneck jerk.
But there, for the world to see, was a photo my kill. For many of us, especially those who live and believe as we do, there was nothing offensive or disturbing about that photo. For some, like my friend, it was very upsetting.
I think anyone who likes to eat venision but can’t stand to see a dead deer needs to think that through carefully. But my friend is vegetarian and she ought to be able to go to facebook without seeing animal carcasses.
When I saw her status I immediately deleted the photo. I also deleted it from this blog. And I sent her an apology.
It is wrong to take delight in the death of any animal. As long as we remain “red in tooth and claw” we should remain somber and respectful about the killing that entails. The animal I killed, who will feed me for a year, was a fine old buck. It was wrong of me to degrade him by displaying his body like a trophy.
Once I killed a predator that had been killing my chickens. The predator had been eluding me for a while and when I finally killed it I did so in anger, then I felt a rush of joy. A few moments later I realized both of those emotions were sinful and wrong. There was no proper reason for me to be angry with an animal that lives by killing and eating birds. While it was my duty to the animals we steward to protect them from the predator, I was wrong to take any joy in killing it.
As I walk this journey I continue to make mistakes. Through them I learn. I’ve learned a lot, because I’ve made a lot of mistakes.
To anyone who was offended by the photo, I apologize. And for my lack of respect for the dignity of that beautiful animal, I am truly sorry.