Thursday, October 21, 2010


Every once in awhile something really fries me and I feel the need to get it off my chest. Since no one really reads here anymore, and the risk of offending anyone is low, I guess I'll use this space.

A couple of days ago a really popular blogger posted about a decision her family has made regarding raising some livestock...which will then become their food. I think the real beef (no pun intended) her commenters had was with the naming of these animals by her children, but I got so tangled up in the comments I can't be sure.

Anyway, I applaud her decision to do this. I personally feel we are all quite far removed from the source of our foodstuffs, whether animal or vegetable, and families that teach their children at a young age that these animals are the source of that stuff on styrofoam trays at the supermarket are to be praised - in my opinion. Now, I am choosing to voice that opinion here, in this space that belongs to me. Anyone can do that, this is America, whee!

But many commenters went rather far. I noted several instances of people "questioning her parenting decisions" and saying they "would not be coming back" to her blog.

And that got my ire up!!! Wow! What a ballsy, rude, inappropriate response to a woman humbly sharing her family's new lifestyle. She did not say they are allowing their children to play in the middle of a 4-lane highway. She did not say they are allowing their children to handle toxic chemicals. She did not say anything, to my mind, REMOTELY OFFENSIVE or inappropriate. She just gently explained and introduced the animals that are joining their farm to assist with work (turning soil, making compost, etc) and eventually be butchered for food.

In the "old days" (a personal fascination of mine) you hunted meat to live. I'm sure many of those commenters west of the Mississippi wouldn't be making such comments if they really thought about how they came to be living where they are. Do you think pioneers in a wagon train 200 years ago had the luxury of feeling bad for the animals? Hell no. It was shoot Bambi or starve to death. The Ingalls family named their work horses (remember Sam and David, and Pet and Patty?) as well as their milk cow (it was Ellen), and there is a passage in The Long Winter where Ma tells the girls that they will butcher Ellen and the heifer calf if they avoid starving to death. Did they want to? Of course not, but they would do it if they must.

To me it speaks of a pretty sissy attitude if you are upset with a family because they get a couple of pigs, name 'em, and then intend to eat them. Could I do it? I'm not sure. I'm kind of squeamish and I don't have a real good alternative right now to buying my meat on those styrofoam trays. But would I ever, ever, ever tell another person (or all that person's readership) that I disapprove of her parenting because of her choice? Please.

Yes, the internet is a worldwide, public forum. Yes, if you post something for all the world to see you are opening yourself up to potential criticism (I recall a shocking [to my mind] flap right here when I once said I thought people coming to church on Sunday unbathed and dressed as slobs was inappropriate...hoowee!). But that doesn't excuse people. How dare anyone question another person's parenting choices in a public forum...especially when it is about something like raising meat? I run across stuff all the time on the internet that makes me think, "wow, geez, that's not what I would do." But I keep it to myself, for pete's sake.

I must say, the blogger in question handled the issue with maturity and grace. But wow, did it make me mad.


Karen said...

I'm still here. :) I read everything you write. :)

And I really agree with this. Having a sibling with an urban homestead and a big batch o' egg laying hens who were recently ALL butchered (sob!) for food, I'm with you on this one.

HangerMom said...

I can't help laughing, because my husband's family, when he was little, raised and butchered rabbits for a while. They named them and played with them. And then they ate them. It makes for such hilarious anecdotes now! I'm not sure I could stomach that, but I think less of them for it, or anyone who raises animals for food. I was totally thinking of Little House on the Prairie even before you started (impressively) naming their livestock.

I'm always appalled at comments on major sites. The gall people have, the right they think they have to judge other people on the internet! I tend to find I'm better off if I skip reading comments on popular sites, but it's easy to get sucked into them.

All that to say, I'm with you.

Lucia said...

Unfortunately people always think they have a right to judge others. I think it's part of how we're wired. I find myself doing it all the time, even when I'm trying to be most open-minded. The best I can do is to keep the brain engaged and the sense of irony activated... and even then.

I read a story somewhere about a woman who bought three piglets to raise as food and, wanting her kids to be clear on the plan from day one, named them Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

(OT, more or less: at the beginning of Charlotte's Web Fern, the little girl who saves Wilbur the pig, is "only eight," and she argues with her father that it's unjust to kill the future Wilbur because he couldn't help having been born a runt. I find it very hard to believe that an eight-year-old who had lived all her life on a farm wouldn't look at this with cold-eyed practicality. She's lived through seven or eight slaughtering seasons, and she's been eating eggs, bacon, chicken, sausage, ham, and possibly lamb all her life, and all of a sudden she goes all dewy-eyed over a piglet? It's a sweet story, I loved it when I first read it and I still do, but I can't credit this attitude in a child over five... but the parents of a five-year-old wouldn't let her spend whole afternoons unsupervised in a barn cellar.)

(Oh, btw, I'm still here too.)

(Verification string: cahzuzzl. New word for an Internet flap, maybe?)

Jenn said...

I was very upset by people's rude comments on that post as well - we live in a society where everyone judges everyone else, for everything they do. It drives me crazy. My family's choices are just that - my family's! Mind your own business - and keep your mouth shut if you disagree!
Thanks for saying this better than I could!

Shari said...

Just wanted to let you know that I'm still here reading too. I personally would rather purchase my meat from a family farm over a factory farm any day. Although if I had to raise my own meat I might go vegetarian, unless my kids were starving:)
Great post!