In writing a description of the event for the Second Saturday at McNary National Wildlife Refuge I emphasized the wonder of owl vision. A live owl will attend the event and demonstrate its ability to turn its head one hundred eighty degrees – like having eyes in the back of its head. Actually as if it would wring its own neck. Oh, oh, that dragged me into the dangerous old person realm of reminiscing.
You’ve heard the expression “I’d like to wring your neck” and I wondered
if that came from the long ago necessity regarding the killing of chickens.
Supposedly a chicken was killed by a person wringing its neck. From one
who had to kill a lot of chickens – and I wouldn’t think of cooking one
alive but we had to eat – I thought of the gruesome task; one I have not
had to do for fifty years. And it occurred to me that if folks had to
kill their own meat – or even dress a chicken (that means defeather it
which is not only tedious work but is time spent in odious proximity of
a dead carcass) they might not eat as heartily and endanger their health.
It’s true that eating beef is more dangerous to health than eating chicken
but I am pretty certain that very few folks would kill the cow for a steak
or hamburger. I never had the need or the opportunity. When I lived on
a farm we never ate beef. It was too expensive. A cow gave milk for cash
or went to the stockyards for cash that we could use to buy flour or sugar
or shoes or such necessary items we couldn’t produce ourselves.
Oh, mighty hunters still go out every autumn to shoot deer or moose or elk and perhaps even eat some of the flesh or organs of those wild animals. But the trip is for the thrill of the hunt because meat they do not need. Grocery stores are stocked with the flesh of a variety of animals which one can obtain for money. No bloody mess, no death involved. And the cooks only have to fry or bake or boil or burn or whatever it takes to please the family’s pallet.
Well, that’s not quite true. There is death involved. But I did not
intend for this to be a gruesome tirade. I am happy I do not have to go
about killing animals any more just because I need my protein. These days
cooking is quick and easy. (One could eat the animal raw, but even then
it would be easier to eat if it is dead, I think.)
My message is: if you are aware of history and reality, you probably will not eat too much. But do not let this stop you from eating altogether. That is also dangerous to your health.