Of Rights and Wrongs

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Published on: Jun. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 21, 2010

people like me can't be trusted to do the same?"

"Well, you exploit animals," she said. "You make money off their flesh, kill them when they're in their prime, leave them trapped and wounded, out in the cold, terrified, for hours and then probably stomp them to death." Hack nodded absentmindedly. He decided to address the first statement. "If you had your way there would be no domestic animals, right?" "Right," she nodded.

"I believe we should look out for the welfare of animals, both domestic and wild," Hack explained as he waved his hand towards his cattle, "and that's what I try to do. Humans have tended herds for 10,000 years. They've hunted for close to a million.

"When you have animals or use animals, a contract exists between you and them. I feed, water and shelter my cattle. I pay for the vet. I make sure they're not bothered by insects. In return, when they reach a certain age I send them to market. They pay me for taking care of them."

"That is cold and unfeeling," she said.

"Have you ever put up 1,000 bales of hay so your animals could eat during the winter? It's hot, dusty, dirty work. Have you ever stumbled out of bed in the dark to bust holes in the ice so your animals could drink?"

"You wouldn't have to if you didn't deal in flesh," she argued.

"Are you saying my cows would have been better off if they had never even been born? If they had never frolicked in a pasture or enjoyed fresh green grass?"

Suellen looked confused. "I don't know."

"Remember, it's their manure that fertilized your pumpkins. And farmers aren't going to put up hay just to get manure."

She was silent, but not for long. "What about those deer, killed in their prime?"

"Would you prefer their teeth wear down to nubbins so they can't chew their food? Then feral dogs - someone's pets, maybe - or coyotes run them 'til they're so weak they can no longer flee.

"And dogs and coyotes just don't pick on the old and weak, no matter what city folks might think. Dogs and coyotes are opportunists. They'll kill anything they can reach, ripping at the guts until the animal bleeds to death. I've seen coyotes eating deer before they were even dead."

"Better than a human killing them."

"Seems to me death by a bullet is more humane than being chased - terrified

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