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It's what's for dinner

Thanks to the Anoka Country Fair, I was able to give a bit more depth to my previous thought experiment about what animals I would, or would not feel bad about killing.

Thanks to the good kids at 4-H, there were many representatives of each and every animal species we eat, available for close eye to eye contemplation.

For the most part it bore out my guesses, chickens and turkeys looked highly killable, their long necks seemingly designed for wrenching or quick severing. Ducks seemed to emit a mysterious charisma that completely disarmed any attempts to summon murderous intent.

The eyes of pigs and cows were harder to meet, the glimmering hint of the existential horror of their situation seemingly swirling at the edges of their pupils.

The one surprise that diverged from my predictions were the sheep. They looked particularly stupid, and as I stared into their dull faces I imagined slaughtering one personally. Wrapping my arm around it's head, pull it back to expose the neck, and slicing deep. Hauling it up by it's feet to let the blood drain. I tried to imagine the wet and frightened bleeting noises it would make as it struggled upside down, and how I would feel.

Now clearly imagination is different from reality, but in my mind I felt nothing for it. I can't explain it, how I can have such a revulsion to slaughtering a pig, but yet be devoid of empathy for another farm animal of similar mass.

Also, I felt weird and bad about using the 4-H displays for this purpose. It seemed somehow wrong to death ogle the result of children's hard work. Except, maybe that is the whole point of it. To remind people of the places their food comes from. 4-H kids certainly don't release their animals back into the wild, they are raised to be consumed, sans ribbons.

In any case, while initially I felt like a serial killer casing a co-ed dorm, in the end I found a happy place with it. While we're not explicitly taught *not* to think about the source of our food, I think the lingering truth of it seeps in, and demands to be pushed out of our mind each mealtime. Mental clothing worn over the unsightly bits of the necessities of society.

In any case, lamb is definitely back on the table, and I suspect my next trip to the aquarium will be an interesting one.

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