Note: This post is not about westerns. Though it starts out looking that way.
(In case you hate westerns.)
(If you don’t, read yesterday’s post again.)
I have said that nothing calms me more than a horse ambling across the screen.
Well, in fact, one thing does. (Which I recently noticed watching a western and going, “That is definitely better.” Sorry if I misled you. And you misled others, passing it along.)
What is, in fact, more calming than a horse ambling across the screen?
A herd of cattle, lowing contentedly on the prairie.
Now that really does it for me.
I mean, I’d settle for a horse, ambling across the screen. But set them up side by side – ambling horse, lowing cattle – my eyes go straight to the cattle.
Call it “The Meditative Herd.”
Lowing cattle appear viscerally relaxed. Watching them, you can savor the “vibe”, and become viscerally relaxed yourself.
Of course, why shouldn’t they be relaxed. Everything’s there for those cattle.
Lowing cattle have nothing concerning on their minds. They’ve got grass. They have protection from rustlers – who’ll make them run; lowing cattle do not like to run – as well as from predatory hyenas and such-like, who will go “Circle of Life” on them if they are not rigorously patrolled.
Lowing cattle are the Bing Crosby of four-legged animals – coolly casual, not a care in the world. Even after they get branded, they return to the herd, and it’s like,
“How was that?’’
“How was what?”
And we’re talking “hot poker to the skin!”
Sure, there’s the slaughterhouse, but carefree cud-chewers know nothing about that. Day-to-day, lowing cattle are the Disneyland of creatures.
They are “The Happiest Animals on Earth!”
I mean, what more contented sound is there than ”Moo”?
But you know what? (And here comes the “turn”?)
I am worried that all that bovine contentment may soon end.
Because of the greatest threat to lowing cattle’s spectacular lifesyle. By which I, of course, mean…
Short but meaningful digression…
At camp, we once had a riding instructor named Fred Quebec, who, when he saw a camper mistreating their animal would say,
“Treat that horse right! He’s only human!”
That’s Vegans and cattle. (Perhaps all animals. And possibly fish.)
“They’re only human.”
In terms of consideration and treatment.
Which I “get”, at least theoretically. I mean, flip it around.
Imagine treating people like cattle?
“Excuse me. Do you mind if we eat one of your children? Too rough? How ‘bout we turn part of your exterior into a belt?”
We don’t do that with people, because they are actual people. The thing is, if Vegans carry the day, it will be “Ditto” all the way down the line with cattle. Creating the new inter-species “Golden Rule”:
“Thee shalt do unto cattle as thee would have cattle unto you.”
Which, again, conceptually makes sense, although cattle eat grass, and have no interest in belts.
The next question, however – rarely if ever confronted – is if we treat cattle “humanely”,
What happens to cattle when you have to treat them as decently as people?
“Leave them alone”? Fine. But if there is no way of profiting from them – meat, milk, moccasins –
What happen to the cattle?
With no monetizing incentive, nobody feeds them. No one protects them.
Who’ll take liberated cattle to the Veterinarian when they get anthrax?”
“Here’s the bill.”
“Give it to the cattle”?
And you can forget about “pets.” A cow, maybe. But a pet herd?
Minus financial underpinning, how will cattle ever survive? Giving rides? Or is that also unfair?
“Would you like cows to ride you?”
Okay, so no rides. But what exactly is left for them? Vagabond cattle, ringing our doorbells, begging for a cookie?
A cow’s life is not perfect. But If there is no money in cattle, there will eventually and inevitably be…
Which, of course, is a problem.
What am I going to watch, lowing on the prairie?
“You mean ‘Who?, don’t you?
But it’s over.