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May 26, 2010


You could deal with your squirrels with a live trap which is what we do; then I carry them about 1/4 mile away, which is a lot of work but I am not into killing when it is not needed, before I release them to the back of our property. It works but just takes time. It has the advantages of being able to be certain it's the species you had in mind.

As for the beef and lamb, it is not all raised and sold as you indicated. Some do what we do, which is raise them, have them killed on the property (one shot to the head) by the local meat processor, and the buyer has grassfed beef without the factory aspect and a lot healthier, in fact as healthy as wild salmon (farmed salmon is not healthy at all).

If more people, who choose to eat meat, would be more selective in how they buy it, there wouldn't be the evils of feed lots. It is not needed. For the argument that the animals die for us to live, well that's life. I am not sure the carrot wanted to be eaten either and instead of a merciful death, you probably ate it while it was alive!

Rain, we do use a live trap. We've caught quite a few ground squirrels in it. Unfortunately, it hasn't been working lately. Either the gray squirrels or the ground squirrels manage to set it off from the outside (reaching in for the peanuts), or we've hypothesized that the gray squirrels are so large, their tails stick out past the trap so they can get out when the door closes.

Yes, buying humanely raised and slaughtered meat is a great thing to do. However, in "Eating Animals" Foer points out that 99% or more of animals are raised in factory farms. It simply wouldn't be possible for Americans to eat animals who were raised and slaughtered humanely (assuming this is possible, which is a philosophical question).

We're fortunate to have more options in Oregon than I suspect most of the rest of the country has. However, so long as people want their meat, it's going to have to be raised in factory farms to meet the demand.

I imagine more places could do it as we do it if more people knew to want it. It is more work and the buyer must buy more meat than they might think they want-- like 1/4, but it can be done and small farms can do it which means pretty much anywhere in the country. Even just training Americans to eat grassfed and not demand the grainfed would help a lot for the feed lots is where the worst happens. And yes, there is a way to kill humanely as in happy and living one moment and dead the next. Just keep in mind if people didn't buy beef, the animals would never get to live at all. Ranchers who are not in it for the big bucks can also let the cows live out a normal life as in get to old age and not be sent off for hamburger but live out their lives. I have no problem with people choosing to be vegans but just saying that food can be gotten that is done the right way. Even growing a lot of soy has its questions for use of land when the question of what a crop does for the environment is considered. Nothing is without cost.

Maybe try a bigger live trap? We have trapped some pretty big squirrels here but we don't have the smallest size. It's a tough one if they really get onto the traps because too many rodents in an area is a health hazard. When we did it, we sometimes got two in one trap. That was a tad heavy to carry to the back; but we really haven't had a lot around the house since the summer of doing that.

Have you ever swatted a fly? Stepped on a bug? Used Raid on a hornet's nest?

What makes the life of a squirrel more worthy of tears than anything else that is "alive?"

Is it because a squirrel is more like us (or what we perceive to be like us) than a bug is? It's cute...it has fur...it gives live birth, etc?

I think you are showing selective regret, just for the sake of appearances.

Dan, there was nothing "selective" about my feeling, which was much more intense than what I feel when I swat a fly. (I try to save insects, by the way; yesterday I carried a miniscule spider to a house plant rather than step on it when I saw it scurrying across the floor.)

It's natural to feel more empathy for creatures that have more capacity for suffering, like a squirrel. This is why killing animals for food is a different thing than killing pests/insects that pose a threat to property or yourself.

Emotions aren't "for the sake of appearances." They're natural aspects of our humanness. Everybody feels differently about different things. I just wrote honestly about what I felt after I killed the gray squirrel. Your results may differ.

I'm not sure I follow your comment about "capacity for suffering." Does a squirrel have a greater capacity than a fly? How do we judge that? What is the standard we use to measure?

Not trying to be difficult...as is usually the case. I'm genuinely curious.

The Myths of Vegetarianism:


Not telling anyone to eat meat or not eat meat. Just grist for the mill.

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