that I don't like cows. I love them. It's just that I love them best when
they're sliced into manageable portions, rubbed with garlic, sprinkled
lightly with pepper and grilled.”
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I don't like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
They're elitists who want to deny the rest of us the joy of biting into a
bloody porterhouse smothered in onions and dipped in worcestershire sauce
just so they can soothe their aching consciences and stop feeling like the
worthless, ineffectual slugs they really are.
Every time PETA has
sanctimoniously blathered about how the meat industry is mistreating cows,
rabbits, bugs and rodents, I've gotten a butcher's poster that shows where the
various cuts of cow or pig or horse meat come from and put it up next to my
grill. It's not that I don't like cows. I love them. It's just that I love
them best when they're sliced into manageable portions, rubbed with garlic,
sprinkled lightly with pepper and grilled.
But PETA has finally taken up an issue that I
agree with them about. It has launched an ad campaign against the dairy
industry, urging college students to drink beer instead of milk. PETA says
that beer is better than milk because milk contains fat. It also says that
the dairy industry is cruel to cows.
I'm with PETA on this one, but not because I
think that college kids should be drinking beer. College kids should be kept
away from alcohol and locked in dark rooms until they realize that life is
about stuffing their pockets full of money, and not about idealism, integrity
or chanting silly slogans while marching in the hot sun. If the world ran on
idealism we'd all be living in mud huts and eating ants. There'd be no SUVs,
cable television or video games.
I support PETA because their allegation about
the mistreatment of cows is true. I know it's true because as a kid I spent
my summers on a dairy farm. What I saw there shocked and saddened my young
They had Guernsey cows on the farm -- big,
lumbering brown and white beasts with thick eyelashes, luscious brown eyes,
wet, nubby snouts and flaring nostrils. The cows spent their summer days
walking around the sun-drenched pastures eating the tall, green hay, mooing
and expelling their food. When they weren't eating, the cows would plop
themselves down on the ground and lie there chewing their cuds while taking
in the sun. Occasionally, they'd whip their curly tails around to swish the
flies away from their huge bodies. Then they'd get up and eat some more and
moo and expel and then they'd lie down again and lounge. The cows did that
all day, until around 4 p.m., at which time they would get up -- sometimes at
the insistence of barking dogs -- and slowly lumber toward the barn where
they'd be milked.
One day I confronted my uncle, who owned the
farm, about the situation.
"Why don't these cows have jobs?" I
demanded. "They stink from being lazy. By allowing them to lounge around
and eat all day you are robbing them of their self-esteem, sense of personal
responsibility and desire to make something of themselves. You are sentencing
them to perpetual dependency. Your treatment of them is oppressive and
constitutes cruelty to animals."
My uncle was six feet, four inches. He had to
stoop down real far to look me in the eye.
"I guess you never recovered from when
they dropped you on your head, huh? You know, you're kind of weird," he
Not one to be deterred by personal insults, I
persisted: "Not only do you rob them of dignity and ambition, but you
demean them with names like Bossy, Betsy, Basha and Booboo. Not one of them
has a business suit. Not one has climbed the corporate ladder and become a
CEO of a Fortune 500 company. You are imposing a glass ceiling on them. They
are not here to give milk or die. They are more than just walking mammary
glands. I shall report you."
My uncle scratched his head and slammed the rim
of his metal milk pail on top of a field mouse scurrying around on the
ground. Then he lifted the pail just enough so the mouse could squeeze out
from underneath. When it did, he squished the thing with his size 14 foot.
I decided to take my message to the cows
themselves. I ran into the pasture and confronted Booboo. Before I could say
a word, she curled her large, sandpaper-like tongue around my flannel shirt
and tried to eat it. I stepped back and spent an hour admonishing Booboo and
the others for allowing themselves to be robbed of their dignity. I told them
they were being exploited, and tried everything I could to shame them out of
their laziness, including appealing to their patriotism and loyalty to their
"All you do is eat and sleep and drink all
day," I said. "If you had jobs you'd have money and, like true
Americans, you could go shopping. You could become the executive director of
PETA and wage war on behalf of animals."
Booboo wasn't impressed. She blinked slowly at
me, lowered her head, yanked at a clump of grass with her tongue and whipped
her tail around to swish away the flies.
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