Life Needs Death

Believe it or not, I am still getting snail mail for my mother. Recently I received yet another missive from PETA, one of the organizations she supported, pleading with her to renew her membership, as they are in dire need of her funds. To guilt her into submitting, they sent along several sheets of cute mailing labels and a complimentary copy of their quarterly magazine informing her that while she should have gotten it last month, she apparently did not, and maybe she didn’t notice, so they are sending it to her in a special envelope along with the letter badgering her to re-subscribe. If they had included an SASE I might have sent them notice that she’s deceased and they should remove her from their mailing list.

Hmm… come to think of it I believe I already did that.

Anyway, when it comes I always take a moment to peruse the magazine. I’m not sure why. It’s so stupid. They make such a big deal out of nothing. I read the articles and always feel like I’m only getting a third of the story, along with a good dollop of hysteria.

This issue was particularly provoking to me. Mind you, I’m only skimming, but here are some of the titles, bullets and side notes that hit my eyes:

 “Did my meal have a mother?”

“Where did veal come from? Baby cows. Waaah!”

“How about the turkey? The steak? That succulent piece of lamb?”

Oooh. Those were once living creatures… a nice, feathery turkey, a sweet, lovable, innocent cow, a cute woolly lamb. How can anyone eat such things! Only because they haven’t really thought about what it is they’re actually eating — or they happen to be a horrid, cruel and vicious barbarian!

You are urged to always “Try to relate to who’s on your plate!” This statement was accompanied by an illustration of a plate with vegetables, potatoes and a tiny naked person… (Which turned out to be a photograph of an actual person lying on a huge plate at one of their “events” of the same name.)

It’s all emotional, overwrought and rife with anthropomorphizing the animals — ie, giving them human feelings and attributes they do not possess. I’m sorry, but turkeys do not have the attachment to their young that human mothers do. I’ve raised turkeys and was not impressed with their intelligence or their demeanor.

I’ve worked with cows, which are one of my favorite animals, but they are still animals — beasts. Kinda dumb ones at that.

I’ve never worked with sheep, but the Bible consistently uses them as an illustration of how stupid and herd-bound the people of God can be when they are out of His plan and following their own ways.

The authors even agonize over the plight of fish as they are “impaled and pulled into an environment where they cannot breathe”.

The Dalai Lama is quoted as having been “particularly concerned with the sufferings of chickens for many years.”


I think a lot of this comes from living in an affluent society where we are more and more divorced from the actual realities of what it means to survive. We, as a society, are so removed from our food sources now, we can afford to indulge such absurd ideas.

I say absurd, because if you get down to it, life requires death in order to continue.

All life. If you look at the entire ecological system, it is, as that silly Lion King song trumpets, a circle. The grass grows, the cow eats it, makes a baby cow, dies, decomposes, feeds the grass which the now-grown baby cow eats as it makes a new cow, which feeds new grass… etc.

Right there, in front of everyone’s eyes to see.

I would also like to point out that when one eats the grass, the grass dies, as well. So too, the spinach, the onion, the lettuce that vegans are so fond of replacing their animal foods with. Worse, when you crunch into that fresh spinach leaf you are in the process of crushing and bursting and killing living cells.

Ohhhh noooooooo. And should you cook the spinach leaf beforehand, you are subjecting those cells to lethal levels of heat and again the cell walls burst, the cells die…

Animal or plant, the stuff we eat is living either as we eat it, or prior to preparation for eating. We don’t eat rocks. And after we eat this living stuff it is no longer living. Thus, life requires death to be sustained.

A perfect, everywhere present, three times a day reminder of the Cross, and the fact that there is no spiritual life for fallen man apart from death — the death of the son of God, which provides true life — eternal life — for all who believe in Him.


5 thoughts on “Life Needs Death

  1. Dan the Mountain Man

    Cows, sheep, goats, and chickens are raised for food. If we did not eat them, they would be left in the wild where they would be killed and eaten by another animal. I think to death by the other animal would be a lot worse even the one that comes by human.

    Yes, plant are living things as much as your cows and chickens. If we stop eating living things, we will have nothing to eat.

    1. karenhancock

      You’re right about most animals in the wild being killed and eaten by another animal. Or if not that, by a rival, or injured and slowly dying of the injury. I can think of lots of terrible ways for animals to die in the wild, and while predation may be the quickest, that doesn’t mean it would be “quick”.

  2. Rebecca LuElla Miller

    What a great conclusion! Love it, Karen.

    The reason the PETA types aren’t worried about the plants is because there is a huge campaign to bring Man down to animal level from his special place as God’s good creation fashioned in His image. I’m not suggesting this is a conspiracy but a natural outcome of believing in evolution and not the existence of God.

    Re. the mail you’re receiving, I got mail for my mom at least five years after she died. In fact, I think something came with her name on it just last year.

    I sent in notice that she had died, and they simply changed her address to mine and kept sending. Finally I stopped receiving them–put “Deceased, Return to Sender” on the envelop and put it out for the mailman to take away. That seemed to work.

    I even got phone calls for her, though she’d never lived with me and never shared my phone number. I was blunt with those folks and they were always apologetic, but it was hard those first couple years, those first couple calls.

    So odd to me that in this communication revolution we can’t seem to actually communicate with real people at certain junctures.


    1. karenhancock

      Thanks, Becky. I wonder, too, how much of this “reverence” for life isn’t partially the result of the infiltration of far eastern religious beliefs, like Hinduism and Buddhism — taking care not to step on earthworms because one might be Grandma, and all that. The whole Nirvana concept where God isn’t really a person but more a state or a place or possibly even an alien concept…

      As to the other, yes, I’ve had all those experiences — where they changed her address to mine and kept sending. I think they hope they’ll gain a new convert, but their only giving me fodder to solidify the conclusions I’ve already come to regarding them… So far we’ve gotten no phone calls, but that may be due to the fact we screen all our calls.

  3. Pingback: The Secret Life of Plants « Writing from the Edge 2

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