Mysweet slept badly on Saturday night.
Sunday morning was going to be the moment of truth for Tom, Dick and Harry, the cockerels.
Mysweet had been agonising about the procedure that would ensure the least suffering. He seemed to feel that it was an important part of being a meat eater…the readiness to assume responsibility for the death of the animal. It had taken on a spiritual dimension, the respect for life and the animal that had given up its own in order to feed us.
I feel it myself when I pop the live crabs in the boiling water. I find myself thanking them silently.
It is because we all have it in common, don’t we? Life. Followed by death.
It also seems to be more difficult the closer an animal approaches us in intelligence.
But it is a spectrum. Intelligence and complexity.
I watch the dogs working on Sunday morning on my cliff top as they intelligently search for bits of wood to drop at the feet of their God-like masters and meditate on the ease with which we permit ourselves to take life from those we consider our intellectual inferiors.
I think of my autist students. Some of them live so very much in their own world that they are sometimes unaware of their surroundings and problems posed by their immediate environment, and are perhaps the happier for it.
But on Thursday morning the boy with the red hair looked at me for a moment with trapped pain in his eyes, aware that something was happening that he did not understand… understanding that he did not understand.
When I return, the deed is done and Mysweet is cleaning the last bird, pleased that he has completed his task quickly without causing suffering.
I wonder if there is an intelligence, somewhere, that would consider us as dogs or chickens in comparison with itself...
My problem is the same as the boy with red hair’s: I understand just enough to know that I don’t understand.
1 day ago