I did not tell you everything about the conversation I had with my goat pimp friend.
She does, by the way, have a very nice name and a wonderful personality and really deserves a better virtual identity. However, since I assured her that I never reveal my friends' names in blogs, she will simply be referred to with the memorable moniker, "goat pimp friend".
The second half of this story is, at least for me and I suspect for most of my vegan (internet) friends, less tolerable than just the facts that she raises some goats, milks them, makes goat cheese and eats some meat.
She breeds them. Obviously, this was clear in the last blog. Farmers breed their animals; so do horse and dog and cat breeders. For many people, this is just a "duh" issue -- something not to think too hard about, something that just "is".
Of course, if you are paying attention to how I'm setting up this blog (or, if you just know me even a *little* bit), you know I'm about to say that it IS an issue.
At the crux of the matter is this: do we humans have the right to force animals to breed? (In the last blog, you learned that my friend assisted her goat by lifting up the goat's tail -- I didn't mention that she also had to hold the goat against her body -- because the female goat wasn't terribly interested in doing the nasty with the horny billy goat, whose owners were paying my friend for the service of breeding their goat with hers.)
When I heard this story, I said, "Hmmm...not sure I'm on board with that." My friend nodded; she expected me to say as much. The person standing next to us (a friend of hers) said, "Oh, God! They're animals, not people!" She was, of course, expressing an opinion held by many -- that we somehow CAN do to animals what we would not fathom doing to people. In this case, that we can force sex on a female goat even though if that goat were a female human, we'd call that rape.
I hope it's clear that I'm not against consensual breeding. I might also add: another story my friend told me was about having to spend half a day driving one of her female goats to a friend's house who has male goats, because her girl was in desperate need for a "conjugal visit". As far as I know, the male goat did not mind in the least servicing the female one. In this instance, I think my friend was facilitating something that her goat needed, as opposed to what she or some other farmer needed.
What I'm questioning here is whether it's ethical for people who raise animals to force their animals to breed. Vegans, not surprisingly, pretty unanimously answer "NO!". If you haven't read up on this, there are many in-depth reports out there, most of them so detailed that you'll want to stop reading and go back to your naive and ignorant ways. If you're interested, check out blogs at girliegirlarmy.come on this issue, or blogs at the Huffington Post by Ari Solomon. I'm not going to reiterate here what you can read there.
So, I'm ending this blog with a simple question: what do you think about forced breeding and why do you think it?
- My interests include veganism and vegetarianism, health, ethics, politics and culture, media, and the environment. I have three kids; I teach college part-time, study piano and attempt to garden. I knit. I blog on just about anything, but many posts are related to my somewhat pathetic quest to eat better, be more mindful of the environment, and be a more responsible news consumer. Sometimes I write about parenting, but, like so many Mommy bloggers, my kids have recently told me not to. :) Thanks for reading.