*Please note: This is a re-post from March 2009.
I had a chance to meet up with some old friends this past weekend. I know this is cheesy but: "Make new friends and keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold." I like to think the relationship that I have with my high school friends is really unique. Last year was our 10 year reunion and we celebrated by opening the Time Capsule that we made in 1997 right before graduation. The 8 of us have come a long way but the memories that we made at Lowell High created a friendship that will last a lifetime.As we chatted the other night, the conversation took a turn that I never expected. One of my friends is a vegetarian. Our conversation was cut short that night and I had so much more to say. I couldn 't stop myself from making sure that she understands a farm girl's prospective on the issue. Here is my letter to her:
I after thinking about our conversation the other night I realized that I totally did not get what you were saying. If I understand right you do not eat animals because you do not agree with the way they are treated on farms. I have to admit that this offends me but I will try to be rational about it. I truly believe that we share the same values...I don't think we would be friends for 14 years and have so many memories if we didn't! You love animals. I love animals. That is why I still work at the farm. I hope you don't think that I get up at 4:30 in the morning and come home smelling like poop because I CAN'T get another job- there is no other job that I want. I believe that when we use animals for food, entertainment, clothing, or companions they are serving a purpose."Everything lives and everything dies and death with a purpose gives full meaning to life."~Trent LoosI believe that my purpose on earth is to serve the Lord. Animals can not do this. So what would their purpose be if we didn't use them to help us better achieve our purpose? This is why I love Agriculture. I love the fact that what we do every day makes a difference- we can provide food for other people! I think you can appreciate that with being a nurse and the difference you can make everyday saving lives!Anyway, my point is that every time I go to Conferences with other farmers we are all striving to improve. There have been mistakes made and I will not condone some of the horrific things that have been done to animals. But I will say that I have full confidence that these acts are an extremely rare occurrence. Even on my farm- looking back 15 years ago to things that were common practice on our "Small Family Farm"-we have realized are detrimental to our animals, the culture, integrity and profitability of our farm and these were just little changes (comfortable sand bedding, rubber mats to improve hoof health, calm/patient milkers, fans and sprinklers in the summer, fly control, just to name a few!) and now I know that our Family "Factory Farm" does better than ever before at caring for the cows.I hope that if you ever have a chance to vote on a regulation that effects farms you will stop and consider the fact that there are people just like me all across this country working on their farms and taking the best care they know how of their animals. I know you will have unlimited access to every kind of media possible from activists groups with a clear agenda of "abolishing Animal Agriculture". Don't believe that they only want the chickens to be able to spread their wings so that doesn't effect a farm like mine. Before that vote was even over they already have plans to go after dairy farms next. I am not expecting to change your eating habits after reading this but I do hope I change your thinking about the way that the animals are cared for on America's farms.It is kind of insulting that people will believe that b/c they saw or read something once that that is the norm for all farmers. I really value our friendship. I hope that you can better understand where I am coming from and I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this. Really. If you wouldn't mind being totally transparent (kind of like I just did lol!). It would really help me to understand why you and millions of other people are making decisions that are totally different from my way of thinking. I will embrace any criticism or comments that you have! Thanks and sorry but I had to get it out! LOL