Of Horses and Cows [TRIGGER WARNING slaughtered cow pictures]

in life •  11 days ago 

When we moved to Utah the pasture behind our house was empty, except for snow and weeds and an overturned row boat in the back corner.

The Things running back toward our house across the pasture

In the summer three Texas longhorn cattle moved in, joined shortly after by two larger cows of a different breed. The owner of these late arriving cows, a real Utah cowboy named Brian, hoped they would be impregnated by the Texas longhorn bull.

For a couple months we had 5 cattle in the pasture right behind us, and roughly ten billion flies. A month ago the owner of the Texas longhorns moved them to a different pasture, but Brian kept his two cows behind.

I guess his cows didn't get pregnant. Today I saw a large white van in the pasture.


My wife named all the cows, this is Hazel laying on the ground with her throat cut.

I talked about it with @thingone. I told him they were cutting up the cows into meat for people to eat. He said, you mean they are cutting the flesh from the skeleton. I told him the bones would probably be used too. Plants like to eat bone meal, or they can be used for soup bones or animal food.

He thought about it for a bit. They shouldn't have cut her throat and let all her blood out, he said.

We are not vegetarians. Maybe once a month I will buy a beef roast, or grill burgers in the summer. I reminded @thingone about the hamburgers we made last week. He has been helping me shop. I told him that all the meat at the store came from animals that were killed and then cut up for meat. The cows were going to be cut up and the meat put in refrigerators or freezers to be eaten later.

He understood.

Hours later we ventured out into the empty pasture. I told the things not to walk in the cow blood. They gave it a wide birth and joyfully ran to the boat in the back corner. I stayed behind to look at the cow's blood.


The life's blood of a cow, coagulating on a hot Utah day, looks like an active lava flow. It looks like Mordor. It looks like death in a much more metal way than I thought it was going to look like.


That is not ran through a filter nor edited in any way. That is what it looked like.

As I rejoined the Things, a horse in the neighboring pasture came over to say hello. We know this horse. We fed it some carrots months ago in the spring, before the cattle arrived.


@thing one said, sometimes they cut the flesh off a horse?

No, we don't eat horses here. But in some parts of the world, people eat horses.

He didn't question this, and I wouldn't have had a ready answer if he did. Horses... in western culture we see them as wild, and free. Intelligent and noble. Cows in western culture are... cows. The word is an insult. That isn't fair of course, watching cows these past five months has given me a new appreciation for them.

I told the Things that if we could find an apple, this horse would eat it out of our hands. @thingtwo sprinted across the field back to the irrigation ditch between the field and our house. I knew the Things had spotted several apples that had wedged themselves against the wooden bridge I built, the last time the ditch had water.

@thingone was nervous and stood on the boat while @thingtwo and I fed the horse the apple. It stamped its feet in appreciation and let me pet its nose for a long minute or two. Flies crawled around the corners of its eyes.


I would not want flies crawling around my eyes.

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It's great to get kids to understand where their food is coming from. We have a lot of pig farms around here (pig farms in the UK are often in outdoor areas) and our little one knows all about it to the point that one day she said ,"id quite like to see a farmer cut up a pig into bacon".

It's a Dexter Morgan type of moment.

I had to look up who Dexter Morgan was :) @thingone has been really curious about life and death, he says stuff like that to me all the time. Actually he regularly asks (wanting me to pull up an image on Google) "show me a dead BLANK", e.g. show me a dead cat. What he means is, show me a cat skeleton, but it is still disconcerting to hear him ask me to show him dead things!

My fave skeleton is the blue whale in the natural history museum in london. Probably just as cool as the dinosaur it replaced.


Germany is considered western culture and we eat horse here. Especially around the holidays. We have specialty butchers that take good care of the preparation. I too would like to learn towards a more vegetarian diet eating meet primarily for festivals and special occasions.

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That is interesting - I didn't actually know that RE Germans eating horse. There really isn't a super good reason to eat one large animal and not another - if it is wrong to eat one animal because of some perceived nobility / intelligence, it should be wrong to eat all animals I would think. Americans in general really mythologize horses it seems like, it is such a part of our national fairy tale with the romanticized image of the cowboy and the wild west. Wild herds of horses are actually a real problem in the west, basically an invasive species with no real predators and some herd sizes have swelled into the thousands, destroying habitat and displacing native species. But protections against killing wild horses are built into federal law.

If you had posted the photo separately with the title "Lava", then almost everyone would probably have believed you. The photo looks really cool.
I grew up in the country and I never liked the slaughtering of animals but I liked to eat the meat. It has to be taught slowly and easily to children. I think you did very well.
We ourselves were not farmers, but we had rabbits. My mother fed the rabbits and fried them after the slaughter, but she did not eat them because she did not want to eat what she fed.

I have never eaten a rabbit. Growing up in Alaska we had wild harvest of fish, berries and game animals but other than that not really any exposure to farm life. I am enjoying living in the countryside now as an adult.

I can not even remember how the meat tastes because it's been too long ago. When I retire in some years I want to move back to the countryside to my parent's house, but this decision depends on my wife too ;)

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Great story

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Frankly I love to be a vegetarian...

You are a vegetarian, or you would love to be one? I think there is a good argument that ethically and environmentally a vegetarian diet is superior

Humans evolved as an omnivore. There are certain amino acids and fats that our body needs that are very difficult to get from natural plant sources. The modern vegetarian diet, of course, has sources of those amino acids, but they must be processed from plant sources, not naturally derived.
I don't eat a lot of meat, but I feel the need to include it in my diet.

It's after all people choices what they want and prefer to eat...whatever they are ok with they can. Choose upon

True enough!


Born in a Brahmin family , veg is the only diet....but ocassionally have tasted chicken and eggs in my college days and office when have nothing to eat...but felt quite heavy and rusty...kind of indigestion

Good post

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Nice way to let the children knows about their environment @carlgnash ... your thingone is the one who loves music right?

Yes, both of my sons are super musical but I have shared more of thingone's talents here because he is older :)

The circle of life. It's nice to see folks living close to the edges of life. So many ppl do not know what blood on the ground looks like for real. I sense the feeling of contentment you feel with how you choose to live your life.

Yeah I think it is important not to deny the reality of life and death. Living in the countryside there are many small reminders.

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You can bury bones to increase your prayer level ;)

Horses are such gorgeous creatures!

That cow blood looks like a kaleidoscope image.

We have been collecting all sorts of bones lately that we find on our hikes. But we are more stacking them on our window ledges and perching them around the back yard. Maybe I am increasing my dark magic level

Lie in the slow lane , not much different from the fast lane...

Well, both lanes end up in the same place.

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very poignant reminder of the cruelty we visit upon animals and nature in general. this couldnt have been an easy post and i'm surprised your kids took it so well. i attribute this to the fact that they have such great parents, I think that i might have cried my eyes out, even tho i eat meat. I'm not sure if this is due to my city breeding, my sensitivity to animals or my gender specific socialization. go fish... excellent post btw.

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