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Re: Re: Re: A Revelation
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Posted by Cindi on June 19, 2004 at 15:55:50 from (220.127.116.11):
In Reply to: Re: Re: A Revelation posted by JDK on June 19, 2004 at 08:42:06:
I was going to put off the conversation until we got well down the road. I didn't want to bring it up first thing. Wanted to wait and get my thoughts arranged first.
No sooner did we pull out of the yard, than my mouth started moving all by itself.
"Something you said last night has been worryin' me."
"Oh? What was it?"
"You know...about us maybe not being cut out for this."
"Fred dammit! Think! Last night you said it at the auction."
"Oh!" He peeered at me through his sunglasses. "What about it?"
I could see that he was going to make me peel him like an onion.
"What...did...you...mean?" I pushed.
"Well, I just meant that maybe we were not cut out for the auction environment. I don't mind telling you, Cindi, I have a real hard time with some aspects of this life. I can kill deer or wild hogs or something like that every day, and it doesn't bother me a bit, but when it comes to killing something that I have been feeding for years, something that has been working for us, it's a whole different story."
"I don't mind you telling me that! In fact, I'm glad that..."
"The thing is..." He interrupted me. Ooops. It appears I had done opened a flood gate. (grin)
"The thing is, I think it's wrong to use an animal and not have some way of repaying them for their service. What are we going to do? Let Daphne have twenty or thirty litters of pigs for us, and then the minute she can't produce, haul her off to some bone factory?"
"You know what I mean." He frowned. "There needs to be some compensation for services provided. It's only fair. It's only right. Don't you think? Maybe," he continued, "maybe we could turn them out in the grove, and just feed them a little bit, let them root and finish out their years in peace."
"No. That won't work." I shook my head. "We'll end up with a bunch of little wild piglets out there or worse yet, they could get out of the grove and end up in the highway or something. We can't risk that liability."
"Well, then, we'll section off a pasture for retired sows, and just leave them be."
"But we still have to feed them. How do we justify the expense?"
"It costs us about eighty cents a day to feed one of those sows. I think it's more than a fair return for what they provide us with."
"But there has to be a limit. What happens when we have fifteen retired sows out there? Then you're talking twelve dollars a day. We have to have a plan. There has to be a cutoff. We can't support them indefinitely."
"Maybe so. Maybe we can come up with a time frame, but whatever it turns out to be, know that I am not going to waltz out there and put a bullet in their brains when the time is up. I'm not too proud to tell you that it would break my heart, and I just won't do it."
I smiled at him.
"That's okay. I'm glad that you feel that way.." I patted his hand. "We need to have a time frame arranged. The day a sow hits the retirement pasture, the clock starts. After three months, say, we call in doctor Gary and have him put her down with a shot. That's thirty-five dollars. It'll end up costing us about a hundred dollars more or less a head, to retire a sow, by the time you figure in three months of feed and the shot. The proceeds from one show pig. That's do-able, don't you think?"
"Well, it's a sight better than dragging her to an auction, or shooting her. That sounds like a plan."
"Just for the record, you don't have any problem taking piglets to the auction?"
"No...it may seem weird but I don't. I don't feel like I owe them anything. I want to see them handled humanely, but I know what we are raising them for. I don't have a problem raising animals knowing that they are going for food. I just feel an obligation to the sows, and I won't just dump them."
I turned my head and gazed out the window. I didn't want him to see me smiling. He's just macho enough to take offense and think I was laughing at him. Which I wasn't. Of course I wasn't. If he could callously walk out there and kill a sow, a friend, an employee, if you will, in cold blood without a second thought, that would frighten me a little, to be honest.
It may be unconventional and even downright stupid, to pay to keep an unproductive animal, even for just a few months, but it appears that that is exactly what we are going to do. It's well worth the hundred dollar retirement fee, so that we can both sleep at night.
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