Or part three. I'm not sure.
Just a quick little note, a process for me. Am going to dinner at the old farm next week. Casually, the owner says, "we just got Louie back from the butcher, so we'll have beef something."
Louie was my first bull calf. He was just a few weeks old when I first arrived at the farm. When he was small, we were buddies. I halter trained him. Those original owners hoped to sell him to someone who just wanted "a sweet ol' lawn bull;" in ten years of raising dairy cows, they sent one to slaughter, and then couldn't bring themselves to eat the meat. The new owners did not have that sentiment. The dairy business is also, by default, the meat business. Bull calves are stud replacements or they are beef. After they took over, we sent several bull calves to slaughter. Calves I'd bottle fed. With them, it was just facts. There is no farming without death.
Knowing that they intended to slaughter Louie was - different. He was my first farm guy. Louie was a love. So much of a love, he didn't realize he was a very large animal. By the time he outgrew the calf pens, it had become a little dangerous for me to get in there to feed him. The way we played around when he was tiny was not wise when he outweighed me. By the end of my time at the farm, I couldn't go near his paddocks; he had no idea he was dangerous. He either thought I was a cow, or he thought he wasn't a bull. Either way, unwise. A rookie mistake I made.
So it's strange still, to see a freezer full of meat. I spent a day or so thinking about it. Wondering if this is another of those times when I will question the categories in my mind, question whether meat-eating is a choice I still want to make. But then I think. This morning I remember - Louie lived on acres of pasture, with other cows and bulls. He had a fantastic bull life. You can either have a never-Louie, because there are no wandering herds of wild cows somewhere where creatures live out some magical "natural" life, or you can have a brief Louie, raised well and with kindness.
I wonder if it is as simple as that, a small switch in my thinking. A pet bull, with my own added emotionalizing, or a real bull.
Not sure yet.