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Saturday, 7 November 2015

Bovine Neighbours

Our neighbours at the moment are of the four-legged variety who munch a lot of grass and do a lot of mooing. It can be eerie on a dark night to hear them breathing heavily, chewing and shifting around in the field.

When you live close to another creature for a time you notice their habits, and we’ve been noticing how much time the cows spend just standing still and staring – often into our living room window. 

What are they thinking? Anything at all? Envying us the cosy fire? Horrified that we are tucking into roast beef? 

It’s enough to turn one into a veggie.

Or is it? Maybe I’ve watched too many animations in my life, where animals are given human qualities and take on human characteristics and attitudes. 

God gave humanity stewardship of the earth (great job we’re doing with that...) and meat was on the menu. Jesus ate lamb and fish. What more do I need to know?

The key to that conclusion is stewardship. When I watched a DVD on animal husbandry in the US recently I was horrified at its cruelty and the widespread use of antibiotics and hormones in rearing animals for consumption. Some of the cattle in the US never see a blade of grass but are fed only on corn, not a natural foodstuff for a bovine creature. 

So I am glad that these cows, staring glakitly (good Scots word) through the window, are chewing their cud as they do so. I am grateful to the farmers for their hard work and skill.

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