I was wondering what this entry would be about all week, but Saturday the topic become as obvious as…something quite obvious.
Don Oscar has papers to live in the United States; he came back to home to my site once last year when his mother died and came back in July this year for the one year anniversary of his mothers death-which is something of a celebration here.
Since he has been back he has told me several times that he would be killing a cow and wanted me to be there to eat it, and I wanted to be there for the whole things; Part of my reason for going was just to get a little closer to the food chain. Last week he told me that ‘this Saturday without doubt we will be killing it.” I was skeptical, but when the day came around…the cow was killed.
I think it’s safe to say I have changed a lot since I have been here. The first time I saw a chicken killed it made me think. When I saw a rabbit get dressed I felt a little wheezy so I was dubious about what my reaction would be to seeing a cow that weighs several hundred pounds getting killed would be.
There are a few people in the town that always do the killing and dressing of animals. ‘Napo’ tied up the cow in front of an audience of mostly kids less than 10. Once on the ground he sharpened his knife said ‘forgive me lord’ then made a hole in its neck and let it bleed to death. The last minute of the cow’s life was the hardest to watch, it mooed very loudly and with anthropomorphizing it too much it seemed scared. When it mooed loudly (sounded more like a scream then a moo) blood flowed more rapidly from the hole in its neck. I’m sure there are more humane was of killing a cow now. Its eyes seemed to change color and it died. Then two grown men, a teenager and myself started to peel the leather off the meat. That was really the only thing I could help with. I was expecting to be much more disgusted than I was. The skin is very tough and we sharpened our knives every few minutes. After it was flayed they worked for about 2 hours getting all the meat off and left the guts and skin for the vultures and dogs.
I was excited to eat grass feed beef, but they cooked it so much I couldn’t taste much more than a normal steak. So did I think about becoming a vegetarian while we were cutting it? For a few seconds I did but it just didn’t seem like a big deal killing it. Maybe it was the presence of kids the whole time who watched with interest at times boredom at others, but I never really felt anything more than a mild sense of gratitude for the meat the cow had given us. Or maybe I’m just a hardened killer now.