This isn’t about writing.
I often write books about things that enrageand infuriate me, but I fear if I write one on THIS subject, it will befinished and published far too late to save lives.
Ever heard of Green Mountain College in Vermont? Neither have I—until yesterday. And when I did, my blood BOILED!
Green Mountain College has for years had two living mascots who lived on campus. They were trotted out for sports events and festivals and parties, yoked together like they were three and four centuries ago, and forced to drag around very heavy wagons and displays behind them. Mascots they are, and most of the students there adore them. PETS.
Never had an ox for a pet? Meet Lou and Bill—oxen.
Here’s the problem, though—one that pushed a MAJOR button of mine. They’ve been around too long, Lou and Bill, and have grown old and tired—too old to do the work they’ve been doing. So the President of Green Mountain College, one august and opinionated Paul J. Fonteyn, decided that they would be sent to a slaughterhouse and butchered!
For those of you who might not know, I recently became a vegan—and if you don’t know what THAT is, it means I refuse to eat, wear, or allow myself to be entertained by an animal who really doesn’t have much to say about it, one way or the other. Now, don’t get the idea I’m running all over the country blowing up circuses or fur dealers or McDonald’s or Burger King or Steak & Shake restaurants that serve hamburger—and I’m not PUSHING veganism to anyone else. (If you want to know more, ask.) Eat whatever you want.
But I know that that ALL living creatures are sentient. They have eyes to see, noses to smell, ears to hear, genitals for reproduction, feet to walk on—so why would ANYONE believe all those things work just fine but somehow refuse to think animals have a BRAIN with which they feel fear and pain and love?
Okay, enough about my eating habits. I just mention my vegan lifestyle to set the scene for this blog. Back to Lou and Bill.
There is a huge outcry about these two oxen marked for slaughter. Several animal sanctuaries have said they would take Lou and Bill and care for them, giving them a few good years of life after a long existence that wasn’t so terrific to begin with. An OX, if you didn’t know, is a CASTRATED male bovine—and they lose their crown jewels without anesthetic. Then they are fed to become big and strong and powerful so they can lug around those impossibly heavy wagons—for work, or in the case at Green Mountain, to entertain and amuse. Several sanctuaries and private persons have offered to BUY them and care for them for the rest of their lives. Sounds great, no?
NOT great. Paul J. Fonteyn—PRESIDENT Paul J. Fonteyn—has refused. He’s decided Lou and Bill will be slaughtered, and he isn’t about to change his mind—possibly because he fears his “power” and his “authority” might, in some circles, be viewed as emasculation. Of course HE knows that word, emasculation—he owns two oxen.
The slaughterhouse to whom he offered Lou and Bill have refused, saying it will make them AND the college look pretty bad, reputation-wise. Fonteyn is now searching for ANOTHER slaughterhouse who won’t be so “picky.”
Here’s the deal, though, the one that knocked my socks off. Fonteyn’s view is that when Lou and Bill are butchered, they will then be turned into hamburger AND FED TO THE STUDENTS OF GREEN MOUNTAIN COLLEGE!
Anyone out there considering cooking and serving for dinner tonight your dog or cat or parrot that you’ve had and cared for for fifteen years?
So in addition to Paul J. Fonteyn’s being merciless, insensitive and cruel—he appears to be pretty damn stupid, too. Because all the steaks and roasts and hamburgers you eat every day are always made from cattle that are slaughtered when relatively young. Otherwise the older they get, the more tough, sinewy, gamey and unappetizing their meat becomes. For ANOTHER reason, that’s why I’m very glad my offspring and grandkids don’t eat in the Green Mountain College cafeteria.
Seeing as it’s the beginning of November, I began thinking that the President of the United States—whether Republican or Democrat—always PARDONS a turkey from execution each year, right before Thanksgiving. But then again, each President of the United States, with all THEIR ”power” and “authority” awarded to them by the Constitution and a majority of Americans who bestow it on them doesn’t fear being perceived as weak, wussy, insenstive and emasculated, and isn’t nearly as important as the president of an obscure college in Vermont.
Maybe Obama and Romney have wasted this entire year running for the wrong office.
I’d LOVE to be able to write an entire novel about Lou and Bill. But firing off this blog was much more immediate—and made me feel a hell of a lot better.