Tuesday, February 2, 2016

I Am PETA (yes, I said it)


I have renounced my ways. I believe I will become a vegan and member of PETA. Yes, you have read that correctly. Bill Howard, the hunter/gatherer and sometimes hunter/didn’t gather anything’er  is going the opposite direction.
Why you ask? Well I am glad you asked actually. That is of course if you actually read the opening to this outdoors column and thought to yourself, “why is Bill doing that?”. Yes, you may not have asked, and yet I am carrying you down this road anyway, but that is perhaps the advantage of being a writer. I get to lead you where I wish.
There is an old joke, and it varies at times as far as who the actual people are that are involved in it, but I am going to tell you one of the variations I like. You see, three people walked into a bar. They were a vegan, a politician, and a photographer. We all know, because they told everyone in the bar. Twice.
Yes, typically if you meet one of the three, or several other people types, they generally let you know as soon as you meet them. They are proud of it. And now I have told you that I am becoming a vegan and member of PETA. I am proud of it.
It was hard for me to make this choice. One problem is I am not a big vegetable eater. Once, at a corporate meeting in a past career, I had a boss sitting down the table from me when we all received our meal for the day. He asked what I was eating, knowing I do not eat vegetables. I told him I had chicken and two pieces of corn on the cob.
“Two?” he asked, one eyebrow raised as if he were a classic cartoon of Batman.
“Yes. I didn’t really want fries today.”
“Do you eat anything green?” he asked.
“Yes, of course. Some M&Ms are green.” Needless to say, that became the running joke whenever we had our meetings, including a candy dish of M&Ms at one of the meetings.
So what is one to do who does not like vegetables yet has vowed to become a vegan? That’s an easy answer. You can learn a lot in elementary school. For instance, I learned that sticks and stones can break my bones. However, words on the other hand, will never hurt me physically. I also learned that rain, yes rain, will go away, but it usually does come on another day.
But the one I am referring to in this column is this lesson; I am what I eat. You are what you eat too. And since I like eating such things as cows and deer, I can extrapolate and determine that since cows and deer eat vegetation, that they are in fact, vegetation also. Hence, when I have a big ole sirloin, I am eating what could be loosely determined as a protein filled salad.
As far as becoming a card carrying, shout-from-the-highest-mountain member of PETA, well, this is simple as well. Why would I be against treating animals ethically? I love animals. I have four dogs, two cats and a frog. Well, the family has all that. I am just living under the same roof. I have my dog, and my dog has three doggie roommates, and two kitty roommates, and a frog that kind of just waits for his weekly feeding of 25 unsuspecting crickets. But I love them all.
I also love the deer, the ducks, the geese and even the fish I spend countless hours pursuing. Although those big balls of feathers called turkey never play nice with me during April and May, I love them too.
Would it be ethical for me to allow an overpopulation of deer, which would destroy and devour cover vegetation that protects quail and other wild fowl and beasts? No. That is how wildlife and resource conservation came about. There is a balance the world needs, and nature sometimes cannot completely control that balance.
There are those that argue nature can balance things out, but if that were the case, we would never have had extinctions before humans. Dinosaurs could be found in places other than museums and the big screen.
Yes, I believe in treating animals ethically. However, I may have to reconsider becoming a member of PETA. PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. If I consider cows and deer vegetables, and I eat them, I may be considered a vegetable now. I guess I will join VETA instead.

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