In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist

What Do You Think of the Gulf Catastrophe? You Ask

I’ll tell you what I think of it, but do not read the rest of this unless you don’t mind reading the real horror that goes on in my mind when I hear of things like this. I am particularly sensitive to such events, especially when they involve animals, and even insects. I can no longer read the news or watch anything about it on television, nor can I listen to the radio at night.

When my family first moved to Wyoming over 75 years ago, the country was enduring a drought far worse than the present one. While our home was being built, we rented an old home halfway up the mountains, and used kerosene lanterns for light, sitting in large bowls of water to drown the moths.

We had a terrible plague of grasshoppers, and another of mormon crickets. The latter would come over a hill, and the hill would become black as they approached. One of the main methods of dealing with these was by digging trenches which they could fall into but could not get out of. Then gasoline was poured over them and they were burned alive.

One story was of a rancher whose horse broke a leg and fell on top of him. The rancher managed to shoot his horse and started to cut him in half, but he, too, died before he could get free and before they were found.

The cruelty of rodeos is horrible. One horse broke a leg and died due to an act of mercy. He was shot in the head after breaking his leg, a rope placed around his neck, and he was dragged from the center of the corral. But he still was not dead and suffered terribly from the dragging, and he had to be shot again. All part of the entertainment of those days—as well as these.

My father backed out of our garage one day and ran over my favorite dog. To this day, I cannot bear to be in a car being greeted or wagged goodbye to without thinking of that incident and worrying.

One of our beagles got left by accident in a basement food closet, and was not found until some time later, when he was dead, having eaten everything he could find and before anyone realized he was missing.

One of our horses got her foot tangled in a role of old wire in a field, where she was found several days later, dead, with her foot nearly torn off from trying to get free.

But probably the worst for me was a picture in the famous book by Upton Sinclair, The Jungle, about the horrors of the Chicago stock yards. I remember seeing a copy of the book lying on a table at the library where I was a librarian, exposing a picture of a hog strapped in chains to the moving ramp carrying him up to his death, the most horrifying expression of fear and helplessness I have ever seen on any living animal, human or otherwise.

By and large, the human tends to be the only evil—or at least utterly selfish animal. Strange dichotomy between us and the “lower” species.

These memories have stayed with me for 80 years. Now you know how I
feel about the Gulf of Mexico, where suffering business and lifestyle far outweigh the suffering slow death of animals. Sorry to pour this onto those of you who have gone ahead and read it. These memories have been so close to the surface of my mind, that any new addition just brings it all up.

P.S. I sit here at my keyboard garnering your sympathy and admiration as I say these things—I, a meat-eating animal all of my life. What a fraud I am!
As long as I can’t see what goes on, I eat meat like a glutton!

I truly apologize to all animal life which I have betrayed in this fashion, and I swear from this day on never to eat meat of any sort again!