Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cleaning Out My Life

So what to do with the beautiful leather bag that my mother brought from Argentina years ago? The leather sneakers? The already-bought Boric Acid? The leather-bound journals? My leather watch band? The fact that my boyfriend eats meat and we have frozen fish in our freezer? The fact that we have two carnivorous dogs, whom we feed strictly raw meat? Can I buy anything, ever again, without intense research concerning its manufacturing and ingredients?

Ok, so I'll try to answer some of these. Maybe all.

The Argentinean bag? Normally I think I would say keep it, don't waste a perfectly good bag (obviously, don't buy any more leather, or accept leather gifts) but I'm adamant about not wasting and I don't think throwing it out would be the best idea. A problem I do encounter with it is that I've become hyper-aware of the feeling of the leather on my skin and I don't like it. Maybe I'll find someone to whom I can gift it . . . I have another bag, made mostly of nylon and cotton that's much larger than this leather bag and has a stomach strap so that the weight is distributed off of my shoulders. It's also got a special laptop sleeve inside, so I think I'm going to go with that one.

Leather sneakers. I think these will just get worn until they're worn out. And replaced with a non-leather option.

Boric Acid. I'm generally against killing insects, I usually try to trap them and release them outside of our apartment, but unfortunately my boyfriend is not of the same mind-frame, at all. Instead, I will do my part to evacuate whatever roaches I do find and compromise. The Boric Acid is actually not harmful to humans or pets unless ingested in quantities so large you'd have to have a death wish. Boric Acid study WARNING: This is the site I was writing about before that details the lab testing done on animals, be warned.

Leather-bound Journals. I have one huge black journal that is leather-bound, but soon to be finished, so it's not so much of a problem. The main problem is a journal cover that my mother gifted to me. It's beautiful, with Egyptian Hieroglyphs on the front in gold and it fits a scheduler that I use. I've used it over and over for a long time. I think that if I can find an appropriate journal cover I may gift this along with the Argentinean bag. I do, however, have some journals that I bought at Animal Rescue Site Store that are actually made in Southern India where a large part of the population is Sikh and vegetarian so they do not kill animals there. The journals, among other products, are made from the skins of animals that died of natural causes. This is, of course, still a type of exploitation of the animals, but a far cry from what goes on in the U.S. I don't think that I will buy anymore, simply because I want to distance myself from leather, but it's nice to know that there is an option for those who would like to explore it.

Watch band. I can get it changed very easily. It's old and beat up and probably needs a change anyway.

Carnivorous boyfriend. He's actually amazingly good about my non-meat habits and though I won't cook him a meat or fish dish, I don't think I mind that we have it in the freezer. If it'll help get his cholesterol down, all I can ask is for smarter choices.

Now for the dogs. For the past two years or so I've been sucked into the raw food for dogs mindset and I'm not sure that I can get myself out of it. For me, I know that meat in non-essential, so there is no harm in eating smartly and staying healthy. Dogs, on the other hand, are domesticated wolves. Wolves don't eat grass (well, they do sometimes, but it's definitely not a staple of their diet) and I cannot lie to myself and say that anything but a raw food diet will be healthy for my dog. Once I admit to myself that this is the scenario with which I am dealing, I have to make steps to make it the most humane raw meat diet that I can muster. At first I fed my dog mainly Murray's chicken. Murray's has an excellent reputation and even has farm tracking numbers on every chicken so you can see the family that raised the chicken you bought. It worked for a while, until my pockets started to get really, really light. Murray's chickens are about $10 a chicken. For my little poodle, it's not so bad, a whole chicken will last him a long time, but my boyfriend has a larger dog who eats a whole lot more, and it's not the most economically viable choice, but much better than going to the butcher. I then found the Yahoo! Groups site Raw Feeding on raw feeding. From there I got onto the Carnivore Supplier site, Carnivore Feed Supplier and posted a message regarding my need for locally sourced, pasture-raised meat in the NYC area. I found a wonderful woman, Donna, who gets me a great variety of meat, for my dog's nutrition, and the animals are raised on a variety of small farms, all pasture-raised. Her prices are manageable, too.

I would prefer if I didn't need to support a system, even the small farm system, that exploits and eventually kills animals, but in light of keeping my dog healthy and happy, it's something that I've realized I am willing to do. Ethically, I am in the midst of a conundrum. Is my dog on a morally elevated plane to the cows, sheep, chickens, buffalo, ducks, and turkeys that are killed for his benefit? No, but for me, I have an emotional attachment to him and the truth is that I don't see the animals that are killed for him. At the same time, if humans didn't intervene in nature the way we have, and he was still a wolf, he'd be killing his own deer and elk and the like. It's an argument that floats through my mind often. I've always had dogs in my life and I love having him with me, but if I cannot figure out this argument to sufficiently put my mind at ease, I don't know if I will have another dog after him.

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