Let me begin by telling you a story from my childhood.
From age eight to nearly seventeen I lived in a small town and attended Farnham Elementary School in the Eastern Townships, Quebec, Canada. The teachers taught grades one to eight with two grades in every class. I loved the school and most of the teachers and delighted in the once a year Science Fair, even though I am not at all science oriented. Science was the name given to a fair that covered all areas of education, so any project chosen was usually okay. I can’t for the life of me remember what any of my projects were (littlest sister would probably know), but I do recall one of my brother’s projects.
School was not my brother G.’s favorite place to be and so when it came time for the Science Fair, he struggled with picking a project that might interest him. He just did not want to participate and I don’t think he was given the option not to submit anything. I am not sure how it came about, but someone in the family came up with the idea of a poster about muskrats. We are talking about dead muskrats, specifically their pelts. You see, my brother had a 12 gauge shotgun and used it at the family place of business ( a marsh farm) to hunt, to shoot and to kill muskrats. At the time, I thought it was normal that my brother should have a shotgun at such a young age-maybe 12 or 13 and that he should hunt muskrats for pleasure. I was happy for him that he had a hobby that he really enjoyed and at which he excelled.
The project idea was that my brother would hunt, then kill, then skin, then cure the muskrats, then display them for all to see. Along with this display would be included a description of skinning and curing muskrat pelts (euphemism for the skin and fur of dead nonhuman animals). No doubt my mother helped out with the written part of the project. She always helped us out.
I remember my brother being pretty proud of the finished product, so he grudgingly agreed to go to the Science Fair to stand beside his work and to answer questions if they came up. There was a great deal of interest surrounding this display of dead muskrats nailed to a piece of plywood. But that is not all there was. There was also a distinct, unpleasant smell wafting up from the skins of these poor beings. It was the smell of death, the smell of improperly cured pelts. All of a sudden, parents and children alike were avoiding my brother’s project and the growing space around him and his project was becoming increasingly embarrassing. Pride quickly turned to shame and I remember my brother gathering up his work and heading out the door, with my mom quietly supporting him.
Once home, he refused to go back. He was angry, understandably so, at having been forced to participate in the first place. But then, one of us came up with the bright idea of annihilating (covering up) the smell of putrefying flesh. What about my mother’s Chanel #5 perfume? We thought that if we doused the skins with enough perfume, they would be acceptable to the masses for the remaining two days of the fair. My mother immediately deemed the cause worthy of the sacrifice of her expensive perfume. We laughed as we completed our mission.
I am happy to say that the next evening the project passed the nose test, even though the smell of Chanel was, shall we say, a tad overpowering. Interested people once again surrounded the table where G’s project was displayed and he stood there proudly, his hobby and his efforts vindicated.
This story became a happy part of our family lore and it was told on many occasions to family members and friends alike. Truthfully, I have not thought about it in quite a few years, but it came back to me as I sat down to write a post about fur farming in Canada.
You may recall that I recently posted about an undercover operation that cited the barbaric treatment of foxes and minks at a fur farm in Quebec. Sometime later, many of the unfortunate residents of this farm were released, no doubt by a nonhuman animal advocate frustrated at the lack of protective action taken by the Canadian Government. Now comes word that the negligent owner is facing 6 charges of cruelty against the non humans he is incarcerating and mistreating for their fur. Astonishingly, the government has chosen not to rescue these beings from the nightmare in which they live.
According to news reports, these charges are the first of their kind to be levied in Canada. Where they will lead, I have no idea. I presume, like many others, that this is a good first step in the cause of nonhuman animal rights and agency over their own lives. But, and this is a big but, the foxes and minks are still living in deplorable conditions, destined for death and out of the reach of help from those of us who care. In my book, their rescue is the first thing that needed to happen. The farmer would have lost his means of livelihood, as well as received a powerful message about his unconscionable conduct. I hope that this still will take place.
Annie’s Vegan View
Indoctrination begins at birth and is a process by which we learn and absorb our culture and its rules.
Children should not be taught , whatever the reason, that using non human beings for our own purposes is okay.
Using kindness and compassion when we show our children the way, is the way!
Choose veganism for all beings, for yourselves, for your children and grandchildren and the generations to come.
May all beings be happy and free.