By Subba Rao
A cow named Moe, Polly, a Berkshire hog, and Fowler, a hen were attending a conference of animal recyclers. They arrived at the convention center enthusiastically to learn on all four or two legs, how the animal recycling business is conducted.
At the registration desk, Moe for the first time met with Polly and Fowler.
“Hi, I am from Wisconsin and you are from?” asked Moe, a Holstein cow.
“I am from Rhode Island,” replied Fowler, the brown hen.
“And, I am from Iowa,” said, Polly the Pig.
The convention center is several thousand square feet, and full of exhibits and booths managed by people from meat, animal rendering and feed industry.
Polly walked slowly along side Moe, a black and white Holstein, and Fowler walked fast to keep pace with his two new friends.
“Look, at that white Ongole bull from India. The Ongoles are lean animals known for their strength to pull farm equipment,” said Moe, and exchanged few courtesy words with the Ongole bull while he walked pass him.
“I bet the Ongoles could have been well suited to pull the wagons on the Oregon trail,” commented Fowler looking at the Ongole with respect.
The three friends then entered Jersey cow arena, a guy handed over a pamphlet comparing milk production of Jersey cows with Holsteins. “Rubbish, we give more milk than Jersey cows any time, besides their brown hair coat is boring.” “I would rather prefer Brahman, a white sacred cow from India. I envy those holy cows of India, I wish I was born there to escape slaughter here as you know Hindus don’t slaughter cattle as they consider them sacred,” Moe tried to impart her worldly knowledge on Polly and Fowler.
Weighing just around 400 pounds, Polly was slow in moving. She did not appreciate the fact that some people particularly the English use derogatory expression “you bloody swine,” or the American slang “you pig.”
“People bad mouth us for cussing each other, and yet pay hefty price for mouth watering juicy pork chops, rack of ribs, or Jamaican jerk pork and Hawaiian whole pig roast,” fumed Polly walking with dangling overweight belly. Fowler and Moe totally agreed with Polly.
Outside the conference arena, a group of people staged a protest march for humane treatment of animals while transporting them to slaughterhouses. “Just imagine the hypocrisy, humane treatment before slaughter. If people were really humane, they should let us go free into wilderness, we would join our brethren, the wild boar,” Polly snorted wiggling her short tail.
Polly came across a potbellied pig, a new breed of pig that spends more time indoors as a household pet like dog or a cat. “Lucky you,” Polly threw a jealous smile at the pot belly pig. “A pig can never be a pet, more we were fed, more weight we gain, and at the end, the owners would dump us at a humane society or animal orphanage center,” “we are only good for making bacon.” “People value us for our bellies and ribs, some people eat chittlins, a fancy name for our guts as if they don’t want to leave anything to waste.” “In Hawaii, we are buried in full body in a hole full of hot volcanic rocks to roast for full twelve hours.” “From a pet to bacon to whole body roast, a full circle of life to a rotund body of ours.” Polly’s thoughts went wary as she walked pass Hampshire black hog with a white belt from Scotland.
“I am with you Polly, how many people know that our guts are also cooked for several hours, and served as tripe, an expensive delicacy.” “Kids have no idea that our hooves are important in making jello powder,” said Moe looking at booth advertising colored jello products.
“Do you know, your skin is deep fried, and sold as pork rinds in grocery stores around the country?” informed Moe.
“No, I don’t.” “People leave nothing to waste. I know my hide is not tough enough to make shoes or garments but never expected that it is deep fried to munch on it,” expressed Polly looking at her own skin.
“My small gizzards were not spared either, people relish my gizzards deep fried,” complained Fowler, the Rhode Island Red hen. Fowler looked at the swarm of white leghorns walking up and down in the poultry section. Fowler never particularly liked white leghorns. “There are too many flooding the market with cheap meat and eggs; we the browns may not taste different but at least we look different; how many brown eggs are sold in super markets?” asked Fowler tiptoeing on polished floor.
The three friends then entered the meat industry arena. In the poultry section, Fowler was amazed to see the wide variety of choices available to people to choose from. Chicken legs are sold as drum sticks. Thighs are sold as red meat and breast is sold as white meat. A contrast of colors within the bird itself. She wondered what was left of a chicken as inedible - perhaps feathers, beak and feet?
“To tell you the truth, I am glad these days we are put to sleep painlessly by gas,” “I understand in old days either our necks were ringed, slashed or chopped and thrown into hot water to die slowly,” Fowler consoled herself loudly.
“Well, we too are better off now,” said Moe and Polly. “Nowadays we are knocked off unconscious by electric shock before our necks are chopped off.” “We were told that in old days we were killed in grotesque manner for our meat,” Polly and Moe left the meat arena in a hurry.
When the three friends entered animal feed arena, they received free samples to taste along with pamphlets. A pamphlet hand over to Fowler read as follows: High protein pure feather meal. No beaks or legs are included. Clean Feathers are hydrolyzed and the pulp is dried to maintain its storage quality. Feed your chicken with high protein feather meal and reap the profits quick. Minimum Protein value of 70% guaranteed.
Fowler was dumbfounded to learn that she was regularly fed on a meal made from chicken feathers. “As people pronounce at their cremation “dust to dust”, shall we have to declare “feathers to feathers,” asked herself. She threw away with disgust the feather meal sample handed to her by a crafty salesman.
“Listen to this, Fowler, the meat and bone meal sample was made from cooking our body parts in animal rendering factories across the country.” “We are practically eating ourselves to death.” “The pamphlet says all our inedible parts are crushed, cooked and dried to make a fine high protein meal to feed cattle and hogs like us.” “Is it not something?” “Shall we have to declare -meat to meat meal - at the time of our slaughter,” Polly and Moe were saddened to learn their fate after their death.
“People were forcing us to be cannibals or shall we say annibals.” “They are using us as Perfect Recyclers by feeding us with our own meat, bones and blood,” declared Moe and Polly, and feathers added Fowler. “We want to eat fodder and grain not our processed body parts”. “Our body parts shall be composted to spread on land to grow grains and fodder to feed us.” “Just like humans, we come from dust to return to dust – not from feathers to feathers or meat to meat meal or bone meal,” declared the sad animals.
The three friends decided to speak out loud in their respective communities on returning home to stop munching on feed made from their own body parts in the name of animal recycling. They marched out of the convention center shouting a slogan “we want to be fed with feed from land not from rendering plant.”
On the way back home, Fowler made up the following poem with the title “A perfect Recycler” to share with fellow birds on returning home.
A Perfect Recycler
Oh feathers, my beautiful feathers,
I didn’t know you would end up as my feed.
Feathers to feathers, what a perfect recycler I am.
Moe and Polly together drafted the following poem with a title, “Dust to Dust”.
Dust to Dust
Our guts and bones cooked into
meat and bone meal,
a good fertilizer,
but not our daily ration.
Guts to dirt,
but not into our guts.
Moe, Polly and Fowler decided to keep in touch to campaign against recycling animal parts to produce animal feed and promote grain and fodder as animal feed.
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