My daughter with her four children is at the moment visiting friends in CA. I was slightly in shock when she mentioned that a new addition was being made to the family.

It was with great relief that I learned that the new family arrival, Ollie, is a 1 LB LAP DOG (MALTESE) WHO NEVER MAKES A SOUND. My grand daughter had eagerly wanted a dog — the family has only a hamster now.

The possible catch here is that the last dog the family had some years ago became ours when a new residence in a another state turned out not to permit pets. I will admit that we became very attached to her and missed her when she finally had to be put away due to a painful illness.

Personally I grew up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, but also two lambs and a pig. It was WW II and the two latter additions were supposed to provide food eventually. But Betsy and Butch became family pets who mowed our lawns as did Tiny, our pig and general garbage disposal unit. Tiny was picked up by my father when he noticed a burlap bag bouncing around on the side of the road. Tiny had probably fallen off a truck.

It was interesting to learn that our farm animals vary tremendously in intelligence. Tiny was by far ahead of the rest and a real friend to us as well. Needless to say, he did not become our bacon. We eventually returned our proposed meals back to the professionals.

With farming having become largely a cruel corporate operation, I wonder how many kids have direct contact now with more than the small dogs that we see in our neighborhood or the cats that my other daughter has.

I fear a great loss with the decline of family farming in this country. Animals now appear on a plate or in a bun. And those are not always so healthy.

One of the major beef suppliers to our schools, McDonald’s etc. has been mixing ammonia into its beef so that it can make a few more bucks selling the scraps that tend to carry infections. Apparently the process does not work very well either:

Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned – NYTimes.com
Dec 31, 2009 … A Beef Products Inc. processing plant in South Sioux City, Neb. The company injects fatty beef trimmings with ammonia to remove E. coli and …

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/us/31meat.html

Perhaps it is time to become a vegetarian?

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent [blind copies]

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