Oct 20 2011

Spinster aunt has a cow

1/7Franny, Spinster HQ’s yella lab, started barking her face off the way she usually does whenever there is a 2500 pound mammal on the porch, and sure enough. When I sidled over to the front door, there was no denying it: there was definitely a black Angus cow studying the doorknob.

Let it be known that Spinster HQ, a wholly meat-free enterprise, does not keep beef cattle on purpose. Hence my momentary surprise at seeing one on the stoop. The black Angus cow to whom I allude, along with what I would eventually discover were 7 of her cohorts, had broken through a fence, having found inhospitable the conditions on the other side, and had naturally gravitated to the food-filled, furry woodland creature-infested vegetarian oasis of fun that is the barnyard at El Rancho Deluxe.

I poked my head out the door, determined that this porch-sitting cow was but e pluribus unum, and forced myself to accept that, although I’d had big plans to biff around photographing Bewick’s wrens all afternoon, the day was shot. No two ways about it, I would have to devote the rest of my waking hours, until the cows came home, to getting those cows to go home.

Sure, cows are cute with their floppy ears and their placid cud-chewing, but they are the size of Volkswagens, and they destroy. Already I could detect a massive dumpage of cow shit, which smells frakkin awful, around and about the bunkhouse. My horses were flipping the fuck out because they are the sort of delicate Arabians who think cattle are venomous saber-toothed T. rexes. What little grass I had left after this insane drought was rapidly disappearing into the cows’ four stomachs (multiplied by 8 cows, and that’s 32 flippin’ stomachs!). And omigod, you wouldn’t believe the flies with which these miserable creatures were plagued, or the alacrity with which the flies saw fit to transfer themselves to my equine population. And to top it off one of the cows was displaying a disconcerting interest in the cee-ment pond. I thought, shit, I have no crane. How the fuck do you get a cow out of a pool without a crane?

Fortunately for spinster aunts who don’t keep cowboys and cutting horses on staff, cattle who haven’t seen green grass in six months will trot to the ends of the earth for a bag of cattle cubes. I sent my ranch hand Chuck to the feed store for a bag of same. Then I jumped in the back of the pickup with the cubes, exhorted Chuck to aim at the front gate at a slow but steady pace, and rattled the feed bag like mad. The cows heeded the siren call and followed the truck. In this manner we lured’em a mile up the road and turned’em loose on the range whence they came.

I mention all this because cattle are amiable, forbearing creatures with pleasant demeanors, trusting and easily fooled. It is unfair and mean to butcher them.

Don’t eat beef.

Although they will trample you if you get between them and a bag of cow cubes. Which are made from assorted chemicals. Franny ate a couple of’em and puked.


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  1. Pinko Punko

    Sadly, in cattle-speak, they may have been applying for asylum!

  2. Kea

    Beef, yummy.

  3. Embee

    “Focus ladies!” that was hilarious. Glad you are bovine-free. Cows are rather compelling for the reasons you describe, but the flies! The video showed they were swarming with them – ugh.

  4. Mortisha

    Your horses are scared of cows? In Texas!

    The last retired racehorse I got was terrified of goats at first. Of course it didn’t help that the first one she saw when coming off the truck was a mischievous one trying to get to the blades of grass in the middle of a roll of fencing mesh.

    Cue goat in the middle of fencing mesh rolling down the hill toward us and picking up speed until in crashed into the truck. We were all a little stunned that day.

    Now all she just does is that beautiful mare face of a disdainfully crinkled nose and slightly raise back foot should one of those smelly farm animals come near. They understand the language.

  5. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Gee, thanks for the all-expenses-paid guilt trip.

    Speaking of cute but intrusive animals, another one a my neighbor’s kittens decided she’d like to live chez Niebieszczanski. In an icy, 40-degree wind-driven rain, she darted in my back door as I was leaving for work this morning. I need another kitten like I need a case a crotch crustaceans, but did not have the heart to put her back outside in the cold rain. So guess who’s going to the pet store for a sack a kitten formula at lunch today? What a sucker.

  6. speedbudget

    I have had numerous experiences near or with cows, and I must concur. They are dirty creatures. I have never seen an animal so content to lay around in its liquid fecal matter.

    That said, they really are lovely, demeanor wise. Just a bunch of rather slow-witted yet gregarious clods, they are.

  7. ewige

    Hear, hear.

    Haven’t had meat in 14 years, still can’t quite get rid of dairy, though. And them hens’ eggs. Sigh.

    I blame the gelato (and the patriarchy).

  8. allhellsloose

    My mum once had a cow rampage in her garden and the damage was considerable. They are as big as a volkswagen!

  9. Comrade PhysioProf

    That was a very clever plan to get rid of them. But couldn’t you have called the cows’ owner and said, “Yo, motherfucker! Get your fucken cows off my ranch!”?

  10. Jill

    Alas, Comrade, it is not always that simple. For one thing, the owner of these particular cows is in absentia. I don’t know his name or his phone number. For all I know he lives in Vladivostok. For another thing, according to Texas cattle ranchin’ statutes or tradition or laws or whatever, the default condition of Texas range land is “cattle – yes.” If some spinster aunt from the city wants cows kept off her personal porch, she can feel free to fence the joint off, but don’t come cryin to the cattlemen if they show up anyway.

    A couple of years ago I had a similar incursion and couldn’t get rid of the cows for the whole summer. I’d chase’em out but they’d come right back through this spot near the creek where it’s really hard to keep a fence up. I figured their owner was in no hurry to reclaim them because they were getting fed for free at my place. After they’d eaten every blade of grass on the whole farm I got kinda steamed. I put out flyers announcing that I had found these cattle and would be sending them to auction in 7 days if nobody claimed them. Within two hours a pair of ranchers appeared with a stock trailer and cow panels, and I never saw any of them again. Not so much as a “thanks for feeding my cattle for 3 months.” He didn’t even offer me the calves, which I was legally entitled to keep since they were born on my place. What a dick.

  11. Jill

    Also, I am the world’s leading expert on cattle, and you can take if from me that they don’t enjoy lying in their own filth. They only do this when they’re confined and can’t get away from their own filth.

  12. pheenobarbidoll

    The corgi would have lost his shit. He’s already had to be rescued from a very large bull Elk. Cows are smaller than Elk, there’s no doubt the corgi would take that as a sign he could win. He has a high herding instinct but no training, so his idea of herding is to make a mad dash for the nearest bovine leg and chomp. Or bark insanely until whatever poor creature he’s barking at can no longer resist the urge to SMASH CORGI. Which takes all of 2 second to decide.

    The catahoula would be attached to the nearest cow face, or have on in a corner baying at it.

    The enormous already 60lb 6 month old mastiff/bloodhound would have run away in terror.

    It would have required 4 people to return the cows. 3 of them just to tend to the dogs.

  13. The Nerd

    It is really difficult to be vegetarian/vegan on a mediocre wage without a stay-at-home unpaid laborer. I have successfully abstained from meat for a year, but at the cost of increased time spent on food preparation or increased grocery expense to save on time. The market simply isn’t set up to support a sufficiently healthy animal-free lifestyle for everyone. Yet another reason to blame the patriarchy.

  14. Strigophilia

    There is pretty much no animal in the world that actually prefers to lay in their own filth. It’s an artifact of poor husbandry and inappropriate housing. Though that meaning of the word “husbandry” is ironic in this context.

  15. Nepenthe


    Funny, the exact same thing happened to me this morning when I went out to feed Stray Cat.

    I like the smell of cow manure. It reminds me of home.

  16. ElizaN

    Even with thick hides, those flies must be horrible. Poor cows.

  17. josquin

    Now that video clip was just adorable, and funny. Yes, it was!

    So glad that the “lying in their own filth” comment was corrected. There are so many things that creatures on this earth have been said to “enjoy” as an attempt to explain their inferior status: lying in feces, being a house slave in the Confederate South, getting breast implants, wearing high heels – list goes on and on. Yes, it does.

  18. AlienNumber

    While I – personally and very apologetically – found the ending a wee anticlimatic (but really in a way quite funny), the story was such a pleasure to read. Thank you.
    Made me miss my days in the countryside, when sometimes my grandmother would ask me to go around with the family cow (faintly connected to me by a frail string), so she (the cow) could feed herself, but not on the neighbors’ grass.

    There is really nothing more pastoral than watching a cow graze in between turning the pages of Tess D’Urbervilles (or some other novel about social climbing, or lack thereof).
    Gosh, I love cows, they are such gentle beautiful creatures.

    To bring this back to feminism somehow: I find that cows, like women, are caught in this demented madonna/whore dichotomy – i.e. holy cows/food (but first forced to live in its own tortured filth) dichotomy. So, of course, any true feminist will also fight for the liberation of cows. Revolution!

  19. AlienNumber

    And by “a novel about social climbing” I mean “a tragic novel about the rape and destruction of a young girl.”

  20. Shopstewardess

    I’m fairly sure that both cattle and sheep, like pigs, have far more brains than are required for the job they do.

    But then that is true for a lot of humans, too, especially female humans.

  21. yttik

    “I like the smell of cow manure.”

    So do some cows! And dogs!

    “you can take if from me that they don’t enjoy lying in their own filth…”

    That’s a human perception filled with human biases. One persons “filth” can be an animals pee-mail, their way of communicating. It is humans who have weird hang ups about poop, not animals. Many animals do enjoy actually sniffing the stuff, rolling in it, leaving it as a message for others. Needless to say, nothing likes being trapped in filth, but it’s pretty judgmental to either call the cows stupid or to imply that they all want to live up to human standards of sanitation.

  22. amrit

    It was open range territory on the reservation where I used to work. My commute (in an ancient unreliable car) made scary for the lack of cell phone towers, was harrowing due to the periodic incursion of cattle onto the roadway. I used to swerve to avoid hitting them and end up on the shoulder, hyperventilating. Usually, there was a vulture perched on a pole overhead for added color.

    My favorite part was that, once I was on the reservation, if I forgot to roll up (yes, roll up) my window, the cows would eat my lunch from the car. Sometimes, they would follow me to the court house. I must have been an easy mark. I never thought they were stupid. Their ability to survive on almost nothing was remarkable. I cannot imagine eating beef again.

  23. Vera

    Lovely video! Count me another blamer reminded of her youth. Many were the days when my sister and I couldn’t walk down the long driveway to catch the school bus because there were cows, or a bull, or a pig, in the yard. We were surrounded by ’em. I had a pet cow named Jingle. It was a short-lived relationship, but I remember her to this day.

  24. Greenconsciousness

    Holy Cow – Hathor thanks you Jill.

    I am so torn about the flies – I think I would coat cows and horses with something to kill flies even if it was a pesticide. Yes, I think I would. I am not pure about insects that spread illness and bite and such. Of course, I hate the whole cow industry.

  25. josquin

    Yttik: I still disagree about the poop. Although dogs and whatnot may like to sniff it and roll in it, they typically don’t roll in their own poop but rather others’, to disguise their scent. It’s more of an investigation into the competition or a personal disguise. No dog will choose to lie down in their own poop to rest. Heck, my guinea pigs, sweet little dimwits that they are, carefully pile their poop in a corner of the cage and sleep or rest as far away from it as they can.

  26. yttik

    No seriously, it bothers me when we don’t allow animals to just be animals. Greenconciousness wants to bath the cows in pesticide for goodness sakes. Stop it already! Rabbits, hamsters for example, need to eat their own poop, they absorb needed vitamins by giving it a second pass. Animals have enough problems to deal with without people imposing their own value systems upon them.

  27. Strigophilia

    How is it “imposing our own value system” to observe that animals given sufficient space do not choose to live in their feces and urine?

    Rabbits don’t *live* in their feces; they do eat the first pass to finish digestion, but they don’t live in the final excretion either.

    There are quite excellent health reasons why neither we nor any other animal will choose to be near its feces as a general rule.

  28. Jezebella

    Really, Kea, that’s what you have to say? You know what, “Beef, yummy” looks like to me: an obnoxious carnivore who just can’t stand it for a minute that other people are grossed out be eating beef. It’s like all of those “mmmm, bacon” people, and the people that like to tell me how much they effing LOVE SO MANY KINDS OF MEAT OMG the minute they hear I don’t eat it. Why?? Why do you all insist on doing that? It’s gross, and you know we think it’s gross, and yet you keep doing it. So frickin aggravaiting. Is it fun to gross us out? Are you twelve years old? Seriously. I’ve had it up to here with people who can’t shut up about how much they love to eat dead animals, I tell you whut.

  29. Doctress Julia

    Great video…your life is much more adventurous than mine…

    I am trying very hard to stop eating meat- I don’t eat chickens or pigs, but I am still trying to phase out the beef habit. This post and video helped- they are pretty, aren’t they!

    OK, what’s a good veggie burger- Boca, maybe? I’m going to have to do some research. :9

  30. Sarah

    Jill/Twisty has hereforthwith exhibited the proper use of similies, so that we may all take note and stop abusing the poor literary form. Observe:

    “Cows are the size of Volkswagens.”

    They are not the size of something as pedestrian as a car or bus, oh no! Not even something as fair-to-middling as a four-door sedan, family-size mini-wagon, or hatchback. Neither are they the size of something as weakly constructed, literarily-speaking, and hifalutin’ as an ice cream truck, McDonald’s billboard or something as irritatingly ineffable as “the dreams you had as a young man coming of age in the Deep South.”

    No, you lucky readers. These cows, they are precisely the size of Volkswagens. Which is the perfect cow-size descriptor. That little sentence, (or part of sentence? Does that make it a clause? Not sure there), is second only to the much-lauded “cellar door” bit in its sheer grammatical perfection and literary exaltation. It has taken me to the height of sentence-admiration, and left me floating on a cloud of simile exhilaration. This, along with the blaming of the P, is what keeps me coming back.

  31. Kea

    Jezebella, I have no problem at all with people being vegetarian. I have spent many a day, in my youth, preparing yummy vegetarian meals for family and friends. Why did you jump to that conclusion? My comment was rather a taunt to those vegetarians who would look down upon ME for NOT being a vegetarian. Where I come from, another major meat producing region, people were cannibals until not so long ago. It is very likely that our DNA has retained a need for meat, and I don’t buy the argument that everybody can, naturally, be a vegetarian. As it happens, I eat far, far less meat than I did as a child, mostly due to a lack of funds to purchase it.

  32. Laura

    I am also of the “don’t eat cows” opinion, and the second comment by Kea is the sort that bothers me. Gustatory sensation has absolutely no moral aspect: something can be delicious as all hell, don’t mean one SHOULD or SHOULDN’T eat it.

    Am curious, though- the farmer to which you returned them, surely is a beef farmer? Not that you had the resources, but if I had my druthers, could you not ship them to a farm sanctuary?

  33. Kea

    Laura, and who says Gustatory Sensation is the be all and end all of dietary need? Your concerns, as far as I can see, have no scientific basis.

  34. Laura

    Oh, good, Kea’s commment was, in fact, a “taunt.” Just what is needed. Sigh.

    (I say this as I do wish for all commentariat everywhere to operate with a greater deal of sincerity than is usually the case. To me, snark on the internet is like…flies on cowpatties. Common, uninteresting, distasteful.

  35. Laura


    Did I ever claim to have a scientific stance? I have only a moral one in regards to the eating or not eating of cows.

  36. Haley

    Aw, how lucky they were to wander onto your property…how lucky you were…not so much.

    @ewige – just think about how dairy cows are tied to what the industry calls “rape racks” to forcibly impregnate them…and then have their babies taken away to be turned into veal…it may help saying no to gelato.

  37. Ms.CrazyPants

    I’m quite partial to farm animals having grown up in a farming community. I really want an oreo cow some day: http://www.google.com/search?q=oreo+cow&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=gpN&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=oeahToXZMaaEsgL7zdShBQ&ved=0CEIQsAQ&biw=993&bih=547. I don’t know why. I’m just fascinated by them. I’d love a little farm with some chickens, an oreo cow, a few goats, turkeys, geese, tons of kitties, and iguanas (ok, a farm in a warm area). I don’t know if I could actually butcher any of my own critters though, so they’d be long lived animals as I get any meat from someone else’s farm. Maybe with enough land I’d actually keep a decent sized garden. I don’t have any sunlight to grow a garden where I’m at, without just taking up the tiny center of my yard.

  38. pheenobarbidoll

    “Not that you had the resources, but if I had my druthers, could you not ship them to a farm sanctuary?”

    Sure, if she wanted to go to jail for theft.

  39. Other Liz

    Sarah, utter agreement, plus: of all the way the phrase “there was definitely a black angus cow” could have ended, “… studying the doorknob” was both unexpected and created a precise image at the same time. I just love it.

  40. Other Liz

    I have also had a dozen black angus on my property. They came for the water, wandering in at dusk like they’d been doing it for years. When I tried to encourage them out in my flailing amateur way, they got a whiff of sillies and scattered about the place like huge rectangular puppies. One got into the shed, and all I could hear was clanging.

    Eventually I tracked down the owner via a series of phone calls (“G’day mate, what’s a black angus worth at market?” “$800. Why?” “Because I have twelve. Want to go me halves?”, and he came over on a dirt-bike with one of those fabulous smart cattle-dogs on the back. They walked home, calm as can be.

    I don’t eat them either, but I do mix freshly laid meadow muffins with mud to make a fabulous water-resistant render. The smell grows on you. First day you wear thick rubber gloves and wash the equipment three times. By the final day you’re sniffing the cow pats for freshness and smearing it on the wall like an inmate.

  41. Saurs

    Your concerns, as far as I can see, have no scientific basis.

    What a strange non-sequitur.

  42. josquin

    Other Liz: What is a render? I like the image of the “rectangular puppies”.

  43. The Subversive Librarian

    When we first moved onto the rez we lived in somebody’s trailer. It was fenced, and there were cattle wandering around outside the fence. I thought it would be quaint to have the cows inside the fence so I left the gate open. I soon discovered why that’s not such a good thing. They were sweet, though, and I’m with you — I think cows deserve better.

  44. Helen

    Because I’m a nitpicker, sorry: The cow in the still photo at the top of the blog appears to be a bull. Or steer. Also, as a resident of SE Australia where black Angus is the default beef cattle breed, those critters are a cross between Angus and Santa Gertrudis or something similar – Anguses don’t have those big down-flopping ears and they are chunky rather than rangy.
    But from the Wikipedia page it appears to me that our Anguses are closer to the Scottish ones pictured. I would not be surprised if the Texan angus had one of the abovementioned breeds mixed in for the same reason they do it in Northern Australia – able to survive in more droughty conditions.
    This post reminds me of this story.

    “Mr. Eshley,” said Adela in a shaking voice, “I asked you to drive that beast out of my garden, but I did not ask you to drive it into my house. If I must have it anywhere on the premises I prefer the garden to the morning-room.”

  45. Other Liz

    Saurs – sorry!

    Josquin – it is the flat smooth outer sheath of a building, which protects it from weather. On a mud building, it is made of mud. On a brick building, usually concrete. Cow poo will make a mud render water-resistant. Not sure why. Something to do with enzymes and finely munched grass.

  46. coffee yogurt

    My husband’s family owns a few cows. I love to watch them lumber along. Slow and easy. Eating grass all the day long. The life of a cow looks pretty good. And I love the way they watch we humans when we trespass on their turf. They look so curious and interestd.

    But…I still eat beef. Sigh. Not very often but still. You either do or you don’t eat meat and I do.

  47. Kea

    Laura, OK, I can understand the moral stance. What I object to is a condescending, critical tone towards people with a DIFFERENT set of morals. To me, that sounds a lot like, eg. the Christian moral of A Woman Shall Know Her Place. IBTP.

  48. josquin

    Other Liz,

    That seems reasonable. I find cow manure to be pretty innocuous, and now I find it has some real utility, also!

  49. samantha jankis

    “Focus, ladies.” I love it!

    Thank you for sharing your delightful tale.

    It makes me miss living on a farm. *sigh*

  50. Someone Else

    And to top it off one of the cows was displaying a disconcerting interest in the cee-ment pond

    Educate this suburbanite, I beg you. Why do you have a pool of cement?

  51. Jill

    “Because I’m a nitpicker, sorry: The cow in the still photo at the top of the blog appears to be a bull. Or steer”

    Because I never tire of correcting people who mistake a cow’s navel for a weenie, sorry: the animal is a female. She has some Brahman in her, or is possibly a straight Brahman/Angus (“Brangus”) cross (this breeding is common around here), which accounts for the extra skin in her Special Area.

    Here’s a Brangus cow who isn’t half starved to death like my girl 1/7.

  52. Jill

    “Cow poo will make a mud render water-resistant.”

    I don’t doubt this in the least. There is a cow pie out by my mailbox that has been there going on 3 years. I marvel at that thing every day. When we were kids we used to chuck cowpies at each other like Frisbees.

  53. Jill

    “Why do you have a pool of cement?”

    Oh we just like pools of things. Cement. Water. Blood.

  54. tinfoil hattie

    I gotta say. We went out for burgers tonight, at a dudebro-heavy place in Arlington, VA, partly famous because the Dude-in-Chief and the Vice Dude-in-Chief once ate burgers there. The burgers are huge and overpriced, with such toppings as caramelized onions and Danish bleu cheese, or fried “au poivre.”

    The schtick of the joint seems to be: you have to order in a big hurry, and there’s always a wait to order, and good luck finding a table, and please gulp down your food because there are always people waiting for tables.

    I don’t really get it. The burger wasn’t really worth eating. I suppose it was “really good,” but it did not change my life for the better one iota. In fact, I am slowly losing my taste for all things beef and meat. I don’t know if I will ever go all-the-way-vegan, but I am definitely tired of eating flesh.

    Okay, done ruminating. Back to your regularly scheduled blaming.

  55. Jill

    Yttik, I’m not imposing human standards of sanitation on them when I assert that cows don’t enjoy lying in feces. Allow me to share some Spinster HQ Bovine Dept. research with you.

    It is our direct observation that whenever a cow drops a load, the first thing she does is walk away from it. She does not back up and lie down in it. We conclude from this behavior that cows do not like to lie in shit. Perhaps other conclusions based on this walking-away-from-poop data are possible, but I would be very surprised indeed if any of them included the assertion that cows do like to lie in shit.

    Other vertebrates that, according to our direct observation, exhibit similar lying-in-shit-avoidance behavior are: dogs, horses, cats, several species of songbird, several species of freshwater fish, humans, gulf coast toads, and squirrels.

    I have a golden retriever, Bert, who does relish a pile of horse dung. However, he doesn’t lie in it, he eats it. I try to prevent this because of the pathogen load, but whaddya do?

  56. josquin

    Heh. Maybe it’s this evening’s Pisco Sours, but I am just laughing at Jill’s finely argued treatise on shit avoidance. It’s true, and it’s funny. I think there might be a Ph.D. dissertation in there somewhere.

  57. Tigs

    @ Kea:
    “Laura, OK, I can understand the moral stance. What I object to is a condescending, critical tone towards people with a DIFFERENT set of morals. To me, that sounds a lot like, eg. the Christian moral of A Woman Shall Know Her Place. IBTP.”

    My issue with this is that it reduces oppression to aesthetic judgment (ie: I *feel* that misogyny is wrong, thus I condemn it). Rather, I take the position that we can derive relatively solid ethical boundaries from our observation of material reality.
    We might take a few things as axioms: self-determination is good to the extent that it’s possible, not suffering is better than suffering–but even those too are largely derivable from experience.
    Starting from this point we can firmly say that meat consumption–most definitely US meat consumption (though I cannot speak to farming practices in NZ) is profoundly unethical as it is almost unavoidably contingent on an unnecessary excess of suffering of sentient beings.
    Outside of intensely problematic factory farming/slaughtering practices, the lay of the land might be different–but that’s not what Twisty is confronting, nor most US vegetarians.

    This differs from a Xtian moralism, because that moralism is based in a metaphysics grounded in and oriented toward social control—not a materialism.

    If all things are relative, then there’s no reason to be against sexism/racism/heterosexism/ablism/whatever other than it is inconvenient. These are not necessarily analogous complaints.

    Thus your taunting is obnoxious.

  58. Kea

    I take the position that we can derive relatively solid ethical boundaries from our observation of material reality.

    And therein lies YOUR prejudice and discrimination. That is EXACTLY how most of the dudes I know would justify misogyny (and in my world, pretty well everyone is a dude) on the basis that it is ‘unethical’ for women to follow manly pursuits.

    As for moral grounds, I can argue for BOTH sides (veg/non veg) on moral grounds, since I believe a moral person appreciates the natural world, in which the human species is an omnivore. I love animals, and I would like them to be treated better, but domesticated animals were bred by humans and do not exist independently of human purposes. The world is not black and white, but complex. I am a green voter myself, but is it the global cattle population causing environmental disaster, or the global human population? I think the latter, for which IBTP.

    Maybe there will be a day when every human is vegetarian, but at present what I observe is that very few in the patriarchal elite (with which I have some experience) are vegetarian. Why is that? I posit that not all rich people are immoral. Rather, I believe (and I am not imposing my beliefs on you) that the promotion of vegetarianism in YOUR culture, and your resultant dicrimination, is yet another tool of the P, whereby increasingly sparse protein sources are put aside for the upper class. Is it a coincidence that vegetarianism (in modern times) arose in the most classist, misogynist and racist societies? I do not believe so.

  59. Kea

    And of course I often sound obnoxious to you. I am autistic.

  60. Lidon

    It is really difficult to be vegetarian/vegan on a mediocre wage without a stay-at-home unpaid laborer. I have successfully abstained from meat for a year, but at the cost of increased time spent on food preparation or increased grocery expense to save on time. The market simply isn’t set up to support a sufficiently healthy animal-free lifestyle for everyone. Yet another reason to blame the patriarchy.

    What’s with this continuous myth about meat being cheaper? It’s the exact opposite. Unless you’re hunting or fishing, being vegetarian is cheaper. I got a buttload of ALL kinds of vegetarian food at the food bank (you know, FREE) and I get most of my groceries at the 99 Cent Store. Can’t get much cheaper than that. And I don’t spend much time on preparation at all, unless you think making pasta or rice, or cooking vegetables or eggs, requires herculean effort.

    I can see the meat eaters getting defensive again. Don’t worry guys, eating meat is completely main stream (despite medical studies and environmental ramifications) and is really hardly ever challenged so no one is going to take your precious meat away from you. Sheesh.

  61. Kea

    So Lidon, why exactly do you feel it necessary to insult all meat eaters? I am just as poor as you, but I eat some meat, mostly canned, because I feel it is essential to my diet.

  62. Lidon

    I didn’t know “defensive” was considered such an insult. And what I stated was that being vegetarian is cheaper. Are you denying that?

    Anyway, I’ll say it again. No one is going to take your meat away from you. You’re right in with the main stream, and you will safely stay that way. Don’t worry. But if y’all want to flame away, then flame away.

  63. Kea

    It was more the phrase despite medical studies and environmental ramifications that sounded offensive, which it is, because it imposes your moral values on others. And the science does NOT support vegetarianism, in my view as a scientist.

  64. Lidon

    Actually, no. Medical studies have linked red meat to colon cancer, breast cancer, and heart disease. That has NOTHING to do with morality. And if it offends you, well it is offensive.

  65. janna

    Cows are so cute. I don’t have a “favorite animal” like most people, but cows are right up there for me along with my poodle, little garden snakes, and baby rhinos.

  66. Kea

    Lidon, you are just trotting out the common myths. I agree that too much meat is unhealthy. But that is not the same thing as cutting out meat altogther, which actually increases the likelihood of strokes in most people.

  67. Lidon

    Now who’s trotting out the myths?

  68. Lidon

    Oh! I just looked it up and whaddya know, red meat is linked to strokes as well. Thank you for inadvertently expanding my knowledge.

  69. Kea

    There is good reason to suspect that low-fat vegan diets tend to down-regulate systemic IGF-I activity; this effect would be expected to increase stroke risk in vegans.


  70. Kea

    And for vegetarians:
    The link between strokes and vegetarianism was confirmed in a five-year study by Garg and Dr A K Jain, neurologist, Jain Neuro Centre, in two Max hospitals and this Centre. From 2003, 4,680 OPD patients were screened for vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels.

  71. Bonnie

    tinfoil hattie said,

    Okay, done ruminating.

    Ah HA! Nicely done.

  72. Ruby Lou

    I’m guessing from your comment ‘half starved to death like my girl 1/7’ that it’s not just my imagination – these bovine visitors you had are pretty skinny. I also wonder, are these young cattle, not full grown? Are they skinny because of the drought? Do the ranchers give them supplemental feed during drought conditions, or how do they handle it?

  73. Cassandra

    Sometimes it is easy to lose track of the difference between a healthy debate and disrespecting sisters. The P loves a “catfight” and not providing one for its titillation is also a feminist act.

  74. Gayle

    You’re right.

    I’m going to give the veggie thing a go. I already gave up pig- beef is next!

  75. Gayle

    Cows are so massively over produced world wide, the gas they make is actually one of the leading causes of climate change.

    The grain/corn that is used to feed these animals could be used to feed people. Instead, prices skyrocket and poorer people go hungry all over the world as ranchers by up grain to produce meat.

  76. Jill

    “Cows are so massively over produced world wide, the gas they make is actually one of the leading causes of climate change.”

    I heard some dude on the Diane Rehm show say that the #1 cause of climate change is buildings.

    The #2 cause is “beef production and consumption, and related animal husbandry.”

    So “I eat meat” is actually a more environment-hostile statement than “I drive a Hummer.”

    It would be pretty hard not to live in a building, but it’s a pretty simple matter to not eat meat or drive a Hummer. If fears of B-12 deficiencies keep you up at night, I know what, take a B-12 pill. Also, anyone who has time to read this stupid blog has time to broil a slice of eggplant.

  77. Jill

    “these bovine visitors you had are pretty skinny. I also wonder, are these young cattle, not full grown? Are they skinny because of the drought? Do the ranchers give them supplemental feed during drought conditions, or how do they handle it?”

    They are adult cows (three of them are nursing calves). They are skinny because the drought has killed all the prairie grass they normally eat. The ranchers who don’t auction off their herds should bring hay and supplement with cattle cubes. It is expensive as hell, so only a few of these dudes actually puts out enough hay and feed to keep their cows at a healthy weight. But even if they could afford it, because of the drought hay is getting nearly impossible to find. Last week I was lucky to locate a source who has it trucked in from one of the Carolinas. It costs $12.50 a bale, compared to $7 last year. My two delicate Arabians go through a bale a day. An adult cow with a nursing calf would easily eat twice that. I’ve got a small stockpile but it’s gonna run out in February, and I don’t know what the hell the mares are gonna eat then. I guess I could feed them hamburgers — those you can ALWAYS get.

  78. Lidon

    Kea, you can post all the B.S. links you want. I’m not buying into yours or anybody else’s lies or rationalizations. There is plenty of information available to support what I said. If you want to ignore it, that’s your choice.

    Is it a coincidence that vegetarianism (in modern times) arose in the most classist, misogynist and racist societies? I do not believe so.

    Feminism also arose during this time. So what are you saying?

  79. violet

    Vegetarian here. Flame as you wish.

    The ex-Mr Violet used to enjoy dragging me off to go hiking across various bits of UK National Trust moorland/private farmland. Can’t comment on the Cow vs Volkswagen size debate, but certainly Friesian cows (the favoured British breed) can display an acceleration only explainable by high-tech German engineering, particularly when two eminently stompable hikers are following the hiking trail across their field. The running for our lives helped keep us fit, I suppose.

    However, if you get the chance to see one of these animals up-close then do so, it’s basically “A Cow, As Imagined By Sesame Street”. http://www.highlandcattlesociety.com/

    Incredibly laid-back animals and absolutely beautiful coats.

  80. Jezebella

    Well, Kea, I don’t feel so bad about popping off at you since you admit that your comment was an intentional taunt. You got the response you were looking for. Taunting people is obnoxious regardless of who does it. Autism does not provide you with an excuse to be an intentional jerk.

    You know what vegetarians DON’T need? More fucking taunts from omnivores. We get it all the time, thanks, full up, really, so you can bloody well focus your taunts on people who are actually getting into your business and judging you, eh?

    In conclusion: taunting vegetarians does not embiggen the discourse.

  81. Kea

    Except for having a different point of view, have I actually insulted ANY of the commenters here personally? My point was that many of you are guilty of precisely the kind of discrimination that you often taunt others for. Please read all the comments again.

    And as for carbon footprints, I’m pretty certain mine is lower than any of the Americans here, even though I eat a little meat. Being insulted is one thing, but let it be noted that meat eaters are being insulted here by hypocrites.

  82. quixote

    Cows are wonderfully curious. One of my young rabbits met her first cow across a little wire fence that wouldn’t stop a charging chicken. The rabbit was stretching up on her hindlegs to sniff the cow who reached down over the fence to sniff at the funny critter on the other side.

    Then the cow breathed out. WHOOOSH. She didn’t mean anything by it, but the rabbit didn’t know that.

  83. Kea

    The most problematic assumptions here, on both sides, regard community type. Some here have assumed that I speak from the point of view of a majority, patriarchal culture, while I was actually assuming, from the beginning, that I was IN a vegetarian culture, as I usually am.

  84. Kea

    Scientists begin improving the cattle diet, to reduce greenhouse gases:

  85. Greenconsciousness

    National Conference to End Factory Farming
    Arlington Virginia
    Oct 27-29

  86. thebewilderness

    That often happens when you make assumptions, Kea.

    Jill, if you had not quit smoking you could have offered them an unlit cig. They will follow anyone anywhere for tobacco, bless their hearts.

  87. Michele Braa-Heidner

    Thanks for this! I enjoyed watching the cows, they are so beautiful! Even though I think yttik’s post was misplaced because Jill was not guilty of what he accused, I too get sick to death of humans measuring the worth of animals against human standards. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say; Chickens, Turkeys, Cows & even horses are extremely stupid. I think that humans want to believe that this is true because it makes it easier for them to continue abusing and eating them. My sentiment is, who are we to judge these creatures? They all are perfectly beautiful just as they are. If you watch these animals in a natural habitat free of bondage, I mean really watch them objectively you can’t help but be mesmerized by them. I was also under the impression for a long time that cows were just slow dumb creatures because that is all I heard, until I finally had the opportunity to watch and get to know a group of cows. The cows were free to roam on acres of land and I actually saw these cows frolic. They ran, jumped and leaped playing with each other. What a wonder to behold!

  88. veganrampage


  89. Sarah

    I laughed out loud at the pools of blood visual. Everyone else looked at me funny. Trying to explain that I was laughing at cows falling into pools of blood didn’t help much.

  90. tinfoil hattie

    Seeing the skinny, starving, (& no doubt thirsty) cows makes me think of overall food and water distribution problems. I have a funny notion that if we put the oppressed half of the population in charge of seing to it that people have plent of water and food, stuff would get done.

    I live in a suburb of DC, within easy walking distance of two huge grocery stores, and within easy driving distance (3-4 mi. or less) of 10 others.

    Walking into any of these stores slams home the clear message that nobody around here should ever go hungry. There is enough food. But of course food is a privilege and not a right. IBTP.

  91. tinfoil hattie

    BTW, if anyone is bored, there are a couple of posts floating around (start over at Feministe) that accuse twisty of being a sexist, bimbo-hating radical feminist who undermines feminism by trying to take women’s sexiness away. Have at it.

  92. Sarah

    Oh dear, Hattie. I had to go read that, didn’t I? We interrupt our regularly-scheduled Saturday-night pre-Halloween horror-movie viewathon for just a bit of “they really missed the whole point of radical feminism, eh?” I’ve never seen a slut-shaming word on these them thar bloggerroo, leastwise not on Twisty’s part.

  93. veganrampage


    Here is her sparkling, cogent, and well thought out argument.

    “But for the short answer: because it’s impossible for women to be accepted as human beings if we aren’t accepted as sexual beings.”

    Just like men, right?

    IBTP but I also blame her a little too. She is also wildly misrepresenting this site. Don’t have the stomach to start with this shite again.

  94. Jess

    I know its a little off topic but please. I beg thee. Please take a look at “Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street” and rip the creator a new cornhole? It would be oh, so appreciated…

  95. Ugsome

    Oh gawd, not the sex wars again. :facepalm: Haven’t we heard from this Clarisse Thorne before?

  96. speedbudget

    I’m not going to look.

    I used to be a teacher, so I would read kids’ essays, and it always made me so sad when an otherwise bright student wrote a well-written screed that completely missed the mark.

  97. Gayle

    Sounds like Feministe is desperately trying to get some readership back.

    Too late!

  98. Someone Else

    I couldn’t help it, I looked. Twisty hates science! Now THAT was funny.

  99. tinfoil hattie

    I know, Someone Else! I laughed so hard.

  100. Jill

    “Twisty hates science! Now THAT was funny.”

    I believe this is an artifact from that time I dissed Dawkins. Because if you disagree with a male scientist, you hate science. See how logical?

  101. Bushfire

    Feministe is getting so funfeminist these days. There’s two writers- Clarisse and Hexy- who are funfeminists who treat rad fems like trolls, and it’s unbelievable how much patriarchy-denial there is on a blog that’s supposed to be feminist. I went over there are read it, Tinfoil Hattie, and boy did Holly completely miss the point.

  102. Kea

    I believe this is an artifact from that time I dissed Dawkins. Because if you disagree with a male scientist, you hate science.

    Indeed, I can confirm this is quite true. The effect increases the more dudlier the science, like many pink sciency graphs indicate.

  103. Nolabelfits

    Some dude recently concluded that because I don’t like to watch football and baseball that I “hate sports.” Kinda the same theme.

  104. Saurs

    Dawkins isn’t a scientist. He’s an advocate for a particular kind of science, the science of looking grim and judgmental and just slightly self-righteous with a hint of pity over footage of dark brown people doing their thang in their dark brown church out in the boonies of his country’s former empire. Also, dismissing women as inferior and/or hysterical. Also, co-opting some of the useful bits of postcolonial studies, women’s studies, queer studies, civil rights, et al., to make white middle-class atheist men a persecuted class. So they can form little whinge clubs and a little hierarchy within sad whinge clubs where, to nobody’s surprise, white straight dudes are head o’ the class. All this important business takes up so much of Dawkins’ time that, whoops, he forgot to ever publish anything in a peer-reviewed journal, or other scientist-y chores. He’s mostly a fanboy who uses the stalwart guise of Science! to justify his smallminded bigotry and petty resentment towards non-white, non-male folks, calling out the occasional religious fundamentalist ‘cos it’s fun to yank their p.v. chains. Professional shit-stirrer.

  105. Bushfire

    Jeez, Saurs, you just confirmed that I don’t ever have to read The God Delusion after all.

  106. Jill

    Saurs! You nail it. I dare you to go over to one of those Scienceblogs and say that.

  107. Jezebella

    Double-dog-dare you, Saurs! And send us the link so we can watch.

  108. thebewilderness

    Saurs for the win!
    There is a long comment thread on the subject at skepchick mainly consisting of d00dz arguing how we can’t be certain sure he is a misogynist asshat. He might have made a mistake, so women should support him and his very important work and buy his book.

  109. Saurs

    Ackcherly, youse guys, skeptifem / nails does a damn fine job herself over at PZ’s place playing gadfly to all those endless Dawkins fanboys and Hitchens apologists. She’s the coolest! I aim to be just like her one day, minus livin’ in LDS-ville.

  110. Shelly

    I believe this is an artifact from that time I dissed Dawkins. Because if you disagree with a male scientist, you hate science.

    It was actually someone misattributing a quote from Yttik to you. So, it was extraplusfunny. Does he not understand how this commenting thing works? (It was a comment about trusting women’s intuition over science, which struck me as unlikely, so I had to go look it up.)

  111. AlienNumber

    Shelly, who is “he” in the “does he not understand how this commenting this works?” Dawkins? yttik? yttik is a dude? WHAT?
    Everybody! Stop everything you’re doing and answer this very important question.

  112. Shelly

    “He” is the commenter at Feministe who mistook Yttik for Jill and then based on that claimed that Jill is anti-science. (matlun at comment #45.)

  113. yttik

    Yttik is not a dude. Yttik is “kitty” spelled backwards. Yttik is not anti-science. And yttik can do nothing about some dude from Feministe with a reading comprehension problem.

  114. Shelly

    Yes, I got the kitty-spelled-backward part. I did not say you were a dude. I did not say you were anti-science. The “dude” in question was a commenter in the Feministe thread named matlun.

  115. yttik

    It’s cool, Shelly. I was responding to Alien’s, “Stop everything you’re doing and answer this very important question,” which made me a laugh, so I stopped everything and answered the questions.

  116. Shelly

    No problem! And for what it’s worth, the “dude” in question may not be a dude. He sure had the whiff of dude about him, though. How’s that for women’s intuition?

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