Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 7-25-11
Mark Zuckerberg is the 27-year-old billionaire techno-geek-god who founded Facebook. For you old-timers, Facebook is that Internet phenomenon that allows hundreds of millions of people around the world to simultaneously waste their time telling hundreds of “friends,” most of whom they’ve never met in person, every little boring detail of their lives.
It seems that every year Zuckerberg challenges himself to improve one facet of his life. A noble cause indeed. In 2010 his challenge was to learn Chinese and the year before that it was to wear a tie every day. (Personally, I think I’d rather build the Great Wall of China by hand than wear a tie every day.) This year Zuckerberg vowed that he’d get more in touch with his food supply by only eating meat from animals that he killed himself.
Thus far Zuckerberg has killed a lobster which, if you’ve ever been in a fancy seafood restaurant, you know entails picking out a lobster and dropping it in a big pot of boiling water. Big deal. All you have to do is cover your ears so you don’t hear the screams, and then serve. Still, Zuckerberg said he got very emotional about it.
Next he put a picture of the chicken he killed on his Facebook page, and I’m sure the chicken now has millions of new Facebook “friends.” (Although I wouldn’t be expecting any Tweets from the dead chicken if I were you.)
Zuckerberg has also killed a pig and a goat but, in his words, has “basically become a vegetarian.” I don’t want Zuckerberg to get emotional or anything so I won’t tell him that the stalk of broccoli or head of lettuce he eats are also killed when they are harvested.
Next up, Zuckerberg says he’d like to try his hand at hunting and if you are in his immediate vicinity I’d stay indoors and put bright orange vests on all your cows because I’m sure Zuckerberg must really be hankering for a steak by now.
I’d be a lot more impressed if Zuckerberg only ate animals that he raised and then killed. Better yet, Zuckerberg ought to go back to high school and take vocational agriculture. In my freshmen year my ag instructor encouraged all of us FFA Greenhands to raise a commercial lamb. Then he showed us the proper, most sanitary, and least painful way to kill the lamb. It might not have been painful for my lamb but it sure was for me. Talk about growing up in a hurry! This experience taught me two important and valuable lessons early in life, number one: that it’s very fulfilling to provide food for your family. And number two: if you want to eat, something has to die. It’s literally a fact of life.
If any of the FFA kids felt too remorseful, or couldn’t cope with the concept of killing, our ag teacher asked them, “Don’t you think the lamb appreciated the healthy life you gave it, the good food you fed it twice a day and the humane way you ended it’s life? Wouldn’t your lamb have made the choice to have lived that life, rather than having had no life at all, which is most certainly what would have happened if we didn’t raise animals for food?”
That’s the way 99.9 percent of ranchers feel about their cattle. They are not callous people or hardened psychotic killers like PETA wants everyone to believe. They have a job to do and they do it well. And it is a noble one: to feed people. I’ve seen these same ranchers cry when their horse died or pay whatever it costs to have the vet set their dog’s broken leg.
While I applaud Zuckerberg for wanting to get more in touch with his food supply, I’d also suggest that he need not become a vegetarian to end the suffering of animals. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. It all boils down to this Mr. Zuckerberg: If you want to give the gift of life to more animals, eat more meat. It really is that simple.
All the cattlemen I know, myself included, became ranchers in the first place because we truly love and respect animals. In fact, some of us prefer them to people. The animals are our friends, maybe not Facebook friends, but good friends nonetheless.