Okay, I'll admit it, I'm a softy, especially for animals. Frankly, I think my dog is a Bodhisattva, and could teach humanity a lot about love, patience and balance. I grew-up with animals (besides my brothers) and when I was a child, I was terribly frustrated that I couldn't get close to the local wild life like deer, squirrels, rabbits and scores of birds . I wanted to touch them, but they didn't trust humans. Rightly so, for it wasn't long that I discovered what I was eating at the dinner table.
My parents read all the wonderful children's book to me with friendly cows, pigs and chickens. I loved those animals in the pictures; Henny-Penny, The Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, and the cheery list goes on. So imagine my horror when my brother informed me at the dinner one night that the beef I was eating was really a cow. Then he elaborated on the pig and chicken issue. He brought me to tears, and my little heart was broken. I'd been eating my friends. Of course, my very practical parents thought I was being ridiculous and told me to shut-up and eat my dinner. No getting up from the table in my house until our plates were "clean."
Still Eating My Friends
So, much like many little children who discover this dilemma, I eventually obeyed my parents and ate my dinner, tears streaming. I'm still eating my animal friends to this day, but less and less so. It's a crappy addiction to meat my body seems to have, but I'm working on it. I honestly feel immense guilt for eating beings that I know have feelings and families, and because I know most supermarket meat comes from intensive agribusiness farming where these poor animals often suffer horribly in life and death.
Most of us just ignore these facts. What are we going to do? Gotta eat. And of course there ARE things we can do, but let's face it, most of us don't take the plunge to buy organic humanely raised animal products because of the cost. And most of us don't demand that animals be treated humanely on ALL farms, but David Agranoff isn't like most of us.
David has written a wonderful collection of stories, Screams From A Dying World, with the proceeds going to Animal Acres, an amazing farmed animal sanctuary in California. This fifty-two page chapbook is a great read by any standard. Even if you didn't know David's vegan lifestyle and his support of the environment and species survival (including our own), you'd likely find his collection of stories dark, imaginative and disturbing. Personally, I love this eclectic collection, and the cover art by Rick Clarke rocks! These are stories that not only entertain, but they stick with you and may even challenge your thinking.
Rather than try to describe Screams From A Dying World for you, I'll share David's own words:
My first short story collection (as a solo act) includes Buffalo Trace, Grandpy’s Spirit that Never Was, Fertility, Normal, Coast to Coast and Self Killing Self. There will be a haunted slaughterhouse, union strikes, eco-terrorism, buffalo ghosts, rednecks terrorizing punk rockers, suicide during a global warming apocalypse and even a twenty-fourth century sexual oddity-obsessed genetic engineer. The stories run range from heart warming to totally disgusting. Proceeds will be donated to Animal Acres Farm Animal Sanctuary.
George and Henry Know
You can read more about David Agranoff's, Screams From A Dying World, at his publisher's website, Punk Horror and you'll find more information about Animal Acres HERE. Now, with all that said, you can't beat the $6 price tag on this collection, especially knowing that proceeds will be helping some seriously lucky animal friends, so BUY A COPY!
And if you think I'm just a schmuck on this subject, here are a few words from a couple of writers with far more clout then I:
While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?
George Bernard Shaw
I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals.
Henry David Thoreau
Note: The animal photos on this blog are from the wonderful gallery at AnimalAcres.org.