New Work and (in) Animal Ethics

Yesterday morning I did my phone interview with Fred Meyer. They wanted me to be a Cheese Shop Associate and we scheduled an interview for this afternoon.

Yesterday evening I dropped off compost at my friend’s place and visited a little bit. Their dogs were pretty excited when I showed up and they did some training with them, which went well ūüôā

Today I applied for the psychology program and figured out the best way to used my VA benefits. I qualify for both the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill. I used the MGIB to get my Associates’ and Bachelor’s in 35 months (education time; total time was actually 4.5 years). If I were to apply for the Post-9/11¬†right now, I would also have to change over my one month left on the MGIB to the new program. However, if I use that last month on the MGIB, then I can apply for the Post-9/11 and use it for up to 12 months. I’m so glad I figured that out. When I started school I thought I would be able to get the full 36 months in each¬†program but no, only¬†up to 48 months total in any combination of the programs. I¬†went ahead and calculated the numbers for the two main options(36 months MGIB + 12 months Post-9/11 vs 36 months Post-9/11). I will end up with about 21% more aid by using both programs. However, if I had dependents then the difference would be around¬†8%. Other’s results may vary. I didn’t make the extra $600 payments into my MGIB but I did get a Kicker Fund which bumped it up above the standard amount.

My interview this afternoon went great! I should¬†begin orientation next week and get¬†trained for the position in the next couple weeks.¬†They have plenty of work available right now which is great.¬†I will be able to save up some money over the summer. I told them my plans for school and they will let me¬†cut my hours and¬†keep working in the fall. That will be tough though. I still have to get a Municipality Food Worker’s Card. Having a¬†State Food Handler’s License isn’t adequate for working in town… It should only take a few hours.

My friends invited me over for dinner this evening. It was moose steaks and couscous salad. I’ve been undergoing an interesting evolution in my dietary preferences for a while now. I’ve been pretty confused for the last year or so. About five years ago I decided to stop participating in unethical farming practices and the only way I felt confident in doing that was by only buying meat from sources that I could go to and see how the animals were being treated (since then I’ve also adopted the principle of not supporting farming practices that harm the environment which may seem redundant¬†at this point but I still find it significant as an ethical principle). This basically meant that functionally I was a vegetarian if not¬†in principle. I would still eat animals that were humanely raised and slaughtered or humanely hunted and killed but those sources have been hard to come by. About a year ago I took an environmental ethics course and interestingly enough it caused me to think a lot more about animals and food.¬†I now have trouble supporting any kind of (humanely) farming of animals for (humane) slaughter or the (humane) hunting of animals. In the last year I’ve eaten meat a couple of times that either I have salvaged from being on its way to the trash or that has been given to me. Tonight I was offered game meat and I accepted. I don’t feel bad but I don’t feel I was doing my best¬†either… I think the decision was motivated a little¬†by a kind of backwards peer pressure (they didn’t put any pressure on me but I have this sense that I may have been seeking approval or camaraderie) and by me testing¬†my ethical stance. The Native Americans used to believe that in order to hunt a moose or any other animal, the animal¬†spirit had to agree to it. Once the body was slain and consumed, the spirit would eventually return to another body. If the spirit hadn’t been properly honored, it wouldn’t allow itself to be taken again. While I don’t believe in this spirit in the same sense as the native cultures, I respect this way of seeing the world. I believe that killing any animal should not be taken lightly, especially an animal of great intelligence such as a mammal or a bird. If only for the same reasons that we don’t go around harming each other. There is a common¬†belief that the capacity for suffering in other humans is reason enough not to harm them. I believe the same consideration should be given to all animals that have a capacity for suffering. I want to help ensure these animals are only¬†sacrificed with great compassion for great cause in times of great need. I feel stronger now that I will eat meat only when in dire need of sustenance (lost in the wilderness with a group of starving people and hunting is the only way to help them survive) or when the animal will otherwise be wasted (harvesting road kill or similar situations). This period of extended, concentrated¬†contemplation has caused me to be more committed¬†to the principles I had already developed. Sometimes I need to push¬†my boundaries to¬†remember why I set them and motivate myself to maintain them.

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