The Death of the Animal: A Dialogue


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Edited by Linda Kalof

I believe I have always responded respectfully and vigorously to people who challenge and disagree with me. Many people are not afraid to do that, fortunately. So they are disappearing from our world, and in the name of protecting their rights. Is this the outcome we want? Might they have a right to survive? Hundreds of them are dead already.


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We have to find a middle ground of animals are to remain among us, visible and in our lives. From now one, most children will only know elephants from YouTube. Is that really what we want for them? Once we realize that we have so much more in common than not, perhaps we can become a powerful force to help save animals, rather than drive them away.


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  • The death of Zelda is the first time not one person has assaulted me online or hating me for doing what I believed to be right. Perhaps we are finding a wiser way to understand animals and keep them on the earth. For me, that is a landmark, a hopeful thing.

    Animals and Ed, The Dialogue That Never Ends

    It shows the value of words and the value of listening. It is hard to shoot one of your animals and sad. Instead of bracing myself for assault, I welcome the understanding, compassion, and respect for my decision to shoot Zelda. It helped a lot; it made me feel better and more grounded. As the country continues to be torn apart by labels and partisanship and demagoguery, I feel our dialogue is essential.

    I think the love of animals is a powerful force for uniting, listening, and caring. As animal lovers and animal caregivers, we have the responsibility of taking care of our animals to the best of our ability. In no way is the death of any of your animals taken lightly, casually, and without effect.

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    However, sometimes compassion can only be handled in this manner. And as fellow animal lovers we should surround you with support and compassion over your loss…. So well said, Jon!

    If we are going to truly help animals—all animals, and not just our pets—we have to understand their true nature and we have to work together. Hating and attacking those who disagree with us hurts everyone, animals and people alike.


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    • Mutual respect and honest dialogue are the only way to move forward. That gives me hope, too! Is there a reason for that? I would just like to understand the logic? The photo was not bloody, Sally, she had dirt on her forehead. There was very little blood, that was deliberate.

      There is a lot of reality on the farm, and once in a while, people ought to see it because it is the truth, the farm is not a perfect or fantasy place. People have to make their own decisions about my words and photos. You are so far the only person who raised that issue, it seemed proper for me to address it here.. Oh my yes, thank you Jon. Thank you for educating me again and again… I am a wiser, more patient listener as time goes by, and I am willing to be surprised, to learn, gain understanding, by deep listening.

      Your courage to share your truth is an inspiration to me.

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      I lived in fear of judgement and shaming by family who could not listen to my different ways of being in this world. I learned their anger and disapproval was coming from their own fears. I let go of needing them to understand, and am learning to let go of the pain of needing that.

      I love them just as they are and accept their choice to remain distant. I am the Black Sheep! But I am also my own Shepherd! Jon, You continue to engage and inspire me to choose a life of kindness, generosity, compassionate, and loving action. I can not imagine all the hate directed at you and your blog.

      However not all who support animal rights are missing a moral compass. I hope you will consider my request to allow for some of us who care for and support animal rights as having some ethical and spiritual connection with animals, though at times far from perfect. As a Jew-bu Jew and Buddhist , I pause often to remember to be grateful and honor my connection to all living beings.

      I hope this is comes across as engaging in a respectful and caring conversation. You felt sick, you felt guilty to use your familiarity with Zelda to get her to stay still while you shot her. You showed your humanity this time I think. You wrote authentically and revealed how you were really feeling inside and I think that made the difference, rather than a more clinical recitation of events.

      The Death of the Animal | Columbia University Press

      You are a good man, Mr. You give me hope for the beautiful planet that was given to us to love a nd care for. Thank you. I applaud your bravery and compassion both with your words and with your euthanasia technique. It still is hard for an average person to do…I doubt I could. You blogging about it is a way of either reminding or exemplifying how things are done on a farm.

      There is no malice. There is no joy in the act. There is responsibility. When you have a pet or a farm, you shoulder the burden of care for your wards. It is an awesome and rewarding endeavor. But when you rise to the occasion, you can look yourself in the mirror and know you have done what was necessary in the best possible way.

      Thank you for your many posts on death and dying. As an aside, I have found it quite wonderful to read your blog because I had the good fortune to meet you once. This was years ago now and I was a student at the time at Mount Holyoke College and I believe you were walking on campus before a book reading at the Odyssey Bookstore across the street. Thank you for seeing the soul of a dog lover and for giving me so much to think about.

      Your work means a great deal to me. Kate, I remember that day quite well, I had time to kill before my reading, I had Izzy with me. So good to hear from you, e mail me some time, plse, jon bedlamfarm. Always, it seems to me, that when you make the decision to shoot one of them , it is never done lightly or without considerable thought and sensitivity.

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      There is never any shame in ending suffering, whether it is by providing a warm sweater to an elderly person, or by ending the suffering of a sick animal. Both are acts of compassion and love, and should never be seen as anything less. Dear Jon, Thank you for not backing down and being true to yourself. You have always been an inspiration and role model for me to work on being the same. With deepest regards, Jeanine. Your email address will not be published.

      During the mountain lion chapter, I felt like I was there, waiting to see if the cat would come out and attack me. The writing was just very poignant and if you are a nature or animal lover, I think you would really appreciate it.

      The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild

      For example, the dog chapter, though short, was perfect, just the right blend of poignant and practical, and I love how he connected it with the nature of humans at the end. I imagined this was not an easy life for a dog in such isolated country, working alongside a grouchy caballero, ever aware of the presence of large wild animals lurking in the woods beyond.

      I tried to look away and hear what the caballero had to tell us, but the mutt was staring right at me, insisting I address her, damn near scratching a secret SOS into the dirt with her paw. We were a ray of hope for her, strangers with welcoming smiles, but there was nothing I could do for her.

      I looked away. The elk that you glimpse in the summer, those at the forest edge, are survivors of winter, only the strongest. You see one just before dusk that summer, standing at the perimeter of the meadow so it can step back to the forest and vanish. You can't help imagining the still, frozen nights behind it, so cold that the slightest motion is monumental. I have found their bodies, half drifted over in snow, no sign of animal attack or injury. Just toppled over one night with ice working into their lungs. You wouldn't want to stand outside for more than a few minutes in that kind of weather.

      If you lived through only one of those winters the way this elk has, you would write books about it. You would become a shaman. You would be forever changed.

      The Death of the Animal: A Dialogue The Death of the Animal: A Dialogue
      The Death of the Animal: A Dialogue The Death of the Animal: A Dialogue
      The Death of the Animal: A Dialogue The Death of the Animal: A Dialogue
      The Death of the Animal: A Dialogue The Death of the Animal: A Dialogue
      The Death of the Animal: A Dialogue The Death of the Animal: A Dialogue
      The Death of the Animal: A Dialogue The Death of the Animal: A Dialogue

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