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From  Issue
17 March 2002
Appointment At The End Of The World

By Valerie Macys
http://www.animalsvoice.com/PAGES/poetry/macys.html
Excerpt of prose from the Animals Voice website.
http://www.animalsvoice.com 

I arrived at the house on a late October afternoon. The fall leaves were in full blazing glory, and I noticed that the cows were even closer to the house than I had expected. I could actually hear them before I got out of my car. When I turned off the engine, I knew immediately that something was terribly wrong. I witnessed a scene of chaos. Cows bellowed and stomped, staggering around the fields. They banged into each other and pushed against the fence, located approximately 20 feet from my car. Dozens of them stood wild-eyed, snuffing the air, shrieking horribly. Unfortunately, I knew all too well what their confusion and turmoil was about.

I have lived near a farm for the past four years. I was told by my veterinarian what those harsh October cries meant the first time I'd heard them. I had been alarmed by the cows' unusual moans and their evident distress one fall morning, so I called my vet to ask if there was something I should do, perhaps call the farmer or even a humane society. She told me to do nothing, that such action was normal for the time of the year.

I was therefore able to recognize what all the blustering on this day was about, although I had never had it smack me so wickedly in the face. I had never been so close before.

"They've taken your babies," I said sadly, looking directly into one cow's mournful eyes. They rolled back in her head as she bellowed anew. Feeling sick to the pit of my stomach, I entered the house and spoke to the curator, who also lives there. Her name is Mary.

"Those cows are frantic," I said. The wailing penetrated even inside. I had never heard anything like it. "How long will this go on?" I asked.

"Until tomorrow," she replied. "Then more slaughter trucks will come for them, and it will all be over."

I thought my heart would hit the floor. I recalled the intense moment when I had stared at the woeful mother cow, practically eyeball to eyeball.

I went to my room and quietly unpacked my bags. The grotesque rhythm of the cries outside never ceased. I left the house for a while and went into town to have dinner. It was dark when I returned, but the moaning and bellowing persisted. I got out of my car and shuddered, feeling the warm bodies of so many agitated mothers, pressing close to the fence. At one point, I heard wood splintering and feared they might break free. I half-hoped they would.

........I stopped eating meat after I returned from West Virginia. If ever the opportunity presents itself again, I want to look at those creatures in peace because I am no longer eating their flesh. I had been working toward that end for many years, but there was nothing like witnessing such full-blown horror to convince me that the time was at least upon me. I simply had no choice.

Go on to Celebrate Easter Without Eggs
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