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  • Writer's pictureerikaraskin

Political Animals. And Me.

Updated: Mar 6

I’ve been a vegetarian for years and years. I try not to be preachy about the issue

but in truth the whole concept of eating other creatures depresses the hell out of me.

Last week, a truck carrying a load of chickens in horribly overcrowded cages, passed me on the highway and I burst into tears.

All of which is an ironic preamble to the following observation:

Like mammals with two legs, the four-legged variety can also be assholes. Just on principle. Seriously. The coyotes who use our yard as a public toilet, for instance, also fake leg injuries in order to sucker potential meals into complacency.

“Don’t mind me, I’ll just be limping slowly here in the shadows. I couldn’t go after your beloved pet on a dare.”

And the vultures, who I guess aren’t mammals but whatever, sit in huddles plotting ways to take out our aforementioned dog—either through dropping roadkill bones in the grass in an attempt to choke him to death, or once, a whole big black box of rat bait—all have evil in their hearts.

Crows, too, can be mean spirited. A murder of them (isn’t that just the best?) swooped so close to my granddaughter’s al fresco breakfast that a wing brushed her food. Alarmed,

I snatched the remainder of the French toast from her dimpled hand which I then rolled into round balls and pitched far from the porch. The biggest bird, clearly the ring leader, dove back down and scooped all of the doughy orbs in his beak one after the other like a game of jacks. He didn’t swallow but instead mocked his hungry colleagues with a toothy grin.

Share? Why would I do that?”

It was like a reenactment of Don Jr. saying he was going to take half of his three year old’s Halloween candy to teach her about socialism. Or, you know, decency.


Not long after that up-close encounter with unadulterated right-wing behavior, I witnessed a bear trotting down the side of the country road methodically knocking over the full trash cans that lined his route. He didn’t even slow down to snack. He was just being a dick. Because he could.

It should go without saying that reptiles flirt with fascism and invasions.

One day, our late dog started barking maniacally at the basement door. He’d been more high strung than usual because he’d been recently bitten—not once but twice—by a black snake he kept getting into turf wars with, over deck access.

Rather than grabbing hold of the knob and swinging it open, I miraculously unearthed a flashlight from the junk drawer and shone it underneath. (I reminded myself of a TV detective relying on the standard issue torch rather than you know, switching on an overhead bulb) but anyway it was a good thing.

Because I came eye to eye with my dog’s nemesis, the six foot long serpent who’d somehow broken in and CLIMBED THE FREAKING STAIRS.

Despite my hysteria I still managed to barricade the overly large space under the door and found the number of a “critter” removal company. They immediately dispatched a teen en route to a playdate at a nearby swimming hole. She showed up in cut-offs carrying a large bin and salad tongs. She casually wrangled the thing into the container.

The whole transaction took less than ten minutes.

For her.

Around here, the impact lasted a tad longer. (Electrical cords and garden hoses can morph at the drop of a hat.)

All of this is to say that while I don’t eat animals, I don’t necessarily believe they have our best interests at heart either.


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