Cattle Cars

Free use photo from

By Mike Johnson

There were eight of them.
Two rows of four, parked side-by-side in a bar parking lot.
Mac trucks with cattle semi-trailers.

First, we were confused, what the heck?
Then we identified what they were.
Then we realized their purpose.

They had arrived to pick up live cattle to take to market.
“Market” meaning, execution and slaughter.

The car went quiet.
The realization knocked the fun from the car.
A lot of cows would be making their final ride to the great beyond.

Once you’re dead, I guess it matters little that you’ll be eaten by your killers.

Once alive, the doomed cows enjoy 18 months without ever knowing their situation.
Bred, to birth, to banquet, they are living miracles, raised as a crop.

Yet another horrific reality that’s been normalized in human society.

We’ll all part of it.
Just about everyone has eaten beef in their life.
It’s a key protein source needed for our human bodies to survive.

We’re blind to the details of death because the meat is presented in attractive packaging at the supermarket.
Or in the drive-thru lane of the fast-feeder.

More guilty than most, I’ve personally served tons of beef, chicken, turkey, pork and fish during employment myself.
Eaten it my entire life.

The least I can do is say a prayer of thanks for the meal to my creator, and to the creature for its life.

But if I was to write my perfect soul’s journey, there’d be no killing of creatures whatsoever.

Twenty years ago, I became a vegetarian to stop my involvement in this carnivorous chain.
I lasted a year, finally losing to convenience.
Our society makes prepared meat convenient everywhere and other foods less so.
I tired of going through life making it more difficult by my own choice.
And felt guilty about falling off the butcher shop wagon.

Then I realized that plants are alive too.
And every drive to town kills a few hundred insects.
Scratching my arm kills thousands of cells.
So I’m already a mass murderer just by engaging in normal life.

It’s impossible to live in this realm without killing other living creatures.
Nature is brutal.

I wonder why it was created this way.

Perhaps our earth lives really ARE nothing but a dream.
An 80 year endeavor here, but just a few minute illusion over there.

I hope so.

When I exit my last ride to the great beyond, I hope my soul awakens to scrolling credits, right at the place where it says,
“No creatures were harmed during the making of this dream.”


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