As I continue to develop the Animal Icon series, I wanted to share some of the fantastic stories people have been telling me.  This will be the first in a series of blog posts exploring my journey. 

When I started this, it really came from wanting to understand more about the complicated relationship between humans and animals.  It's an ancient relationship, one that goes back to our ancestors who painted about it on cave walls.  The sacred rites that once accompanied these killings has given way to a sterile experience.  The animals we eat live and die away from us, severing a connection that was once at the heart of our lives.  

People who have had the experience, of living with animals who are also food, have wonderful insight into something the rest of us only understand in an abstract way.  This story from Maia points to some of the contradictions of that experience. 

"Your subject of ‘eating animals’ made me laugh.  I grew up in Armstrong, and ate many chickens, calves and pigs that I’d also become very fond of.  It wasn’t easy eating those first chickens, and I was vegetarian for a year till I had my first taste of farm meat by accident.  I named all the animals of course.  Mary, Edna and Jane were just a few pigs that I played with, then ate.  I always found the killing part (the butcher would come with his truck and shotgun) traumatic, but got over it by the time the animals came back frozen and wrapped in brown paper.

I have very fond memories of the little farm we had.  I have to tell you also about “Mabel”, our only chicken that was not eaten by us, having earned the “license to live till natural death” because of the number of times she went broody.  (Broody is a term for a female chicken having the desire to sit on fertile eggs, keeping them warm till they hatch...) This license was bestowed upon her by my family unanimously because of her friendly spirit as well.  Unfortunately, because we also allowed her to leave the coop and wander around the property, she was eaten by our neighbour’s stupid dog."