Musings on Sacred Cows and Sacred Deer

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Because I am fond of milk and milk products I maintain a deep appreciation for cows, even though I readily admit that of the wild kingdom on your average farm the cows seem to have the least personality. They moo and poop, and according to some, contribute mightily to climate change because of excessive flatulence.

No really, there are scientists who say cattle are causing the oceans to rise. I think they belong to the same group who claims wind farms are causing climate change. But I will not discuss that here because I’m really not that interested in silly arguments over windmills, or cow flatulence for that matter. But I’m not ready yet to stray from the subject of cows in general. So, let’s moove along.

We have a lot in common with the Indians, not Native Americans, but people who live in India. Both of our countries are democracies, both have far more nuclear weapons than is considered generally healthy, and both speak a certain amount of English, even though the quality of the spoken word in America is in question. If you doubt our Indian connection try calling to get help with your credit card. You’ll likely be connected to people in India who will help you, if you can understand them. Their English gives them away, kind of like that of someone in Eastern North Carolina or Mobile, Alabama.

The pictures of cows wandering the streets in India bother me. I imagine cows wandering at will at Short Pump Town Center, or Stony Point, or … my own yard! Yes, friends, there are many cow-similar creatures wandering at will in my yard. They are called deer, and although they share some fundamental features with cows — four legs and the like — they are eternally more useless than cows. We can’t get Whing Ding milkshakes from deer or, for that matter, much of anything else. And don’t tell me venison is good because it isn’t. I have tried several times to eat it because my son has an affinity for killing deer, but I simply don’t like it. If venison was good like you say it is, it would be readily available at McDonald’s, but it’s not. And don’t get me started on broccoli. It’s good for you like castor oil is good for you. But back to the cows.

Every possible religion is practiced in America, which is proof that nobody really knows which one is true, except you and me, of course. But we remain respectful of each other, usually. The Shenandoah Valley is well known for its Hindu population, but the Shenandoah Hindus don’t raid neighboring farms to release cows that don’t belong to them. They respect their neighbors who may wear funny little hats but are still neighbors. Everyone to his or her own cows.

So, what’s my point? Let’s begin with the almost certain possibility that I don’t have one, but beyond that, I am awed by the reported fact that there are 8 million deer in Virginia, roughly the same number of deer as people. In other words, each of us could have our own deer. You can have mine. As far as I can determine deer are useless animals that destroy our yards and too often enter eternity through our car grilles. Deer can stand at a roadside all day long and still not understand what goes on there.

But I shrink from the idea of killing deer. Even if the meat tasted good. After all, no animals were harmed in the preparation of that hamburger I just bought at Martin’s. Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes. I propose instead that we support an energetic program of deer birth control. I know that would probably be against someone’s religion but it would solve the problem without murdering the stupid deer. Admittedly it would require a bit of creativity to get deer to wear condoms, but it’s worth a try.

In conclusion, I worship cows but for different reasons than my friends in the Shenandoah Valley. But we shouldn’t fall in love with illogical arguments. The old saying that milk builds strong bones and teeth is simply untrue.

I have vegan friends who are very healthy, and capable of biting you if you mess with them. S

Gene Cox is an author and inventor who recently retired from a 35-year career as a television anchor in Richmond. Connect with him at letters@styleweekly.com, or on Twitter at @genecoxrva.



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