Eye Of The Beholder
New Zealand Listener|February 2-8, 2019
Eye Of The Beholder

One farmer’s beloved pet can be a square meal to another – just ask Bambi’s parent.

Michele Hewitson

The text read: “Do you like venison?” We love venison. Andrew was butchering a beast. Would we like to pop over for a drink, pick up some venison and meet Janet? Janet is Andrew’s partner and they live just along the road, a four-minute drive from our place.

It is not unusual, here in the country, to be offered cuts of just-butchered beasts. We have bits of pig and deer and lamb in the freezer; none of it has seen the inside of a supermarket. At our near-neighbour’s place, it is not uncommon to see bits of beasts hanging upside down. Where some city people have fancy outdoor furniture sets and fairy lights in trees, country people have antlers and skulls as outdoor decorations.

This takes some getting used to when you have spent most of your life living in cities, with fairy lights. Our near-neighbour’s young boy is the latest in a long line of farmers and he is going to be a farmer, too. He has a pet chook called McNuggets and a pet lamb called Billy. I said: “You’re not going to eat Billy, are you?”

He shrugged and said, nonchalantly: “Prob’ly.”

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February 2-8, 2019