This mad cow thing is quite disturbing and would make one look long and hard at that steak before eating (via luke). I briefly flirted with the vegetarian life when I had vegie flatmates last year, but I ended up scoffing down hamburgers at work to get my fix. What can I say, I was raised on a cattle/sheep farm, and if you didn't eat your meat for dinner you were thrashed about the head with a crowbar.
The beauty of meat back then was we knew exactly where it had come from. We never had to worry about CJD or pesticides or whatnot. The steak on my plate came from the cow who's stinking pat I had stepped in the week before. The lamb roast had come from the sweet little sheepie I bottle-fed when its mother had abandoned it. We knew exactly what it had eaten because we grew the crops and made the hay that it munched on.
During my Farm Years™ I estimate having eaten various bits of about 10 pet lambs. How could I be so barbaric? Well, it's not all about sweet little woolly creatures, you know. When they first arrived they would be pissed off as hell because their mother inexplicably dumped them in a middle of a paddock and nicked off. And they invariably had very shitty arses. They needed to be fed three times a day. And they were always born in the middle of winter so you had to crunch through the frost with the bottles of milk and they always missed the teat of the bottle and slobbered all over your hand. Half of them died just as you finally decided on a name for them!
One winter, we had a lamb called Billy. Then came Jilly, Willy, Milly, Dilly, Lily, and Willy Nilly. In the mornings my sister and I would walk out the back of the house armed with four baby bottles each. Instantly the little bleating hoardes would descend. We were quite skilled at feeding all of them simultaneously, two bottles in each hand.
Then even more lambs arrived at our little refuge. Luckily a few passed on to the big pasture in the sky, so we could recycle the ridiculous Illy names. The ones that survived got older and fatter and woollier and they followed us around absolutely everywhere. If you ignored them, they would stomp on your feet. They would sneak inside the yard and eat the roses. If you didn't feed them early enough they would clip clop along the verandah and bash their noses against the bedroom window, bleating endlessly until you got up.
That was the point at which enough was enough and we sent them off to the sheep sales or our stepdad decided the freezer was getting a bit low and we needed some more chops and lamb roasts. The sheep sale thing was good, back then we used to get about $30 per sheep, which was big bucks for a 12 year old! The money was our reward for feeding the smelly bastards for so long. And if the outcome was lamb roast, well you just smothered it in mint sauce and tried to forget that it once had a name!