The Circle of Life. Or Meat.

*cues theme song to The Lion King*

Do you remember the cows? At the time there was a bit of debate as to the fate of the two cows grazing in the field near my house. My mother finally ended the discussion when she announced they were beef cows and wouldn’t be around much longer.

That was in July. Since then I’ve watched the field, anxious for the day they disappeared.

About two weeks ago, three baby cows appeared in the far end of the field in a separate, fenced-off area. My first fear was that they were veal cows. There was a veal farm near my high school and every time we went into town I’d cringe at the tiny cow houses (like dog houses and not much bigger) where these animals lived. I don’t know a lot about raising veal, but my understanding is they keep them in there so they can’t get very big. Rows and rows of houses. Very depressing. It’s also why veal is the only meat I refuse to eat.

Anyway, I was nervous that was the fate for these cows (because being slaughtered as an adult is so much better, but it seems like infanticide…) but even more worried about the two grown cows. Oh wait, I said two, didn’t I? There used to be three, but at some point their numbers were reduced by one. Labor Day picnic, perhaps?

The two cows remained in the larger field, but some days I’d notice them close to the fence, like they were talking to the babies. Maybe they were telling them how to plot an escape. I knew it was only a matter of time before they’d be gone, but that didn’t lessen the surprise the day I came home and the three baby cows were grazing in the front field, looking a little overwhelmed.

They’ve got big shoes to fill.

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


  1. ab

    The vet that I worked for in FL – his wife told me about their 1st date. He ordered veal & she was appalled & almost didn’t give him a 2nd date!! That one is high on my peeves list too. Hopefully you can watch these babies for a long time 🙂

  2. mary hart

    My brother Bob who lives in Enterprise, OR for the past four years raises two or three Black Angus cattle in his pasture for his family and his neighbors. He is a huge animal lover but has always wanted to raise his own food. His thinking is he is going to eat meat anyway, this way, he knows they have a good life for the amount of time they are around. Nice grassy pastures, good grain, lots of fresh water, not crowded. As far as not getting attached, e was told the trick was not to name them although Jody called (the first pair) Burger and Steak. They are very curious and if you go near the fence they usually wander over to see what’s up. Bob told me that when he goes into the pasture to move them to another pasture, they just follow behind him like puppies. He cannot however bring himself to do the actual slaughtering and butchering. Someone comes to slaughter, then they haul them away and they come back in nice neat little packages.

  3. Allen

    When I was growing up, we had three little pigs named Pit Cooked, Ribs, and Barbecue. I must admit I liked Ribs the best, but PC was almost as delicious.


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