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City girl dates rural boy - ethical issues bothering me, thoughts?

(132 Posts)
Kefalonia1 Mon 23-Jan-17 00:19:27

I have seeing my boyfriend for 4 months and have never dated a guy from a rural place before. He grew up on a farm so I feel is quite desensitised to the general killing of animals - he does eat a lot of meat and that's fine, as I'm not veggie but do like to balance things out with veggie meals which he says he is really open to.

Anyway, the issue. Up until now I have seen him as an animal lover - seen him interacting with animals on the farm, peoples pets etc. He gave me an Attenborough DVD to borrow and he gets quite gooey over the animals.

A few days ago he said something that shocked me - basically that foxes are 'vermin' citing chickens they steal from farms etc. I love foxes and grew up in a family that is fond of our urban foxes (I know this issue is not widely shared). Although he said he disagrees with the cruelty of fox hunting with dogs etc. Then we were talking about people who wear fur and he said it didn't really bother him/he hadn't thought about it much before. Well it bothered me because I would never wear fur and find it unethical to do so - electrocuting live animals and then slaying them alive anyone? shock

In the end my boyfriend, who hates conflict (and I dislike it too until/if I feel passionately about something) said we should just 'avoid' the topic. But to me I feel he is condoning cruelty to animals? And in another way I am trying to see how his point of view might differ to mine because of his upbringing?

But yeah, I haven't introduced him to my family yet and if he said any of that stuff to them that would be it I think. I am meant to be having a nice dinner with him tomorrow but this is still really bothering me..what are your thoughts?

theaveragewife Mon 23-Jan-17 00:22:43

You can't change him and you shouldn't try to. If it's a deal breaker then leave him....I think you sound quite young and you don't need to put up with someone you don't share the same values as....plenty of time for that in the future.

PitilessYank Mon 23-Jan-17 00:27:14

Well, I guess I think that you might focus on his actions, instead?

If he does not wear fur, is that acceptable enough?

I am married to a man some of whose political beliefs are contrary to mine. However, he does not vote (long story), he treats all people very decently, and he does not object when I donate family money to my favorite causes.

pringlecat Mon 23-Jan-17 00:31:23

I don't think either of you have 'wrong' views on foxes - you've both had different experiences. The foxes that have terrorised his livestock aren't the same foxes that have gently padded through your concrete neighbourhood.

Re fur, are you sure he's saying he thinks it's OK for animals to be tortured for fur? He's said he hasn't thought about it before, so perhaps it's not occurred to him that the way some people obtain fur isn't anywhere near as humane as the way he rears animals for meat.

When people don't think too deeply about things, they tend to assume others have their own same minimum standards as a starting point. There is such a thing as ethically sourced fur. If he goes 'gooey' over cute animals, it seems like a leap to suggest he would be comfortable with animal cruelty.

ExplodedCloud Mon 23-Jan-17 00:31:48

I'm vegetarian. Of all meat eaters, I have the least problem with those who can rear, butcher and eat the animals. There's a disconnect between farming and food that needs to be acknowledged.
Mind, fur would make me cross as we don't need it anymore. Electrocution before death is better than just cracking on with killing a sentient animal.
Foxes are predators. They will kill. They shouldn't be torn apart alive by dogs though. I am anti hunt but have no romanticism about foxes.
It's up to you. I'd rather date an honest carnivore than one in denial.

QuiltedAloeVera Mon 23-Jan-17 00:32:00

I once found myself talking to a farmer in a pub who told me that seventeen of his lambs had been killed by a fox the night before. Not to eat, just killed and left. They do need to be controlled, if you want to eat meat.

The fur thing - maybe he is less aware of fur-farming practices and thinks it's on a par with leather?

I think that you may be being a little unfair to him, and a little unrealistic. If all farmers were highly sensitive regarding the thought of animals dying, you would never have had the chance to eat meat in your life.

Kefalonia1 Mon 23-Jan-17 00:32:04

PitilessYank - he says he wouldn't wear fur. To both you and averagewife, he votes for the same political party as me and is even a party member which is more than I am. So we share some values, but this one does bother me...

He treats me very well (better than probably anyone has actually) but I was thinking, imagine I ended up with this guy and he called the local fox 'vermin' around our kids?! shock yeah ok so that's thinking very far ahead, but you get what I mean...

QuiltedAloeVera Mon 23-Jan-17 00:35:57

I just googled the definition of 'vermin' to double check.

"Wild animals, believed to cause damage to crops, farm animals or game"

Sounds about right to me.

pieceofpurplesky Mon 23-Jan-17 00:35:56

But if your hypothetical kids live on a farm they will see foxes as vermin too. It's not a pretty sight when a fox has got in to the chickens. Country folk like me have seen what happens. I love to see foxes but I totally get that farmers need to protect animals and foxes are vicious little buggers

QuiltedAloeVera Mon 23-Jan-17 00:38:08

It's not necessary to agree with everything your partner believes to have a good relationship, you just have to believe that someone can think differently to you without being stupid or evil.

annandale Mon 23-Jan-17 00:38:47

He sounds worth your time to actually find out why he thinks these things. Don't panic, just notice where you differ.

Important not to avoid the topic, but also important that it's not the only thing you talk about!

FrancisCrawford Mon 23-Jan-17 00:40:05

Foxes are vermin.

You might like foxes, but you can't deny they are vermin.

How would you feel if you discovered he found your romanticising of foxes around your potential children very upsetting?

AssassinatedBeauty Mon 23-Jan-17 00:44:36

Foxes do what wild animals do. Farmers are responsible for protecting the animals they want to use and slaughter from those foxes. If their chickens or lambs get killed it's the farmers fault for not protecting them well enough. Vermin is just a word for an animal that inconveniences humans.

If this clash of beliefs bothers you, it's likely his family and friends all have the same attitude. Could you cope with that long term?

TwentyCups Mon 23-Jan-17 00:46:27

You sound a bit hypocritical to me. You are happy to eat the meat from farmers - so you need to accept all the stages that get that meat on your plate (including killing foxes) or go vegan or vegetarian.

7SunshineSeven7 Mon 23-Jan-17 00:58:08

Do you wear leather shoes or boots?

I agree with TwentyCups.

Kefalonia1 Mon 23-Jan-17 01:01:10

"The fox is sometimes referred to as vermin, but it is not, and never has been categorised as such by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)." A similar statement is issued on the council website where I live.

annandale I think you might be correct. At least I have observed we differ because of our upbringings. Actually I have farming in my background too (one generation further back) and never heard that view expressd. Maybe just by chance, I don't know. Not sure if I could cope long term or not - I want to undersrand his feelings better but he wants to avoid it so how can I? It's finding that boundary where I can be like ok, let's agree to disagree OR this vehemently clashes against what I believe in.

Kefalonia1 Mon 23-Jan-17 01:02:40

7SunshineSeven7 - yes I wear leather boots. But I have no problem with leather clothes/hide used as a by product of a cow used for meat. It is a different story RE animals raised SOLELY for the purpose of fur/vanity and often undergoing quite terrible torture in the name of it.

ExplodedCloud Mon 23-Jan-17 01:04:06

Somehow I missed you aren't even a vegetarian. You're a hypocritical fluffy nonsense. Eating meat and romanticising foxes? Get a grip.

Kefalonia1 Mon 23-Jan-17 01:09:24

ExplodedCloud I have made an effort to cut my intake to eating meat only 2-3 times a week as much as possible for the past 1 1/2 years. My main gripe is that I don't agree with inhumane treatment of animals for the sake of vanity as opposed to life/sustenance. How is that fluffy nonsense?

GardenGeek Mon 23-Jan-17 01:12:05

See I have quite an unconventional view on this. I am an animal lover as much as an environment lover, and a sustainability freak.

Here is where I find the issue...

- You eat meat - so you may as well use the by-products. Its wasteful not too and not very environmentally friendly to be wasteful.

- You probably don't lambast every person wearing leather shoes or a leather jacket - its the same thing.

- IMO fur is the most sustainable, waterproof and warm natural fabric in this world. If we embraced it we would have a lot less elderly or poorer people killed from winter cold.

- Vintage fur, roadkill fur, fur from animals killed for other purposes, environmental control fur (ie. American Minks culled annually in UK) I would rather get put to good use than thrown on a bonfire to burn more CO2 into the air.

- He's a farmer, so a fox he won't see like a city dweller. Fox raids your bins, you think aww bless him. Fox raids his farm and eats his chickens and worries his sheep to the extent they miscarriage etc. But as PP say thats his problem not the foxes. Wild animals do what they want.

- I also have a real issue with production of fabrics overall. Everyone thinks its so much better for humanity to use synthetic fibres (fossil fuel), cotton (mass homogenous farming) and wool (mass homogenous farming of soya in the rainforest to feed mass homogenous farming of sheep in UK).

So its like trying to square a circle really. People who are anti-fur usually haven't actually thought it through properly. They got as far as the horrific torturous farming of animals and thought no further to all the other scenarios in which fur exists.

Seeingadistance Mon 23-Jan-17 01:12:15

Foxes are vermin. Very good looking and appealing vermin, but vermin all the same. I grew up on a farm, and I have a close friend who is a dairy farmer. Last year he lost 3 or 4 calves and a couple of cows to foxes. The cows were attacked while they were giving birth, so very vulnerable. He found the two cows still alive so horribly injured that they had to be put down as soon as the vet could come. The foxes had started to eat the calves as they were being born, and ate the back end of the cows. My friend was really distressed and upset by what happened to his livestock, and he had to deal with what he found. Your knowledge of foxes and animal welfare is distant, but my friend and your boyfriend have had to deal with the brutal reality of what foxes are capable of.

7SunshineSeven7 Mon 23-Jan-17 01:13:49

Actually not all leather is a by product of meat farming.

You care about the cute fluffy animals but not about all animals. You can't pick and choose parts of morals you want to have.

Kefalonia1 Mon 23-Jan-17 01:22:27

Seeingadistance - Can I ask out of curiousity: how is it possible for a fox to simply grab hold of cows that are giving birth and/or snatch chickens from a coup? Is it not up to the farmer to safely secure all the animals?

While I can of course see why my boyfriend would have the view that foxes are a complete nuisance/major inconvenience to livelihood, they are just trying to survive like every other living thing on the planet (IE. they are not born to be malicious). But it's the fact he's not bothered about other animals that are hunted for fur, I'm thinking mink etc and many of them are horribly tortured. If leather is considerably less ethical than I've been led to believe then I'll be surprised...but I'll look into it anyway. Interesting responses so far!

Seeingadistance Mon 23-Jan-17 01:22:52

Perhaps you need to bear in mind that you and your boyfriend have very different experiences of and knowledge about certain things. Urban life and rural life are very different - I've experienced both. You seem to be taking the line that your position is the right one, and no doubt it is right for you, but something that for you is largely idealistic and not based in lived reality, is very different for your boyfriend who is much closer to the issue at hand.

ExplodedCloud Mon 23-Jan-17 01:24:06

You can live perfectly well without eating meat or consuming their by products. Fur in our climate is a nonsense. Don't get sentimental about electrocution before slaughter.
You eat the animals. He farms them.
He doesn't farm fur does he?

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