Thursday, August 12, 2010

On the liquid diet

In the 30 seconds or so that it took for me to retrieve my camera, the spider had firmly wrapped its prey in a dense cocoon of silk. 

Although tightly bound, the hornet was very much alive.

I don't mind spiders as I'd much prefer to have them in the vicinity than hordes of flies and mosquitoes. I tend to think of them as natural pest control measures. But I'll admit that I was not without sympathy when the spider moved in to inject a lethal dose of venom. It was not a quick death.
I thought about suffering a lot before our trip to Africa last year. I'm sufficiently far enough removed from the death of the animals we eat as food to find the process of dying (even for consumption) and perhaps more importantly, the suffering,  to be relatively appalling. Or maybe appalling is the wrong word. Significantly disturbed might be a better explanation. In Africa, our guide explained that a cape buffalo, taken down by lions, might live for several hours. It's only when the lions have started consuming the vital organs (after eating their way through the rest of the animal), that the buffalo will finally succumb. He said that the bellowing of the buffalo would go on for hours. I worried about seeing the "Circle of Life" play out on safari. Maybe if I didn't see it, I could pretend that it didn't happen each and every day? I don't know. I suppose we often apply the same standard of thinking to the food we eat. 

We never did see a kill in Botswana so my theories weren't put to the test. I'm not sure if I was relieved or disappointed.