Anyone a question for an ex-mink farmer?
(01-12-2018, 02:02 PM)cassini Wrote: Excellent questions Melkite, ones I hoped would be asked for an understanding of Mink farming.
I will answer 'Are mink intelligent animals?' first.  I know what you mean by 'Intelligence,' and on that ground no. A lifetime of pondering on God's reasons for creating animals has been the rock I have accepted in understanding the relationship between man and animal. I remember when I was 15 asking my Holy Ghost priest teacher if it was a sin to be cruel to animals. He was stunned by such a question, never asked of him before. There followed one of the most interesting debates rarely heard. Believe it or not I think I presented him with the answer rather that his telling us. Yes, the conclusion was that deliberate cruelty to an animal had to be a sin. Before that though we debated what constitutes cruelty which in itself is another profound question. And I will tell you why. We have all seen endless movies of animals in the wild preying on one another. We have see acts that any normal human being would consider cruel, like five lions starting to eat a still alive antelope for instance. Now God created them like so, and we cannot accuse God of being cruel can we? Indeed didn't He say in Genesis that this creation was ALL good!
This being so, I as a believer, had to try to understand why such natural slaughter could not be cruel. And this is where 'intelligence' comes back in. Human intelligence cannot be attributed to animals in the same way. We understand all the aspects of cruelty, the animal or bird must not, note must not, for if animals understood what was happening to them it would undoubtedly be cruel. They feel pain yes, but it a pain without human understanding, simply a natural thing. They do not understand death like a human does, they simply must not think at the time like a human would. This understanding of mine is the only conclusion I can come to when trying to understand God's creation of nature, and His making them subject to mankind.
There is another kind of Intelligence Melkite, the kind you refer to, and that is awareness as to what is going on around them. All animals are given a different awareness, depending on their kind. A dog has to be top of the list. In my experience mink are near the bottom. I never saw a tamed mink doing anything other than their kind of animal was meant to do in God's creation. They are born killers, kill their prey not always for food but for the sake of killing. If a mink gets into a hen house it will kill every chicken in it. Killing for them is normal, just as eating and sleeping is. Mink must be kept separate after culling as they will kill other mink at the drop of a hat. Their only function in God's creation is to kill so as to keep the balance of nature that is essential to prevent chaos, and this balance in nature is what God meant when He says in the Bible, ‘and it was good.’
Mink haven't a clue as to their fate. They were always mindless creatures to me, creatures that did not like to be disturbed. Throughout their lives in a mink farm they are fed and watered every day, provided with boxes of hay or sawdust to sleep and breed in. They show little or no stress in their cage except when they know its feeding time when they run up and down in anticipation of their meal, just as we might rub our hands before we eat a meal. Animal rights people show these movements and say they show mink are going insane and starving.
'How are mink killed' is the question everyone asks. When I first started there were various ways to do this. They can be gassed, injected or killed by breaking their necks. I witnessed all three and came to a decision, one I kept private but will explain it to you. To gas or inject mink to kill then involved time and stress as they were moved to places they did not know. It could take a half an hour to do it. I was able to catch and kill a mink in three seconds. Before it knew what was happening I could dispatch it instantly. Mink farmers used to ask me to do some for them as they all considered it the most humane way of all.

I'm glad to know that they don't seem to be aware of what is happening to them.  Perhaps it's just because I have human intelligence, but it is very...I guess uncomfortable might be the best word...for me to consider that something with a degree of awareness but with a finite soul can cease to exist just like that as a conscious being.  I know that my discomfort with that has more to do with me projecting a human level of awareness on them that may not actually be there.  I suppose if their awareness is as you describe it, they are essentially bionic robots, whose consciousness only lasts as long as they are "turned on."  I think part of that discomfort is also with the thought that, if their souls are finite and cease to exist when their bodily functions do, then there is no natural reason to think that a human soul would exist any longer.  It's not apparent to me that, if the cessation of bodily function coincides with the cessation of their soul's existence, our souls would continue to survive physical death merely because our souls are rational ones.

It also seems entirely forced to suggest that they must not be aware of their ends, because if they were, God would be cruel, and he cannot be cruel.  I understand that this is a position of faith, but it doesn't logically follow that because they die, they must not understand what is happening to them.  There isn't any reason to suggest this other than the intellectual discomfort one would have at realizing that God actually may have some cruelty in him.  You may ultimately be right, but you're jumping to the conclusion that you want to be true, to sustain your belief that God is not cruel, rather than come to an empirical understanding of whether they actually have some concept of their impending oblivion.

The other big problem this poses for me is the concept of death in the context of original sin.  You are saying that mink are designed to kill, and nothing but.  If this is a part of their design, then it is logically impossible that death is something outside of God's design that entered the world because of Adam's sin.  I wasn't aware that there were species whose sole purpose was to cull the population of other species and keep things in order that way.  However, your understanding of the existential purpose of mink as a species fits in very well with an atheistic evolutionary biological understanding of the world.  I repeatedly see things like this that indicates to me that death is a natural, intended part of the order of our world, not a discrepancy that was thrust into it after the fact.  Did this occur to you, and if so, how are you able to reconcile that with your faith?

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RE: Anyone a question for an ex-mink farmer? - by Melkite - 01-12-2018, 06:38 PM

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