The other day I was talking to the family at dinner, and my host father Agusto, who works in veterinary services, starts telling what he thinks is a charming story about a donkey:
Agusto: This one man had a donkey who was really, really old, so he could hardly do anything. But he was smart. They had no idea how smart this donkey was until one day he fell into a deep hole that he couldn't get out of. Well, since he was so old and was probably going to die soon, they decided to just throw dirt on him right there. But you know what? The donkey was so smart that as soon as the dirt started to come down, the donkey started to wriggle himself and stomp on the ground. And so what do you think happened? As the ground rose, the donkey rose with it, until he was high enough that he could climb out!
My host Dad looks very pleased with the antics of this donkey.
I'm thinking, Wait wait, go back...
Me: Wait, they started to throw dirt on the donkey...while he was alive?
Agusto: Yes, he was so old.
Me: So they were going to bury him alive?!?!
My host parents chuckle and exchange amused glances. Agusto says to my host mom: Look how much she loves animals that she's so concerned about that donkey!
Me: Well yeah, but I don't know if that means I love animals so much. They didn't even shoot him first?
Agusto. He would have died eventually.
Me: Well yes, but that would be a horrible death!
My host mom repeats me, still laughing: a horrible death!
C'mon, you're on my side, right? Bury a donkey alive, when you could at the very least end it's pain and not allow it to suffocate to death?
I don't think my disgust with the idea means I should go out right now and join a PETA demonstration!!