Making Bonemeal While Vegan

Sometimes I work in a cafe.  This cafe is not vegan, but I am.  I actually quite enjoy working there: it pays minimum wage, the other people who work there are cheerful and straightforward, you do the job, you clean up, and you go home.  It's simple and (the non-vegan-ness notwithstanding) you're doing some good for the world.  The cafe belongs to the organisation I work for on a slightly more regular basis in a bureaucratic capacity, which is a care provider for people with disabilities.  The customers at the cafe are service users and their carers, so you meet some interesting people and don't have to deal too much with the "general public", which is something I'm not very good at and really do not enjoy.  Sometimes I feel more fulfilled, making Christmas cards with the mentally ill...


Sometimes chicken is on the menu, and knowing that I own some cats (not for much longer, details to follow) the other staff there will sometimes remember to provide some "scraps" of chicken for me to take home.  The cats like this very much, and then I'm left with a pile of bones.  What to do?

Here's what to do: make your own bonemeal.  Bonemeal is great for your plants and your garden, or so I've read.  I add mine to my compost pile.  Here's how you make it.

Dem bones dem bones dem
1.  Boil the bones for about five minutes to remove all remaining meat etc.  Give them a rinse.  Allow to cool and pick off as much non-bone material as possible.

2.  Spread out the bones on a plate and microwave on high power for about 7 minutes.

3.  Leave to sit for 5 minutes, then microwave again for another 7 minutes.  Repeat once.


4.  Allow the bones to cool.  They should now be dry...as a bone.  Hahaha.  They should be very brittle at this point.

5.  Wrap inside a tea towel and smash repeatedly with a hammer.  The tea towel (or equivalent) is important because flying bone fragments are not the sort of thing you want in your eye.  Goggles may also be advantageous.  Do what's necessary to avoid flying bone fragments, is what I'm saying.  (This is advice that applies in day-to-day life as well as this specific context).

Now hear the word of the lord
6.  Keep on smashing until you have nothing left buy tiny pieces of bone and mostly powder.  You might also want to use a pestle for breaking down the smaller pieces, but this is less fun.  As long as you're left predominantly with powder, you're good to go.

7.  This is your bonemeal.  Use accordingly.

Some vegan considerations:

Somewhere in the region of 50 billion chickens are bred, reared and killed on this planet every year, by and for humans.  That is an inconceivably large number of pretty much anything, not to mention living, sentient beings.  Almost all of these chickens are intensively or "factory" farmed, meaning their lives are nothing but misery and suffering from beginning to end.  Make no mistake about this: it would have been better for these creatures never to have existed at all.  Would the humans we need to feed have starved without them?  Unlikely.  Africa and Asia consume well below the worldwide average of poultry per person per year, although it is rising faster in "developing" countries.  The environmental benefits of humanity ceasing "meat" consumption would be enormous (although initially it would hit poorer countries the hardest - but this can be said about almost any drastic and immediate change in human behaviour: wealth also means protection, though only in the short term, since rich and poor alike share the same planet).  There is also ample evidence that we could feed more people, more efficiently, with lower environmental costs, on a plant-based diet than on an animal-based one.  I've provided just a few links here: I'd advise you to do some googling of your own if you're sceptical.  (I'd also advise to be sceptical, if you're not sceptical).

So for now, at least, there is an excess of chicken bones in the world.  The only really appropriate response for a vegan to this horror, is to put those we encounter to some use.  It will of course be of absolutely no comfort at all to those who suffered and died, but it will return them to the earth, and so allow them to play a part in the emergence of new life.  This is something.

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