As I sit here with my laptop, I am surrounded by three dogs (two ancient) one Cavalier three years old and two rescued puppies, one newly adopted and one we are fostering until a new family can be found. I am working. The furry souls in various degrees of slumber are aware of this, and are simply keeping me company as I work.
The relationship between man and beast has been well documented throughout history. Various domestic animals such as dogs and cats rescuing owners from all manner of treacherous situations. And then there are the day to day loving exchanges that have made Britain a nation known for it’s caring attitude towards animal welfare work.
Why then I’ve often wondered, can people who understand and acknowledge so well the needs and individual personalities of domestic animals, choose to disregard the fate and suffering of non-domestic animals so readily? Is the Sunday roast so very important?
Cows in particular are known to have very individual personalities and idiocyncricies. Take for example the dairy cow Kalindi, who lived and died peacefully at Bhaktivedante Manor in 1994.
Despite never having given birth to a calf, Kalindi happily gave eight litres of milk a day, for ten years. Of course Kalindi’s life was idyllic for a cow. No barren barn, artificial light and grain peppered with antibiotics and chemicals for her. She was free to wander green pastures and in wintertime given fresh hay, fresh air, vegetables, visitors to pass the time of day with and gentle hand milking twice a day. The special relationships that exist between the milking staff and cows has also been well documented.
Education then, must be seen as the key to ending the suffering of so many animals. People must be gently brought to the realization that the dog that they have formed a loving bond with, who many consider a family member and best friend is no different from the dairy cow. Except of course she is often forced to spend her shortened life in a barn, never seeing the sunshine only to end her days forced onto a truck packed with other terrified cows and then painfully slaughtered.
We must also be willing to pay a fair price for our dairy products. This will ensure a more “fair” lifestyle for our cows, and eventually we hope access for all to slaughter-free dairy products.
Yesterday I made a large pan of delicious Summer Stew with dumplings. I used all the delicious organic vegetables from the garden, marrow, green beans, potatoes, spinach and tomatoes and fluffy herbed dumplings on top. Several meat eating guests commented on how delicious the meal was and how meat was totally unnecessary to the satisfaction of the meal. (Lentils and spinch provided a healthy portion of iron and protein.) This is how we educate. Not with “shocking tapes of the cruelty of slaughter houses.” In the long term I’ve found people don’t relate their food choices to that.
Lets educate with examples of good choices. Cook, serve and then pass along a copy of your favorite veggie cookbook. “The Higher Taste” is my favorite. And when the company are licking their lips and complimenting you on the meal they’re enjoying you can throw in: “No animals were harmed in the making of this meal!” Get’s them every time!