I know many ethical people who agree in principle that slaughtering animals is wrong. Killing them for food also “seems” morally wrong they’ll nod, as they wander into a fast food restaurant and begin chewing on chicken bones or eating ground cows in the form of a greasy burger?
Could it be that they don’t equate the cooked “meat” they’re happily munching; with the terrified, screaming being, fighting hopelessly for it’s life that the “meat” was, days previously?
Vedic literature, 5000 years old states, “One should treat animals such as deer, camels, asses, monkeys, mice, snakes, birds and flies exactly like one’s own son. How little difference there actually is between children and these innocent animals.” Srimad Bhagavatam 7: 14-9
The Christian Bible also states “Thou shalt not kill.” Interestingly, it was not translated “Thou shalt not murder thy fellow man.” “Killing” seems to be talking about “all.”
A committed veggie I know happily states that meat eaters “should” be allowed to eat meat. He then adds, as long as they slaughter it themselves of course. There are very few (actually hardly any) meat-eating friends I know, who would be capable of this. That’s his point I suppose, but perhaps we can convert simply by the aroma, taste and uniqueness of meat-free food, rather than by trying to shock?
Many years ago another vegetarian friend prided himself on arriving to dinner, then announcing he was “Vegetarian” before the gathering (no doubt from a lofty height.) As there was no food he felt he could eat, he would proceed to munch a raw broccoli or cauliflower from the host’s frig. Meanwhile the company sat with him, self-conciously tucking into the prepared meal, with guilt-ridden apetites. I often wondered why he didn’t quietly tell the host beforehand, that he was veggie, and then offer to bring some food along to share, perhaps as an appetizer? This works very well, and people often ask you for the recipe!
Two cows in our herd are due to give birth in the next few weeks. We eagerly await the arrival of our newest members. If they’re female they’ll eventually join their mothers as dairy cows and the boys will eventually take their places as trained oxen. A quite different outcome than that of most calves. They’re usually sent to slaughter-houses soon after birth. The mother is beside herself with grief and we can only imagine what the baby goes through.
I believe education and not shock or belittlement is the key to moving towards a sustainable, vegetarian planet. When we begin to treat each other, human or other species with respect and appreciation for our uniqueness, we will be on our way. In the words of Steve Best:
“I define terrorism as any intentional act to injure or kill a living, sentient, innocent being for scientific, political or economic purposes.”
I presume “food” is one of the economical purposes he speaks of?