You know, if I were to ask myself this question, I always thought the answer was “yes”. I care about people, I loathe injustices, dishonesty, and corruption; I vouch for the kind, meek, and humble.
But do I really?
If I’m to be honest with myself, the answer is, “No! I cannot say that I vouch for the kind, meek and humble.”
Why is that?
A simple reason.
I eat meat.
I LOVE meat. Bacon, steak, porkchops, chicken, seafood, sausage, brisket, turkey, etc., etc., etc. All types of meat, you name it. Even animal byproducts: eggs (which I consider meat), cheese, milk – even honey. And then, of course, you have the multitude of other products that contain these items:
egg: mayonnaise, baked goods, ice cream, pasta, salad dressing, and more.
milk, cheese, butter: packaged foods – like rice, pasta, seasonings, mashed potatoes, etc.
honey: not just used for foods and drinks, but can also be used for: lotions, face masks, lip balm, hair care, etc.
So why is this such a conundrum?
It started from a simple search on youtube. I asked myself, “What does it mean to be a compassionate person?”
As usual when searching on youtube, one thing led to another, and another, until I came across a few videos about how we treat animals. I watched a video from James Aspey – “This Speech Will Change Your Life”, and it certainly was a wake-up call to my hubris of thinking I was a truly compassionate person.
How can I, a person who strives to be compassionate and kind, justify myself into taking part in the meat market to continue and thrive? Even after knowing how cruelly they treat animals?
Well, the answer is, I can’t.
I know some of the counter-arguments:
- God intended for man to eat animals.
- Animals don’t feel pain and don’t know any better. Silly.
- We need meat for health reasons.
- We need to eat animals so they don’t over populate the world.
- They’re mass produced for easier and cheaper marketing. And it’s convenient.
- It’s a way of life. We were raised and conditioned to eat meat. Plus it tastes good.
And each point of these can be addressed with the exact reasons why it’s incorrect or misconstrued.
- (God intended for man to eat animals.) – If one is to take the word of the Bible literally, it is unmistakable that there are passages that will be misconstrued, mistranslated, misunderstood, etc. We have to come to terms that while most of us have been conditioned to believe that every word in the Bible is true, and while a lot of us want to believe in something “set in stone” to trust and have faith in, the fact of the matter is that the Bible being corrupted could be a very real possibility.
How do we know that this hasn’t happened already? Or that these verses weren’t changed, mistranslated, or just completely made up, etc., etc.?
Which is why “discernment”, with or without the Bible’s advice, is a very important skill to develop. Besides, there are plenty of atheists who reject animal cruelty and are vegetarians/vegans. Mostly because of pure, genuine, moral ethics. Which is the key point. Even if we were “allowed” to eat the flesh of animals, one must ask themselves how we would feel if we were in place of those animals: “Would I be okay with another being gorging on my flesh, and killing me in a most brutal way to get it?”
I’d like to think most of us would say no.
And yes, humans were once considered the only conscious beings, (which as scientific research has finally concluded, is false) so that gives us the choice to choose between being an omnivore, carnivore, herbivore. Animals, on the other hand, act more of a natural instinct – (by the way, humans are animals too…) – which begs the questions: If us humans keep giving ourselves credit that we’re the most evolved species on the planet, then why are humans the main pollutant and corruption of Earth? Why are there so many extinct animals thanks to the hands of humans?
…I digress (for now). On to the next topic…
- (Animals don’t feel pain and don’t know any better. Silly.) – Lol. I don’t even know where to start with this one. As anyone who has ever owned a pet, or has legitimately loved an animal or animals can attest, animals most certainly do feel pain, suffering, fear, love, sorrow, happiness, compassion… I honestly don’t know what to say to people who don’t believe that animals have emotions. Instead, I’m just going to show a few videos that might shed some light into it:
If, after watching these videos, one can still assume that animals don’t have emotions, then there must be something wrong with you. 🙁 Please see a therapist.
These videos show the gamut of emotions that animals have, including but not limited to: compassion for not only their own species, but that of others as well (such as the beautiful sweet-hearted dog that was trying to save the fishes by pushing water on to them with it’s nose – and the cat that saved a fish’s life by pushing it back into it’s aquarium. Not to mention the group of hippos that came to the rescue of a buffalo being attacked by a couple of crocodiles), love, excitement, concern, protectiveness, defensiveness, sadness, happiness, etc.
It also shows their thinking process; as when the two adult elephants were trying to save the baby elephant: instead of falling automatically into the water, they were smart enough to go around to the entrance of the water, so as to not hurt themselves. And the primate that was trying to save the bird: used an ingenius method by using a leaf for the bird to latch on to, to pull the bird up.
These are incredible insights into the minds of animals, and, consciousness or not, these animals show more kindness and compassion than some humans. And not just for their own species! Yet here humans are… being so divisive of skin color and cultural backgrounds and religious/political affiliations… I digress again.
I do want to mention on the flip side, eating healthy is a matter of self-control and discipline. Yes, one can be vegan and still be very unhealthy – as certain foods such as potatoes, rice – other starchy items aren’t good for you in large doses. And chocolate… lovely chocolate…
Plus deep fried foods? Definitely not healthy.
The point is, one can eat healthy without meat. It might not be easy, especially at first. We’re all conditioned to ignore the fact that certain things come from animals – and it depends on if you choose to be vegetarian or vegan. A vegan lifestyle is more strict, depending on the level you strive for: the strictest vegan will refuse to eat or use anything that comes from an animal, or even anything that has been tested on an animal.
Thankfully, there are tons of websites and cookbooks that help us with our shopping decisions and substitutions into the dishes we already love. Again, I love meat – cheeseburgers, meat lover’s pizza, I love eggs, the list goes on and on. The question I need to ask myself is, “Do I love the taste of these foods more than I love animals?” My answer is a resounding no. Which means I need to get on the road to changing my lifestyle not only for a clearer conscience, but also to no longer have a hand in the slaughter of billions/trillions of innocent animals.
And some might ponder, “Well, just because you don’t eat it doesn’t mean it’s still not in demand and that millions of others won’t continue to do it. So why not?” And perhaps you’re right. But just one more person to consciously make the decision to not eat meat might plant the seed for others to try it differently as well. Soon, it might help humanity reach the decision that to kill animals for food is extremely unnecessary in our day and age with as much abundance we have in other crops and produce.
- (We need to eat and hunt animals so they don’t over populate the world.) – Hm… I’m sure this reason is purely altruistic. What do you think?
The argument that we need to keep the animal population in check is an oversight. It’s an oversight to ignore the many animals that were killed, all in the name of sport – including a lot of large predators that would reduce the population of smaller animals quite naturally. Which would help keep the “circle of life” in a balanced, neutral, food-chain sort of environment.
If it weren’t for us over-hunting animals, I would say there’s a good chance that most animal species would prosper instead of going extinct due to either the aforementioned hunting, which in turn would take food away from the larger animals, thus perpetuating a shortage of food for them – resulting in them dying out from hunger, and so on and so forth.
And do I need to mention how many animals have been killed off or forced from their habitat due to the invasion of people building cities, establishments, paving roads, etc., etc., etc.? Or from people introducing a new animal species to an already existing habitat, only for that species to drive out or kill the current one?
Most of the animal species which have gone extinct are due to human hands – directly or indirectly:
These Animals Went Extinct in the Last 100 Years – animalsake.com
And due to the importance of the next article, I felt it prudent to include the complete, extremely long title (I took liberties with highlighting a keypoint in this title):
Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’: Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’ / Current global response insufficient; ‘Transformative changes’ needed to restore and protect nature;
Opposition from vested interests can be overcome for public good / Most comprehensive assessment of its kind; 1,000,000 species threatened with extinction – ipbes.net
- (They’re mass produced for easier and cheaper marketing. And it’s convenient.)
- (It’s a way of life. We were raised and conditioned to eat meat. Plus it tastes good.)
For both of these points, I want to mention again, just because something is “acceptable” in society, or “easy” (everyone does it, so why not?) does not mean it’s a good idea. After all, in the past, slavery was a normal part of society – did that make it right? NO. In some countries, the practice of child marriages and arranged marriages still takes place. Does it make it right? NO. The Bible has a lot of incredulous rules that today would be considered barbaric punishment. Do we still practice them today? In some countries, sadly yes. But generally, NO.
We can’t keep using the excuse that it’s “normal” or “acceptable” to justify the actions to continue a certain “way of life”. Besides, who ultimately makes the decisions of what we can consider normal or who gives a nation/country permission to change the laws and decide what is “right” and “wrong”? There are too many government/scientific laws and rules that I believe actually infringe upon our rights as human beings, not to mention the laws “regulated” on animals’ rights. I won’t go into those topics in this post, since that would derail the subject even further.
In all honesty, I think the most truthful answer one can give as to why they will continue to eat meat, is simply that it tastes good. I can’t say I blame them. Being conditioned to eat meat and the variety of ways it cooks: grilled, simmered, pan-fried, baked, stewed, broiled, slow-cooked, etc. etc., it’s no wonder it’s a hard lifestyle to turn away from.
Perhaps it’s an addiction of sorts. But after all, it’s not like it’s known for causing cancer, like cigarettes; an actual addictive item. Sure meat can cause some health problems in certain people, especially if the consumption is not moderated, but generally, meat is relatively healthy – and tastes great to boot.
So the main factor comes down to, again, how compassionate are we? How willing are we to put aside our desire for flesh, for the welfare of consciously aware animals?
How to Feel Compassion for the Animals
I attempted to watch a video on youtube about slaughterhouses. I didn’t even last 23 seconds. And I closed my eyes before the first kill. This tells me that if I feel compassion for these animals, as we all should for any living being, then I should not be supporting this “meat market”. I will not post the video, I will leave that for every individual to decide on their own if they want to search it out and watch them. But beware. If you want to look into these, they show the very real and heartbreaking ways that animals are brutally treated and killed all in order to support our taste buds.
Of course one could say, “Well, sucks to be an animal. I’m glad I’m not one.” but let me propose this:
During my studies and research and my own experiences, I truly believe in the “life review” that we will all eventually see. Not only will we see the actions that we’ve done in this life, but we will also feel the actions that we have imposed on others, as if we are experiencing it ourselves. Some testimonies even claim that they were given clear instructions on what our purpose is here on this Earth.
A few examples of this are below:
“I heard a voice say to me ‘You have not fulfilled your purpose here.’
“And I said, ‘What was my purpose?’… I didn’t have a clue. I truly didn’t have a clue — how to live, what life was about, what it was to be a man, what my goals or purpose could have been. So I said ‘What was my purpose?’
“And this voice says to me, ‘The same as every man. You were put on the Earth to take care of the Earth…’ We, as men, are here to take care of the Earth. That’s one of our responsibilities, as men. It was very personal. He said, ‘You’re not to strip mine the Earth. You’re not to pollute the Earth. You’re not to destroy your home.’ And I was being indicted because I was responsible. I was a litterer. I was one that didn’t care about nature or the environment at all. And this was a beautiful home that God had created for me to live and enjoy.
“And He said, ‘Secondly, you’re here for the animals. They look up to you. You’re the one with the spirit. You’re the one with reason, with intelligence, with the strength to change things, the ability to protect them and take care of them and do for them. They don’t have that ability. And yet you destroy species after species.’ And I knew that I was responsible, partly responsible. I had hunted for sport. I had no concern for animals. I never showed any compassion — I didn’t have any compassion for animals or men.
“And He said, ‘Thirdly and most importantly, you’re here for each other. And you — this imperative, YOU — I sent to be part of the answer. You’ve just been part of the problem…’ And He began to try to teach me…”
“EVERYTHING I ever thought, did, said, hated, helped, did not help, should have helped was shown in front of me, the crowd of hundreds and everyone like a movie. How mean I’d been to people, how I could have helped them, how mean I was (unintentionally also) to animals! Yes! Even the animals had feelings. It was horrible. I fell on my face in shame. I saw how my acting, or not acting, rippled in effect towards other people and their lives. It wasn’t until then, that I understood how each little decision or choice affects the World.”
“You will be responsible for yourself, judging and reliving what you have done to everything and everybody in very far-reaching ways. Very small, seemingly inconsequential things such as the day when I, nine years old, walked through Seneca Park and loved the appearance of a tree. In my life review I could experience a bit of what the tree experienced in my loving it, two little photons of love and adoration. It was somewhat like the leaves acknowledging my presence.
Can a tree experience that? Yes, it can. Don’t go kicking trees anymore! You do have that effect on plants. You do have an effect on animals. You do have an effect on the universe. And in your life review you’ll be the universe and experience yourself in what you call your lifetime and how it affects the universe.”
– Thomas Sawyer ( near-death.com )
Of course we can’t just take the above testimonies for their word. Some could be fabricated, exaggerated, etc. But in conjunction with all of the other evidence – especially videos that show how animals interact with each other and other species, including us humans, it can no longer be denied that animals do, indeed, feel and go through the same emotions that we do.
And we have to ask ourselves, “What kind of fear and helplessness are these poor creatures going through, when they’re being mass-killed all in the name of our gratification?” “How would we feel, if we were in their place? Seeing our kin brutally slaughtered and knowing that we were next?”
These are questions I implore people to ponder before they buy their next meat package – knowing that the poor, innocent animal that unwillingly provided it was in so much fear and torment at the hands of the very species that was meant to protect them.
Not eating animals is probably going to be very hard for most people, especially if they enjoy the taste and it’s a normal part of their family/social life. To deviate from that is going to take willpower, dedication, and a very conscious awareness of their actions.
For me, I am taking the steps today. I cried watching the brief snippets of the slaughterhouses from the “This Speech Will Change Your Life” video. I do have compassion. As do a lot of people. And just because you eat meat doesn’t mean you don’t. But if I’m going to be the best version of a compassionate person as I can be, then I have to address this issue.
Again, I hope you will join me in at least considering it. And at the very least, spread compassion and love and gratitude for the people and animals/nature in our lives, and the animals/nature who sustain us.
Fact checking is extremely important. I want to reiterate not to take everything at face value; no matter what you read, where you read it from, or who you hear it from. And to be clear, do not rely on “fact checking” websites to give you accurate information either. These are just as likely, (if not even more likely…), to feed false information and false debunking accounts to manipulate the reader. Please take everything into consideration before adhering to a certain narrative – and always keep your mind open to other possibilities.
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