Sunday, June 23, 2013

Whether you eat meat or not is your choice. But eat, knowing where the meat comes from and how it arrived at your plate.


Yesterday I posted a link on my FB to tell people about what animals go through in order to serve as food for humans. And guess how many Likes, Share and Comments the post received? Zero. I was talking to a very good friend and she tells me that people just do not want to be confronted with the ugly truth and that such images puts people off. And that there are already too many such animal abuse pictures/videos. She was suggesting that people like to see pictures of cute furry little animals...and I reluctantly agree. although I did wonder why these cute animal pics have not done squat to stop animals from being slaughtered.
However I could not stop thinking about what she said, and in my mind, seeing cute pictures of animals just reinforces the delusions we have of ourselves. We like to see what is cute and we avoid what is ugly, especially when that ugliness reflects the human character. And in that way, we kid ourselves into delusion and within our delusion and denial, a lot of cruelty are being committed.

The pictures below are taken from the video...a very short one. It shows a cow in sheer terror as its throat is being slit and then it grimaces and shuts its eyes in sheer pain as blood spurts out of its throat. What we are seeing is a sentient being, just like we are sentient beings, being tortured and killed.

Why do we turn away from these images? Why? It is because at the end of the day, our sensitive feelings are more important than the lives of others. We say we practice Dharma, we say we are kind people, we say we abhor cruelty, we say we like to help where we can. But ultimately 99.9% of people will turn away just when their attention is needed.

In the end we suffer, because we become immune to cruelty, we become de-sensitized. If that is true, then let's not pretend we are good people. Let's just acknowledge we are hypocritical cowards pretending to be good people. It doesn't have to be that way.

A few minutes witnessing such terrible torture endured by fellow sentient beings will do nothing to harm us. If anything it will revive our conscience and compassion. Do yourself a favour, do these animals who cannot defend themselves a favour, do the humanity a favour.

Pleas watch this video so that you know, so that you are reminded of your own goodness, so that you become inspired to practice the first rule that Buddha taught, Do No Harm.

I ask my FB friends to please Like and Share this link. If there is not much we can do to make the world a kinder place, then let's not refuse to do what we CAN do which is to execute 2 simple clicks in the name of Compassion. Whether you eat meat or not is your choice. But eat, knowing where the meat comes from and how it arrived at your plate.

I grew up in an environment where people are ignorant about the importance of animal lives. I have been taught that animals are killed for food and feast offerings. I was a Christian. And in the bible, animals are killed and burnt to serve as an offering to God.

Genesis 15:9-10

God tells Abram to kill some animals for him. The needless slaughter makes God feel better. 

When I became a Buddhist I have been overwhelmed about the teachings about animal cruelty and killings. Buddhist practices loving kindness to all beings without selfish attachment. Buddhist refrain from eating meat out of loving kindness for living animals, not because there is something unwholesome or corrupt about an animal's body. In other words, the meat itself is not the point, and under some circumstances compassion might cause a Buddhist to break the rules.

For example, let's say you visit your elderly grandmother, whom you have not seen for a long time. You arrive at her home and find that she has cooked what had been your favorite dish when you were a child -- stuffed pork chops. She doesn't do much cooking any more, because her elderly body doesn't move around the kitchen so well. But it is the dearest wish of her heart to give you something special and watch you dig into those stuffed pork chops the way you used to. She has been looking forward to this for weeks.

I say that if you hesitate to eat those pork chops for even a second, you are no Buddhist.

When I was a girl growing up in rural Philippines, livestock grazed in open meadows and chickens wandered and scratched outside hen houses. That was a long time ago. You still see free-ranging livestock on small farms, but big "factory farms" can be cruel places for animals.

Breeding sows live most of their lives in cages so small they cannot turn around. Egg-laying hens kept in "battery cages" cannot spread their wings. These practices make the vegetarian question more critical.

As Buddhists, we should consider if products we purchase were made with suffering. This includes human suffering as well as animal suffering. If your "vegan" faux-leather shoes were made by exploited laborers working under inhumane conditions, you might as well have bought leather.

The fact is, to live is to kill. It cannot be avoided. Fruits and vegetables come from living organisms, and farming them requires killing insects, rodents and other animal life. The electricity and heat for our homes may come from facilities that harm the environment. Don't even think about the cars we drive. We are all entangled in a web of killing and destruction, and as long as we live we cannot be completely free of it. As Buddhists, our role is not to mindlessly follow rules written in books, but to be mindful of the harm we do and do as little of it as possible.

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