Veganism for me has always been about trying to minimize suffering as much as possible. I know that we cannot eradicate suffering totally.
In fact if you want to be macabre about it, we are all part of the long chain of death that ties us to one another from the cradle to the grave. I was enjoying a run with a friend the other day who is not a vegan but rather a death eater if I can borrow a phrase from Harry Potter, and we were talking about this very thing.
Perhaps to assuage his guilt he pointed out that we can’t escape violence. And he’s right… sadly right. We are all death eaters to some degree, even vegans.
But I see no correlation when comparing eating the uprooted and therefore arguably ‘dead’ carrot with the slaughtered and garroted flesh of the cow.
So yes, if we are to become morose I suppose I’ll admit to suckling at the teat of death so that I might live. But she feeds me off plant milk, not off of mammalian milk and spilled blood of which we might do well to cry over.
And this brings me to the crux of the matter. The crucifixion of the matter if you will. There are many of us who daily send the billions of furry brethren to the cross for our sins of commission and nutrition. Like my friend who said that he sees nothing wrong with feeding off the bloody stench of mammalian violence we must offer the warm hand of kindness.
You can ask any question and the answer will always be kindness. Those of us who choose to awaken to the wails and squeals of piglets taken for meals cannot allow ourselves to become hardened by the violence. That is the abdication of our empathic humanity, and lest we become callous members of the neolithic herd, our empathy is our shield and sword from which we can cut humanity free from its barbarism.
Some of us nobler and perhaps more naive compassionate souls amongst us might suggest that if slaughterhouses had glass walls then all of us would be vegan. But that is hallucinogenic for the human mind has a great capacity to become schizophrenic. Just look at our relationship with animals in general.
We should not tempt fate by asking those with the taste of blood on their lips how many animals they would kill if they had to do it themselves. The answer would be tremendous, most of those with blood stained lips would kill quite a few just for the opportunity to chew at their flesh.
And this is the sadness. Killing is the easy part. We are all to some degree death eaters. To live is at the expense of others some of whom had mothers like those we’d recognize. Even flies might surmise that though in disguise their mothers were the same to them in their eyes.
The lies of lives lived by those of us livid in both mind and flesh must be undone with a hand of compassion and one of kindness. Kindred spirit binds us and we have a great gaping hole in the heart of men to fill. So let us remind ourselves that the mind of many when their bowels are empty seek to fill empty spaces with beaming faces clenching forks and knives while saying good graces over the bloody remains of animals who once had names while angels – thank god – refrain from blessing the domiciles of these gluttonous imbeciles.
Though the coins of deceit have been taken from our eyes we cannot say the same about those who continue to eat meat.
It takes time for the cloud and the shroud of cultural opium to dissipate so that those under its influence we can start to agitate. But this shaking awake must be done with a hand that takes as its guide kindness and love that must fit snugly as a glove so that we might carry the ember of truth a light that can cut through the darkness of all that is uncouth which in a nutshell can be called any meat cut by a tooth while deaf are the ears to the baby’s bleat.
Just don’t eat meat. Say yes to kindness. No matter the question it is always the answer with the best of intention.
I agree that kindness should be the great motivator in everything that we do. Unfortunately, greed and self-absorption often override kindness. I find it interesting that you use the phrase “schizophrenic.” I use the word “disconnected.” It seems to me that, as children, we all loved animals and would never dream of eating one until our parents told us it was ok to do so. That is where the disconnect begins. It seems to grow with many to the point where the truth about what is going into their mouth is overlooked. When I realized my disconnect, I became vegan. Now I’m more connected to my life, in general, and to the world around me. I enjoyed your article.
Thank you for your comments Debby,
Thankfully thought, many of us are becoming reconnected to the joy and love found in our relationships with animals. As such, we’re choosing not to harm them and eat them any more. This encourages me greatly!