Humans farm and kill 65 billion animals every year.
I am not sure how that makes you feel but that to me conveys that we have become consciously okay to systematically kill animals and make them our meals. And we are doing so at an unbelievably massive scale. Have we paused and thought whether killing animals to eat in the 21st century is still an acceptable act?
I have been talking to a lot of vegetarians recently (and not necessarily out of choice but complete randomness) and probably because I live in San Francisco and being vegetarian is a thing. The most profound conversation was last weekend at 2:30 am while I was devouring an Al Pastor Taco and mistakenly asked my vegetarian friend if he wanted any. He went on to give me his reasons for being vegetarian and half way through I had to stop eating my Taco and think. Vegetarians all have different reasons but his got stuck in my head.
Some are doing it for health reasons (and not some legit health reason like digestive issues but rather for the possibility of living a longer life). I respect their decision but I wouldn’t sacrifice pleasure over living, or quality over quantity.
Some are doing it because of animal cruelty and how certain kinds of animals are being treated. They are okay with killing of certain animals but not others. And if the cows are “pasture-raised” maybe they would even entertain eating it.
Then there are others, who are fundamentally opposed to killing animals. Any kind of animals. Ants, fish, birds, or the cows and chickens. Does not matter. Killing is bad.
Huh. Wait a second. That actually kind of resonated with me a little.
A group of people that believe killing animals might actually be wrong? A group of people that have considered that role of homo sapiens are not to get on top of the pyramid but maybe, and only maybe, it’s to maintain peace and life with what it has, without killing others?
And all the sudden I started thinking, what gives us the moral higher ground to kill other species on this planet other than the assumption that killing them is okay and we can’t survive without it?
You would think this is a fairly straight forward question to ask, but it has taken me 28 years and most majority of us never ask these questions in an entire lifetime. The belief that killing & eating animals is okay has been written into our evolutionary DNA but that doesn’t necessarily make it right. We needed to kill to survive. But that is no more required. And it’s so much more difficult to face the reality and ask these questions since eating animals is so connected to personal pleasure that you almost want to ignore it or as us Iranians would say “shove it under the rug”.
Killing animals might actually be wrong?
Let me just pause and have you read that again, slow, while thinking about every single word. Killing animals might actually be wrong. Anykind. Even the cows, and even the chickens.
Okay, so there are 3 kinds of you out there.
The first kind is going to say that this is the cycle of life, you kill them, they kill some other animals, and we are all dependent on this killing to survive.
Well, hellooooo!! Have you heard of anyone dying for not eating beef or chicken? We have evolved such that we can be completely healthy and sustainable without eating any meat. The time of “eat to survive” is long gone. You might not be used to mushroom rigatoni but you can definitely have a healthy and beautiful life if that’s all you had to deal with.
The second kind of you would say “Oh, but I love the taste” … Okay, seriously, I am not going to respond to these people. I hope you grow up and see the love & light that exists in this world.
And a third kind of you is going to get into a deep coma thinking of every single human who has ever walked on the face of this planet and has been eating animals. You are going to instantly think that eating animals is part of living. Some might even argue that without eating animals we would not have been where we are today. We (homo sapiens) and all other homo species, and all other animals, have been eating each other ever since we were created. We have literally been killing each other to survive. This is just how the world works. It’s one big jungle.
But hold on a second!!! Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to do something different. Maybe we are that generation that helps the illiterate animals that have been slaughtered under our guidance to be able to live freely on this planet and we can all peacefully co-exist together.
After I started asking these questions the idea of killing animals has become so strange and so sad. Everytime I eat meat I feel like I have personally committed a crime. When I see a piece of chicken in-front of me I feel as though I have supported and sponsored an act of barbaric killing of another species that if it wasn't going to be on my plate would have been running around the jungles.
Writing this blog post made me realize that I have just unveiled another curtain in my mind. One that can not be closed again. I have seen what is behind this curtain. Behind this curtain I saw our indifference to the killings of animals. I saw our cruelty and lack of compassion towards animals. I saw our hypocrisy in loving our pets while eating our chickens & steaks. I realized that we have evolved as a society to no longer need to eat animals for survival and can have a very healthy life-style eating sustainable plant based food. And more importantly, I realized that we don’t own this planet. We have the exact same right that every single animal on this planet does. The fact that we have come up with our own rules and ideas does not make animals any less or makes us anymore. We were not meant to get on top of the food pyramid, or if we were, now that we are, we can be conscious enough to let everyone live on this planet freely.
I believe that killing an animal can only be justified in extreme circumstances; consuming a living creature just for its taste, for convenience, or out of habit is not justifiable. We, unlike other animals, are morally conscious of our behavior and have a choice; this is why there are laws governing human behavior, and why it is subject to moral standards. We should make the right choice here too.
From today, I am going to think about every single meal that I eat. I am not going to label myself as “vegetarian” as I am not fond of any labels. However, I will be starting to move my diet towards a sustainable non-violent co-existing philosophy. And I will be thinking of all the animals. Not just the pretty ones.
P.S. Apparently if you stop eating meat you will be personally responsible for saving 95 animals a year.