I find it fascinating how, as a society, we so easily and thoughtlessly justify the murder of millions of animals on a daily basis, but find it heartbreaking to see a dog being abused or a dead animal lying on the road. Why the double standard?
Why do we pick and choose which animals to love and which to kill, experiment on, and exploit? Sometimes you’ll hear people say, “Well, dogs are smarter and cuter, they’re man’s best friend!” But in reality, pigs are much smarter than dogs and enjoy human companionship just as much, provided they are being treated correctly.
All animals are sentient beings, capable of feeling pain and experiencing emotion — and they all want to live! Their sole purpose on this Earth is not simply to feed hungry humans. In some parts of the world it may remain necessary to eat animals for survival, but in those cases, the animals at least had a fighting chance, and likely lived a full and happy life before being hunted. People who hunt to survive generally respect the animals, give thanks for their offerings, and use every part of the animal.
Not so in North America. Consider how much food is wasted every day in the U.S. alone — not only are animals dying to feed us, they are dying to not feed us. This does not make sense.
In the video below, Buddhist monk and author of A Plea For The Animals Matthieu Ricard sums up the absurdity of this perfectly — check it out!
He makes a great point by saying that human beings are arrogant, and we try to justify our actions with excuses that are illogical. It’s as though, deep down, we know that what we are doing is wrong, but we want to keep benefitting from doing it, so we make up excuses to justify our actions and alleviate our guilt.
In the video, he reveals a horrifying statistic: 60 billion land animals and over 1 trillion fish are killed every year for food.
“Why should we put zero value on the experience of other animals? We need to change our mentality. If we embrace all sentient beings, not only will we include animals, but also love better, in a way, human beings because the strength and the magnitude and the debt of our compassion will be vaster.”
What Can We Do?
I can’t stress this enough: You can make a difference without overhauling your life and becoming a strict vegan. Cutting back your consumption of animals and animal products can make a huge difference! There is a lot of controversy surrounding this, but you can find ethically sourced meat and fish. The term ethical here means that the animals were raised in a more natural environment, free to roam and graze before being eventually slaughtered. While many argue there really is no humane way to kill an animal — if you wouldn’t like it done to you, it’s not humane — buying this meat is a good place to start and certainly better than the alternative, which is factory farmed animal products where these animals are quite literally tortured before being slaughtered.
Consider taking part in Meatless Mondays to begin with and perhaps to help ease your family through this transition. This is where you pick one day a week and eliminate animals from your diet altogether for this one day. You’ll soon learn about what plant-based eating looks like, and discover recipes that you and your family will love.
There are many reasons to quit eating animals, but I think the best one is that, just like us, animals want to live too.
To check out Mattieu’s book, A Plea for the Animals: The Moral, Philosophical, and Evolutionary Imperative to Treat All Beings with Compassion, click here.
Much Love — to all the sentient beings of this Earth.
Author: Alanna Ketler