Tuesday, March 18, 2014

9:52 AM

As a Buddhist, I try hard not to contribute to the misery of the world and one way I do this is by trying to practice a vegan diet. I am not perfect, far from it; but sometimes when I am out with friends, I will eat a vegetarian meal or even some seafood. Even still, I feel immeasurable guilt because I know I am contributing to the misery and suffering of other sentient beings. I have decided that the guilt outweighs the pleasure for me and therefore I will make more mindful decisions when it comes to food. 
Even though I have not eaten beef, chicken, or pork in years, I have still been preparing it for my family because they are not very adaptable when it comes to food. But that will now change and if they want meat they will have to buy and it prepare it for themselves. I told my family over the weekend that I would no longer be cooking meat for them. You would have thought that I told them that I was moving out of the house from the looks they shot me. I no longer want any part of it. I hate the texture, the smell, and the thought of handling dead animal
Over the years I have tried to buy meat for my family that is organic, grass-fed, free-range, etc. But even still, I cannot be assured of how well these standards are maintained. I know there are many organic farms there trying to treat the animals as humanely as possible; their practices are not what I am focusing on. And I am not talking about people who hunt for their own food. I am talking about traditional factory farms — the places where the majority of Americans and the American fast food industry get their meat.
Sir Paul McCartney once said: “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian. Well, I think nowadays he would probably substitute the word “vegetarian” for “vegan”.  I wish more and more people would educate themselves on how innocent, beautiful animals are mistreated and raised in order to become a hamburger or a chicken nugget. I wish more people were more mindful of the grain, water, and energy required to raise one pound of meat — resources which could be of better use to the millions of people starving and without clean water. Raising animals for food, specifically cows because of their methane production, is the absolute worst contributor to climate change — the most pressing challenge of our time. Then there are the ethics behind the horrific treatment of these poor, innocent animals. Most Americans are appalled to hear of animal abuse and are not very tolerant of it when it comes to dogs and other “pets” but don’t give a second thought to the treatment of the animals they eat.
I do not believe this form of dominion over the Earth and Her creatures is what God had in mind. We take animals, we raise them in crowded, filthy conditions, within the confines of four disgusting walls, never to see sunlight, or to step on the grass. We pump them up with antibiotics and growth hormones in order to reduce disease in these overcrowded populations and to make them grow as quickly as possibly. They stand (if they can) and breathe in their fecal remains for their entire lives – never to breathe clean air — and are subjected to the cruelty of those that “care” for them until they are slaughtered.
We then consume these animals which have led absolutely miserable, stressful lives, having eaten things they normally would not eat in nature (including herbivores eating other animals — think mad cow disease), are full of antibiotics (which hold implications for our gut bacteria) and growth hormones (again, holds negative implications for humans) and then we are flummoxed as to why we get sick – especially with cancer. Then we subject other animals (mice, dogs, rabbits, cats, various primates, etc.) to test medicine and whatnot to help ameliorate what medically ails humans as a result of eating meat. For the most part, we know what causes various cancers and yet we fail to focus on and practice preventative measures; why is that?
Please do yourself, your family, and future generations a big favor. Please stop, or at the very least, cut back on your animal consumption. Read up on factory farms and how your food is being raised. You will be shocked and disgusted on what you will discover. It is not healthy for you, your family, or the planet. You will lose weight, you will feel better, you will be healthier, and chances are you will not suffer from the plethora of diseases, which are the result of eating meat — especially cancer.