Much has been made of the horrifying images of the blood flowing through the streets of Dhaka in the aftermath of Eid Al Adha- 2016
As it should these images have created a visceral impact on the world about the scale of animal slaughter in the name of God – carried on, on this holy day. It appears a 100MM animals were slaughtered worldwide.
Muslims have offered legitimate and cogent arguments stating that this scale of slaughter is far less than the animal husbandry practiced by the west and the staggering number of animals consumed per year which is estimated to be 56 Billion farmed animals and this does not include fish and seafood – http://www.humanesociety.org/news/resources/research/stats_slaughter_totals.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/
And they are correct. There are far more deplorable practices followed globally that go beyond just slaughtering animals for food. The Chinese have festivals like #yulin where they fry dogs and cats alive and the Japanese are well-known for eating live frogs and fish and what not. In fact, East Asian countries have made a macabre theater out of the sheer sadistic cruelty practiced on the voiceless legitimate inhabitants of the world. People are free to google their antics and realize why Karma happens. Filling a stomach vs. the sadistic cruelty of the East Asians are two different worlds.
However, what makes the mass slaughter of sentient beings on a major festival of the second largest religion of the world worse is the fact that it sanctifies the slow/ painful killing of animals. That is the ultimate horror. That is the reason the human sacrifices of the past were more horrific than people killing each other in war. You cannot sanctify such a necessary evil. The reason I say necessary is because in some parts of the world people may still have to eat meat. But we do not have to sanctify it. That is the reason banning #Gadhimai and the animal sacrifices in some of the Hindu temples was the right thing to do (remember this is not mainstream in Hinduism but in a few temples). We do not have to sanctify animal slaughter and make it holy. It is equally deplorable or worse to make a sport of the torture and pain of an animal. Hunting an animal for sport is second in this continuum.
The horrific scale of suffering we have put animals through since the advent of animal husbandry technology should give a normal person shivers. Metaphorically speaking the whole earth is flowing with the blood of innocents we have brutalized (and it’s not just about killing them which comes as a relief at the end of a horrific sorrowful life of cramped prisons, watching your little ones separated or killed (veal which happens to be a favorite of the papacy) and so on and so forth). http://awfw.org/factory-farms/
We have committed such crimes against sentient beings with emotions and empathy that the karma for us will be terrible. Somehow the hunting practices of the people of the earth – tribals, were much more dignified. They hunted an animal and then consumed each and every part of it. It died as it was supposed to in nature and then in death used up in all capacities. Even the limited animal husbandry practiced was much more dignified and smaller in scale than the horrors perpetuated today. Meat was a smaller part of the human diet and we did just fine.
What galls me more, is how we Indians have lost our way here. We are the people who know that these sentient beings have souls and emotions, yet in our nation are brutal abattoirs and an increasing consumption of meat. In our Dharmas meat is only a necessary evil when no options exist. As our society becomes more affluent you have the ability to extract more nutrients from vegetarian food which is a deep science. The prevalence of continued vegetarianism in India is because of how advanced a society we were for the longest time. We learnt and taught the world how to extract nutrients from vegetarian foods through spices, combinations, fermention and other techniques. In a way we have gone backwards when we don’t need to.
What’s worse is that we are fast becoming one of the top meat exporters in the world across all meats including seafood e.g.,
We have become a nation of hypocrites “I don’t eat meat” – but it’s exported; “Its buffalo, not cow” – how convenient. This is the classic “mooh mein Ram bagal mein Churi mentality”.
We are committing a far greater evil than the rest of the world because a) we have the precious spiritual knowledge, b) we have the scientific knowledge on food prep c) we are killing animals for extra money and not for our own food (through exports) d) animals die slow and brutal deaths in our abattoirs …. graphic picture below
Somehow I have a lot more respect for the groups like Musahar’s in India https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musahar. They eat rodents because they have to eat. I understand that.
The worst are the Indians who have a choice, belong to the chattering classes and are completely apathetic to what we are doing in our country. If you speak to them, they say first look after human beings and if you talk about humans they shift the goalposts again. Remember animals are the most voiceless and from whom we have stolen everything.
There was a story in the Mahabharata about the punishment for thoe with knowledge being greater than punishment for the poor for the same crime. This is the same situation. You are in the know and perpetuate this evil. Infact, I remember some of the abattoirs being run by Jains who are vegetarians at home.
Please keep in mind, I am not advocating a complete ban on the consumption of animals. I know that there are a ways to go before we get there. However, given our awareness and the morbid cruelty going on under our own noses there are a few steps we can follow to lighten the scale of suffering somewhat –
- Restriction on Religious Slaughter – Religious slaughter gives sanctity to killing animals. There is no need to put a halo around this “necessary” evil. I think it is high time we start a dialogue with the Muslim community to stem this. Can we reduce the scale? Can we modify the technique of slaughter etc. Let us at least have an open discussion on possibilities that exist within the parameters of the religion itself.
- Ban on Slaughter of Young Animals – This is the most heinous thing – veal, piglets, chicks you name it. I have seen a leading Mumbai hotel offer “chooza curry” on it’s menu. Even the starving in rural India will release their cattle and not consume them. They will die hungry but the educated urbanite is perverted. This should be banned. Bobby cows need to be fully grown before being consumed.
- Quick and Compassionate Kill Techniques – There should be strictest institution of stunning and quick kill techniques that minimize end of life suffering.
- Minimize Industrialized Rearing and Fishing – These are catastrophic for the animals and for our environment along with destroying the small farmer and fisherman’s livelihoods.
- Ratification of Animal Cruelty Penalties – A 50 Rs penalty for torturing an animal, seriously? This is an area where there is much advocacy but little notice by the government
- Phasing out Exports and Imports of Animal Products – This is the most controversial suggestion but has the greatest spiritual implications. There is no point in being a vegetarian if you are not going to oppose the export of meat. Basically, you are selling off your share of the kill for FDI. This is what drives animal husbandry. Ethically, we should not be exporting any meats.
I am not against using animal products. Our ancestors used animal products after an animal died – the skin, the bones, the hooves. It is just the same as using a persons organs after they die. We must utilize all resources. However, how can this be ensured in today’s apathetic world. Nowadays animals are skinned alive in India for the soft leather the process produces.
One day our descendants will view us the same way as people view the Nazi’s today, as a species that continued a monstrous holocaust on other species for centuries. We will be the evil ones. Or maybe, one day we will be colonized by an alien species that treats us much the same way as we treat animals. Who knows?