Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Consuming plants versus animals

I have a dilemma.

vegetarianism manifested itself fully early in the year. There were quite a few reasons for this.
I totally abhorred the thought of killing a life in order to sustain myself. At the end of the day, how can I justify the 'sacrifice' of one order to allow myself to live? I'd kill (or 'allow' the killing) for my own sake, in itself an arrogant gesture assuming that my life is of more importance than theirs; that I have the right to take that life and not them.

Then there was the very idea of eating flesh. Even as a child I never really enjoyed the idea of it. You ate meat. Meat was meat. When meat is flesh then... it suddenly has a new perspective on you.

Now for the typical reason. Animals are reared for the sole purpose of serving us. This is another way that I see the human arrogance of assuming we are dominant over them. Higher brain function doesn't mean you are better than them. Husbandry was around a long time before the advent of the Abrahamic religions, but lines such as the Bible's
Genesis 1:27-29:

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them,
"Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the
fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that
moves on the ground."

29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing
plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in
it. They will be yours for food.

30 And to all the beasts of the earth
and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the
ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for
food." And it was so.

are taught regularly without question to children, that we are masters of the earth and were first commanded by Yahweh to "fill the earth and subdue it". Scientism also gives an ethic of near superiority over anything we find. Animals can be tested on for the benefit of humans. Plants genetically engineered for the benefit of humans. Forests felled for the benefit of humans. Cruelty to animals is a daily and 'normal' occurrence. And many scientists consider the point of cruelty to some animals null until they've proved they can feel pain. Fish were only recently scientifically proven to be able to feel pain! What a horrible philosophy. It's not the point of whether or not they can feel pain, but in the way they're treated. If you have the ability to treat a living being with such regard as to consider them as nothing but objects of use without any regard, then what does that reflect on you as a person?

Many animals are held in squalid conditions, abnormally injected with chemicals and water, and whatever else. I can't stomach that a living, sentient being is forced to live like this for the purpose of food.
I'll say now though, not all animals are held like so. Some are decently cared for and loved in optimum ways, but they're still trapped beings for the sake of food

So those are my reasons.

I have a problem, however. I'm vegetarian - not
vegan. I still drink milk and eat eggs and other products derived from living beings. Though I aspire to the transition to a vegan lifestyle, I'm not there yet - as such the hypocrisy of my words are transparent. I'm still supporting animals exploitation and dominance. I wear leather. Again, as above.

For now, I do my best to source products from compassionate origins - organic free range eggs, local organic milk etc. I use leather as little as I possibly can and try to use faux leather where I can - but still, I'm not vegan. In a way, I still consider myself as bad as the exploiters. I soon will be.

I found another problem again, and this is directly linked to the consumption of plants. In an animistic philosophy, the plant is a living, vibrating being, which is something we know already. They are organisms capable of eating, reproducing, breathing. Can they feel pain? Does it matter if they can or can't?

The problem rises again. Agriculture is geared towards the mass propagation of matter for our own use and consumption. We're using cutting down and using plants in much the same way as we're using animals. One way this doesn't occur is with fruit. A fruit is designed to be eaten by animals in order to allow the seeds to germinate in the intestines, then to grow with the faeces later excreted. We're meant to eat them. Which is fine - but with that, we've geared a means to cultivate and grow plants for their fruit on a massive scale. They're grown solely for our own use.

Taking out meat from my diet means that I'm increasing my consumption of plant matter by a greater margin. I'm forsaking ten for one, essentially. Killing more, presuming we can hold plants in the same box animals.

And that is my little problem of the now. Hope this wasn't too long winded.

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