Here is a thought I had after hearing some people talking:
Recently, I’ve heard of a number of instances where people were upset because animals were being killed for food. Some people won’t even eat meat because its eating an animal that was killed . . . . some people won’t eat anything that even comes from an animal (such as dairy products). I’ve even heard of hunters being condemned for killing animals. Its even got so far that I’ve heard of some people saying that it was “murder” to kill animals for food. Just recently, I heard of a statement someone made in a newspaper which basically says this: “Hunting and killing animals for food is bad. Go to the store and buy your meat.” But where do the stores get their meat? Many years ago I recall a man, who raised cattle, telling me how people condemned him for the ‘slaughter’ of cattle but, yet, these same people went to McDonald’s to get a hamburger without so much as a thought of where the meat was coming from. As a result, many of these people will only eat plants (that is, become vegetarians). This type of stuff has always stunned me.
Because practically everything we eat is a form of living thing that was killed. Not only that, it was usually killed “in its prime”. This is true of practically everything, animal or not: cattle, pig, lettuce, potatoes . . . This means that a vegetarian is also “killing” and eating a living thing.
AND WHAT IS A LIVING THING?
I know that some people seem to think that plants are not ‘living’ but they are. They think that fruits and vegatables don’t count as living things. Personally, I see no difference between a cow and bean sprouts. Both are living things. I’ve always felt that pulling a plant out of the ground is no different than killing a squirrel. What, really, is the difference?
Some people seem to think that it’s only bad to kill something that is conscious or that moves and, because of this, fruits and vegetables are not “really living”. But that would mean that their definition of ‘living’ is only in its ability to be conscious or move . . . this hardly describes what life is. They are only describing some aspects of some living things . . . it does not define ‘living’ or what a ‘living thing’ is.
Because of this, it seems to me that what they are really saying is that it’s only bad to kill things “like us” (that is, who are conscious and moving). This makes this more of an issue of identification with something than in whether it is “living” or not. As a result, this whole issue is not really over the “killing” of something living, as they claim.
THE NEED TO KILL THINGS “IN THEIR PRIME” – GETTING THE MOST OUT OF IT
Many cultures and religions require that an animal be killed before it is eaten. That is to say, you cannot eat an animal that died naturally. In some cases, there is a strict taboo against this with a pohibition, such as in the Koran. There are not too many places, that I’m aware of, where people do not kill an animal before they eat it. In some cases, the killing of the animal is almost ritual-like, and is often considered an offering to the gods, making the meal something like a feast.
This makes sense as we get the most benefit out of living things if it is killed “in its prime”, when pigs are fat, when chickens are grown, when the corn has ripened, etc. And when we eat things we generally have to eat it soon after, before it decomposes, unless we somehow treat or preserve it, to keep it ‘fresh’. The fact is that animals, vegetables, fruits . . . almost all food has to be somewhat ‘fresh’ to eat, and ‘fresh’ means that it is in the state as if it was ‘freshly killed in its prime’. When we treat or preserve food we are only trying to keep it as ‘freshly killed in its prime’ as we can for as long a period as we can. If we eat food that is not ‘fresh’ then it means that it has begun to decompose, that there is often little nutrients, and we can get sick from it too. Therefore, we have to kill living things, be it animal, vegetable, or whatever, and we have to do it while they are usually “in their prime” and, therefore “fresh”, to get the most out of them.
That’s just the way it is.
Not only is this true with food but in other things as well. Look at the wood we use in our furniture or homes . . . the tree was cut down while alive too. Remember, a tree is a living thing too, as much as any pig or chicken or human for that matter. It lives and dies and reproduces too, just like all living things. We don’t build homes with dead logs we’ve found on the forest floors that’s begun to rot. This would mean that the homes we live in have entailed great “death” and “killing” to achieve. In some respects, wood is like bone and, because of this, we all live in homes built with the ‘bones’ of a living thing that was ‘killed in its prime’.
NATURAL REPULSION OF MEAT
I have always felt that there is, in some people, a natural repulsion toward eating meat. I know this because I am one of them. I have always been a fussy eater and have found, over the years, that it primarily revolves around meat. There have been times when some meat has even made me nauxious and sick to my stomach. I recall saying once that I could not eat something with meat in it because “I feel like I’m eating something dead”.
I’ve found that other people reflect similar tendencies. I, though, never ascribed it to the killing of animals or became a vegetarian. I still eat meat as long as its done the right way (one of my favourite foods is bacon). I also see no wrong in killing animals for meat, as its been done since the beginning of time all over the world. But, other people do not see it that way. The repulsion toward meat will make some people think its bad to kill animals for meat and has created quite a few vegetarians. This, though, is not because of the “killing” of animals but more their repulsion toward meat, though they may say otherwise.
Many females tend be disgusted by killing animals for meat. This is obviously somewhat recent as, for centuries, it was the female who was cooking the meat! Besides, I’ve never heard a female, from the older generation, moan about this. I often feel this is a result of misguided motherliness that seems a common trait in the post-WWII generations.
I’ve heard many females get upset because “cute” and “cudly” things are killed, even though they, themselves, eat the meat! For some females, misguided motherliness can make them get carried away with things so that they will ‘campaign’ against anything that harms “cute” and “cudly” things, almost as if it were a crusade. One of these, that I have seen, is the eating of meat (other examples include animal abuse and animal overpopulation).
This, to me, is often just a motherliness in females. This motherliness shows that it has nothing, whatsoever, to do with the fact that they care for something because it is ‘living’. They care for it because it satisfies their motherly tendencies.
THE COLD WAR INFLUENCE
Many views, in the U.S., that “killing animals is bad” is often a remnant of the cold war and the fear of nuclear annihilation, I’ve found. This era caused a great ‘movement’ of ‘peace and love’ which has often become ridiculous and out-of-touch. This is an example of such a thing. This is why it has also almost reached a ‘crusade’ proportions. Its also for this reason that some people think that it is an act of love to not eat meat. And so by not eating meat we can rid our society of ‘violence’ and ‘hate’, as I’ve heard some people say.
But, being rooted in cold war mentality, a lot of this has nothing to do with a love of living things but a fear of modern war. The killing of animals has become a “symbol” of modern warfare and death and violence. Again, it has less to do with the concern for the living thing than is claimed. If it wasn’t for the modern war association then they would not care at all.
The net result of all this is that much of the concern of killing animals for meat is not really a concern for animals or living things at all. Unstead, it is often a medium for some other motive, war and motherly tendencies, for example. This makes sense as, for most of the world since the beginning of time, killing animal before eating them is a part of everyday life.