During a day of corporate training in Conflict Management, in a multi-cultural environment, we were discussing how cultural differences in diet can cause misunderstandings in the workplace, for example, many Hindus don’t eat meat and are vegetarian, or do not eat meat on certain days for religious reasons. See this Wikipedia link about Vegetarianism and Religion. We spoke a bit about diet and I mentioned that in my own workplace in the past, I had been something of an oddity. I am a Lacto-Vegetarian, meaning, the only animal products I eat are dairy. The group gasped, many saying: “what is left to eat?” Yes, this is a strong reaction common in a predominantly meat-eating culture. When asked why I restricted my diet in this way, I said that I wanted to minimize the suffering of animals through compassion and not eating them. Some said yes, they understood because they loved their pets.
I was very surprised, when one delegate stood up, an African male, who originally came from a small rural village in KwaZulu-Natal, said:
“I can understand this. I have chickens on my farm at home. When I want to eat chicken, I go to the store to buy one, I do not want to kill my own chickens.”
In this way, coming from a very patriarchal background, he was able to express his own love for his chickens, whom he had noticed had personalities and loved to scratch around in the sun. I loved that this made him think and that he was able to express himself like this in front of his colleagues.
Here is a wonderful link to a story about the “hensioners”, pensioners, who are helped with loneliness through their relationships with chickens. I love it!
When was the last time you watched something so scary, cringe-worthy, or unbelievably tacky — in a movie, on TV, or in real life — you had to cover your eyes?
EARTHLINGS, an award-winning documentary film about the suffering of animals and their use by human beings. It is shot using hidden cameras in places like: animal shelters, pet stores, puppy mills, factory farms, slaughterhouses, leather and fur industries, sporting events, circuses and research labs.
Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix. I would say this is one of the most socially urgent issues of our times. It is a multiple award-winning film by Nation Earth.
I recommend that everyone watch all the way through. It is gut wrenching, eye-opening, disturbing and distressing yes, but everyone needs to educate themselves, to open their eyes, to know. So that they can become informed and NOT remain ignorant, so that they can make informed choices. Several times I became physically sick, cried, the pain in my heart a deep physical ache.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
“People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“If slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be a vegetarian” – Paul McCartney
A MUST WATCH FOR EVERYONE. DON’T LOOK AWAY – BUT VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED. Click below to watch on Vimeo or go to the Earthlings page:
This documentary is known as the vegetarian/vegan maker. See my earlier post Dietary Travail, for my own story on how I first became a vegetarian and then a lacto-vegetarian.
…this is a true story of misadventure on a small Karoo, South African, sheep farm. a young girl comes to think about eating, what we eat, and why. i thought about life and compassion. i vividly remember this experience even today. this was the beginning of my journey to a vegetarian and vegan life-style. all living things want to live and be happy…
As a city girl of around 12 years old, (and younger), I used each year, to travel with my grandparents, by train, all over the country to visit family members. This each December.
I love the Karoo sheep farms and the life there in those days. Wide open “stoeps” with gas lamps at night, in some places only candles, and the sound of the milk machine in the cold early mornings “ting tinging” in the dark. I loved to cavort with all the animals, watch the cows being milked, the cats coming for saucers of milk. How I loved watching the sheep and the lambs, the little mice scampering amongst the grain bags in the barn. I lay in lush grasses, played with ants and fed lucerne to the large, lovely, pink pigs. I was struck by how smart and responsive they were.
As it happened on one of the farms, we walked one day towards the sheep. Unsuspectingly I watched. One sheep was singled out and dragged by the hind leg to a place close by where I stood. My idyll began to fade as my sense of shock and horror grew. It was so quick. The blade glinted and passed across the throat of the sheep. I was riveted to the spot. I saw it struggle, I saw its eyes widen in shock, I saw it, so beautiful, struggle to live. The light went from its eyes. I shriveled to a husk.
The process began. The detail I will spare you. A strung up carcass, stripped and fed to the table on plates. Beside myself in this strict household, I could not fathom that now I should eat this living being, who not long before had lived a happy life in a carefree field. What to do? I cut up small pieces and fed them carefully and slyly to the dog under the table. This was the start of my questioning and I never again ate mutton or lamb, nor did I feed it to my children.
So began my life-long questioning, “where would I draw the line”? It causes you to question many things. From what you eat to what you buy for your household, to what you wear and who you support.