Saturday, February 23, 2008

Do We Respect and Love Animals?


Most spiritual people would answer this inquiry with a clear affirmative!

Yet, we must ask ourselves, and try to be honest in this interior inventory, "Do I really love (and respect) animals?"

The answer might surprise you.

We all hate, and are repelled and revolted, by animaltorture, of course.
But we have all had this issue thrust in our faces due to the notorious, infamous abuse of cows practiced by a slaughterhouse in California. In that hell of a place, cows-- those too sick to move, or to walk-- were impaled by the tongs of forklift trucks; some were drowned by having water from hoses shot into their mouths and noses; others were beaten to death; others were electrocuted, or tortured by electrical prods; others were beaten senseless.

We can imagine our response if we heard of such atrocities occurring to our beloved dogs, or cats. But a cow is also a sentient being, with feelings. If you put a number of them in a field, they will congregate together, for they are quite gregarious. And they also have a kind of "Love" for each other, and especially for their young.

From the view of pure anatomy, the brain/nervousystem of this mammal is fairly high in the ranks of evolution. Compared to lower forms, this mammal has a wide spectrum of emotive responses.

So, she deserves a little respect. We need not go so far as some forms of Hindu tradition, which worship the form of this mammal, but we, as spiritual people, do owe respect to all "sentient" (selfaware) creatures.

We do respect some. We would not tolerate the widespread slaughter, for example, of horses. "That is ridiculous!" one might object. "They're just cows, for Godsake! You are just being silly when you suggest 'respect' for them!"

This is, in fact, the common attitude that dominates our backwards and primitive society. It actually makes the average person laugh, scornfully, to suggest such a "radical" thing as "respect" for cows! On the surface, due to our shared social programming, it does seem absurd!

But it is precisely this attitude-- that living things are not sacred, but are to be regarded, like blocks of wood, as "things," to be used and abused for human convenience, that led the workers at the slaughterhouse to practice animaltorture.

Animaltorture, almost all psychologists agree, is a form of insanity.
Indeed, the practice is regarded as a strong indicator of later sociopathy (absence of a conscience).

By stunning contrast, we, the people of Love, are the people of conscience. We can rely and depend upon our conscience to guide us, telling us the difference between right and wrong. Spiritual adult people do not depend upon holy books to form and direct their lives, but upon a Love-trained conscience.

The truth is, the sociopaths that practiced animaltorture were only a different degree, not a different kind, than the average person.

For the average person is a carnivore. And cows are killed, by the hundreds of thousands, every day, often in nightmarish,hellish ways, to provide the burgers and steaks of carnivores. Some slaughterhouses place electrical prods up the rectums of cows to electrocute them, for it is cheaper than any other way. ("Anything to save a buck.")

But do we not have the "right," as "superior" beings, to kill whatever creatures we want, in order to feed ourselves? Perhaps, if there were no proteinsources outside of meat, if we needed it to survive, this would be a justification.

But to make the situation clear, let us hypothesize that we encountered an alien race from space. Let us further suppose that they were way ahead of us in their evolution. Let us say that they were as far above human beings as we are above cows. And then, let us suppose that they wanted to create "human farms" where human beings could be reared to provide them with meat!

We would hit the roof! Would we not consider this incredibly hideous?
Would we not revolt? At that time, vegetarianism, for the higher life-forms, would no longer be an abstract or academic discussion, but would be a practical-- very highly practical-- issue of survival itself!

Well, I submit to you that it should never be reduced to an academic, abstract idea. The highest compassion should move us all to exercise the compassion on "lower" creatures that we would demand from higher beings!

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