In 2012, 43355 people were murdered in India. That’s a big number.
In 2012, 1.4 billion chickens were slaughtered in India. That’s a slightly bigger number.
Over 56 billion farmed animals are killed every year by humans. More than 3,000 animals die every second in slaughterhouses around the world. These astounding figures don’t even include fish and other sea creatures who are killed in such gigantic numbers that their mass is only measured in tonnes!
Humans seem to believe that the world was created, with its bountiful supplies, solely for them. This misconception has led humans to think that they can use these supplies in any way they wish.
The cruelty to animals is distressing. The manner in which animals are kept in poultry farms is pathetic. Chickens, for example, are cramped into such minuscule places, that they are never allowed to live a natural life and often never see sunlight except when they’re taken from where they are stored to the butcher shops. Paul McCartney famously said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”
Proper nutrition can be derived from the correct vegetarian diet- one doesn’t need to resort to non-vegetarianism. In fact, several meat products have been shown to have adverse effects on health, causing higher chances of cardiovascular diseases, liver cirrhosis and several forms of cancers.
Some might wonder that if animals and plants are both living, then why one should only abstain from consuming animals. The reason is very simple- fruits are not parts of the larger body on which they grow, i.e., either a shrub or tree. Their use to the tree is only to attract creatures for pollination, after which the fruits fall off. Vegetables, too are often parts of larger plants which are not killed when the vegetables are harvested. A very crucial difference between animals and plants is that animals have feelings while plants do not.
The Mythbusters, a famous show aired on National Geographic, demonstrated that when the presenters dropped eggs randomly into boiling water in front of a plant, the plant, which was connected to sense current flow through a galvanometer, had no reaction whatsoever, and the show concluded that the theory of plants having feelings, was not true. There have been several other tests performed by various people that culminated in the same result.
Taking the anatomy of humans into consideration, some expert researchers have also deduced, and rather logically too, that humans were inherently herbivores. This claim isn’t baseless. Humans can’t tear flesh with their hands unlike a lion which can with its claws, nor are the so called canine teeth we possess even comparable to the canines in carnivorous animals in terms of their size and sharpness. Our intestines, too, are extremely long- to help digestion, unlike those of carnivores which are short, to allow the quick disposal of all that rotting flesh they eat.
The human species is a very intellectually advanced species when compared to several other species on the Earth. When we can understand complex processes such as the fusion and fission of atoms and rocket science, then why can’t we perceive the pain we inflict on animals when we kill them only to satiate our taste buds?
The vegetarianism versus non-vegetarianism debate is not a new one, and many scholars from various religions have pondered over the questions raised. In Hinduism, Tuesdays and Saturday and often demarcated as days on which no non vegetarian food must be consumed. Ayurveda classifies foods as Satvic, Rajasic or Tamasic. Saatvic foods are described as “pure, natural, vital, energy-containing, clean, and true” and are the only foods accepted as offerings to Gods. They contain no meat products. Rajasic foods are said to neither cause benefit nor harm, while Tamasic foods are said to cause negative impacts and contain non vegetarian products along with eggs.
Lord Buddha was said to have spoken against meat eating, while many Christians observe abstinence from the consumption of meat during Lent. Several Jewish scholars believe God to have intended man to be vegetarian.
If one delves into the history of Sikhism, one would find it to be said that if killing living beings was considered to be a righteous action, then what would be considered unrighteous? The saint Kabir had said that “If you say that God resides in all, why do you kill a hen?”
Jainism, as a religion, is all for vegetarianism, even condemning the consumption of foods such as root vegetables owing to a large number of micro organisms living on and around those foods.
Some of you might have watched The Bee Movie. It implied that had humans not collected the honey that bees produced, it would have resulted in the stagnation of the activity of bees, leading to a drastic fall in pollination and the subsequent decline in floral population. Bees appeared on the Earth nearly 40 million years ago; man- hardly 2.5 million years ago. Had there been such a catastrophe, I don’t think our species would’ve ever existed.
The reason that I referred to the movie was because similarly, some people claim that were humans not to consume meat, the population of animals would swiftly increase beyond control. What they fail to realise is that many of the animal species now eaten, have been domesticated by man, and are now raised in poultry farms to produce a large number of their kind, for human consumption.
It is estimated, that if the grain fed to animals in western countries were consumed directly by people instead of animals, we could feed at least twice as many people. Considering vegetarianism from an environmental point of view, massive tracts of forest land are cut down to store the gigantic amount of animals produced for meat. Overgrazing by these animals has led to severe soil erosion and the carbon footprints left by the animals tremendously add to global warming.
Vegetarianism is often linked only to the non-consumption of animals, but the very essence of vegetarianism is non-violence- or ahinsa. True vegetarianism can, according to me, only be observed when one abstains from the use of products, derived from massacring animals, such as leather from cows, horns from rhinoceroses and bones from tigers.
Is it fair that murdering a person is a criminal offence by law, but killing certain animals is just another day at work for some people- and that they’re paid for it? So before you call for that favourite non vegetarian dish of yours, think if it is worth shedding the blood of an innocent creature for a few moments of your pleasure.
There are several foods that might help a person eating non vegetarian food, make a transition to vegetarianism without yearning for meat. Find some of them here. Make the change! Please comment if you disagree with anything. Thanks.