In my previous post, I wrote about why I choose to have pets. For my second reason of having pets, I stated that my religion thought me to nurture animals and how killing, inflicting pain and slaughtering animals could be bad for your karma. I'm sure some of you must be wondering if I chose to be vegan or not. Well, I'm sorry to disappoint some of you, but I'm not vegan.
I am a big fan of Buddha's teachings. I think he might have been among the first animal rights activist in history. Proof of his work today can be seen in India where majority of it's population are vegetarians. It's more of a choice than a requirement really.
From my research on Buddhist vegetarianism, Buddha only prohibited his followers against the consumption of exotic meat which includes humans. Only monks and nuns are required to be full time vegans in order for them to reach a higher level of spirituality. From this, my opinion on vegetarianism is a practice to make one appreciate the life of every living creature as well as training oneself not to overindulge in food.
I chose not to be a vegan because I studied a lot about animals and the concept of ecosystem. Human kind had to hunt to survive. If eating grass kept us strong, nourished and full, the people of Africa wouldn't be suffering today with malnutrition and hunger. However, overindulgence on meat would lead to obesity and unnecessary culling of animals. Hence, I support free range, humane slaughter and a balance diet. Furthermore, I know what I'm talking about when it comes to food and nutrition. I am a Cook after all. I quit my job because I was suffering too much. There was just too much waste and I can't do anything about it.
Why support all that and not end the killing of animals for food by being vegan instead?
My logical answer is, I believe in evolution. We have canines for a reason. Most of you would know that Chimpanzees are the closest living relatives to humans. However did you know that they hunted other species of monkeys as a food source as well as using that meat as a 'social tool' to negotiate within their community?
Humans are Omnivores. Our canines wore down because we no longer needed to use our teeth to kill and protect ourselves. Heck, we still need our teeth today to protect us sometimes in dire situations. We became more civilized, more intelligent and superior. It is by God's design and it is by eating meat, human kind has survived to this very day.
I respect the food chain and the reason why poultry, pork, beef, mutton, and fish are meant to be human food. Humans started farming was to also ensure we did not break the balance of nature. If we were to release all livestock into the wild, the amount of devastation they inflict will be far too great.
Besides, livestock if left in the wild would still end up being food to other animals. They are actually very privileged to be human food if it's free range. Given space to roam around, shelter, protection, unlimited food, and a steady supply of clean water during their short life. They get to live like royalty before serving their purpose in life.
However, that is not enough if they were to die a slow and agonizing death. That is why I support humane slaughter of animals.
Fun fact! Did you know that chickens have a deactivation spot? You lay them flat on their backs and they won't feel pain. Veterinarians used to practice their surgical skills on chickens without anesthetic by laying them flat on their backs. This does not mean everyone get to inflict pain on a chicken for fun to test this theory out! This method is only used to treat injured chickens by professional vets and maybe to humanely slaughter poultry in humane slaughter houses.
A quick painless death is the best way to go. In the case of exotic meat, I choose to stay away from it because it's unnecessary culling, inhumane and ethically wrong. I'm perfectly satisfied with the normal selection of meat that I am given.
One thing that I really dislike about the food industry is the 'all you can eat buffets'. Everyday at work, I have to throw away the leftovers from the breakfast buffet. Perfectly edible food, all gone to waste. I am a Cook is due to the fact that I love and appreciate food. I will never waste even a grain of rice because I understand the hard work people put into harvesting rice. Wasting meat is even more heartbreaking. I don't regret quitting my job in the kitchen.
It is important that we don't overeat, but to eat healthy instead with a well balanced diet.
All in all, I'm not saying you shouldn't be a vegetarian. I think it's AWESOME to be vegetarian because it does help you to be a better human being. Being vegan makes us appreciate life more, appreciate food and train us not to overindulge.
You know what? Writing this has made me realize I have been falling behind on my appreciation of food. I think I'm gonna start a tradition for myself. Yeah! Starting from next month, I promise to be a vegetarian a whole week, once a month. It could really improve my salad making skills and might inspire me to aspire to be a chef of my own restaurant one day. Everyday Tofu here I come!