Friday, June 18, 2010

Going Veg or Semi-Veg –

When I became a vegetarian, back in 1980, it wasn’t a popular thing to do and I took a lot of criticism. I went veg because someone pointed out to me that if I really love animals, why would I eat them? I realized that it was a valid question and that it had first occurred to me back when I was about five years old. All those years ago, standing in Grandma’s kitchen, I’d asked my mother why we would want to eat animals and she had replied "Oh, they know we will eat them and they are happy to be of help", but I remember that I’d had my doubts about that even then.
I stopped eating red meat in 1980 and have not touched it since. A few years later, I stopped eating fowl. For many years, I went completely veg and opted out of dairy and fish. Now, 30 years after my initial decision, I mindfully allow myself some dairy, an occasional serving of farmed fish or turkey, for protein.

My reasons for eating low on the food chain include my desire to lesson the suffering of so-called food animals (who have nervous systems very similar to ours), to lessen the destruction of the land, caused by modern agri-business and factory farming methods, and to enhance my own health and well-being.

Some vegetarians (including me, at times) find that taking a B-12 supplement is beneficial. Morningstar’s veggie-based foods, found in the freezer section of grocery stores, taste great and offer variety and authentic-tasting products in "burgers", "sausage", and "chicken" to prepare at home. Also, most Burger Kings' drive-throughs have a great-tasting veggie-burger. Going veg or deciding to eat less meat can be a liberating and money-saving idea.

Our Earth, Our Home, Our Future–

Our earth’s human population is now at more than six and a half billion and multiplying exponentially every day. No country talks about it. Even Al Gore, in his excellent book "An Inconvenient Truth", only ever-so-lightly touches on the topic. Politically, it would be a "mine field". In my mind, the burgeoning human population is a topic that is critical to issues relating not only to environment, climate change, and dwindling animal habitat, but also to our crime rate, economics, food production, and human dignity ... in the U.S. and throughout the world. So I’ve often pondered the situation. The act of procreation takes only a fleeting moment, is such a natural thing and, so often, just "happens", even when birth control is accessible. I asked my minister for her thoughts about the human population dilemma. She thought on it for a while and then said: "Suppose people would consider adoption as a first – rather than a last – resort, thus providing a loving family for a homeless or orphaned child and doing this wonderful thing for our world"! This was a stroke of loving genius and I wish I could say that I came up with the concept! Considering adoption – as a first resort! If people and countries begin to talk about population, this simple concept would be a logical and compassionate place to start.

What Is Sporting? –

Wildlife animals are killed for sport. These include deer, squirrels, elk, bears, and others. Let's take a closer look at this: 1) being shot hurts (I know because I was shot and it really hurt, 2) hunters shoot the biggest and best-looking animals which weakens the herd and gene pool of that species, 3) in a real sport, both participants are willing and they are sort of even in their skills ... but hunters have high-tech equipment and many advantages over animals ... and animals are not willing participants, 4) those species whose numbers are said to be increasing too much are doing so because people have unbalanced the environment by killing off the animal’s natural predators ... so a control solution would be to restore nature’s balance and not tamper with or destroy habitat, 5) there is something ethically wrong about inflicting needless bloodshed and suffering. I have a booklet called "Think Like The Animal", written by Norm Phelps, a hunter who had a change of heart and perspective. I'm thinking now of a poignant quote -- "The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest"—Henry David Thoreau.

How precious it is to see wildlife animals, in wild places ... living. Let's save what there is left of the natural world. And there are a lot of good things to be said about compassion, starting with these two: It puts us in sync with other people and the rest of earth's creatures. It's definitely a quality that makes a person more attractive and magnetic.