Saying you are a compassionate person and actually living with compassion can be two very different things.
True compassion goes beyond the words we speak. It filters into virtually every area of our life including how we treat animals. It is amazing how many people say they care about animals and yet, in the next breath they are consuming some type of animal based product.
The fact is, how animals are raised (and killed) for consumption is NOT compassionate. The great majority of animals are bred, born, and raised (albeit for very short periods of time) on factory farms. If you have done any research on factory farming, you know it is incredibly inhumane.
What you may not know is how abused workers can be in factory farms. Many are undocumented and forced to do unspeakably cruel work simply to be able to feed their own families.
According to the Food Empowerment Project website, “A large percentage of factory farm workers are black and brown peoples including migrant workers from Mexico and other parts of Latin America. The majority of workers are full-time laborers who have relocated to the rural towns dominated by factory farming. In addition, several thousand temporary workers are brought in annually through the government’s H-2A work visa program.
“An unknown percentage of full-time and part-time workers are undocumented. Employers find undocumented workers to be ideal recruits because they are less likely to complain about low wages and hazardous working conditions.”
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Those working in factory farms are often as much the victims as the animals.
One is left to wonder how someone can be in an environment of death and not feel deep despair. Admittedly, many people shut down their emotions in order to work in these environments.
Although it seems that factory farms are a necessary evil, only one part of that belief is true. Factory farms are evil. “Necessary” they are not.
With foresight and planning, many of the animal producing farms could be developed into more sustainable models. For example, water usage and water pollution could be dramatically reduced by switching from animal production to one of sustainable foods like produce.
According to One Green Planet, “In the United States, around 27 billion animals are raised for food every year. These animals are subjected to lives in extreme confinement where they live in fear and pain. The cruelty that these animals experience is rather well-known and understood, however, the negative environmental impact that raising this many animals causes is less so.
“One of the most notable ways that factory farming impacts the environment comes in the form of water pollution.
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Eating as Our Spiritual Way
Without a doubt, the most spiritual thing we can do is to consume a diet completely void of animal based products. Therein resides true compassion.
Recently, I watched Prayer for Compassion documentary. https://amzn.to/3fD3ILm
The film follows Thomas Wade Jackson, winner of a Student Academy Award, on a quest to make a better world for his daughter that crisscrosses America and takes him to Morocco for the UN Climate Conference and throughout the Indian subcontinent to ask the question, “Can compassion grow to include all beings?”
The film also features long-time vegan, activist and founder of Main Street Vegan Academy, Victoria Moran. Recognized as a highly influential voice of reason for the animals, Victoria presents a perspective that will leave you questioning your food choices from this point forward. At 70 years old, Victoria is the picture of health and vitality.
Author of many vegan books, including The Good Karma Diet, Victoria attributes this to being 100% vegan for decades.
The film was such an eye opener on so many levels. Sure, there were many things I am keenly aware of such as the abuse to animals in factory farms. But the film also gets into the spiritual side of non-consumption of animal and dairy products.
There is plenty of evidence that many people talk about compassion to animals, yet, the way the animals are discarded, indicates otherwise.
Humans Are Incredibly Out of Balance
The human way of living is very out of balance. We are out of balance with nature, the environment, animals and each other.
Many religions actually talk about compassion to all living beings, but few practice it to the fullest extent.
Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, founders of Unity Church, were firm believers in eating only live food. They were adamant about this.
Charles and Myrtle Fillmore did not eat meat. Soon after the founding of Unity, they decided that a meatless diet was conducive to spiritual thinking, and from time to time in their magazines, they advocated vegetarianism. They felt that it is more humane and more healthful.
Sadly, many Unity members, as well as members of both traditional and more metaphysic teachings do consume animal and dairy products. On the one hand, they profess to follow the teachings of the core of the religion or spiritual practice, on the other hand, their palate speaks otherwise.
Jesus had the answer, but few people today pay heed to his message when it comes to eating a plant based diet.
“In a teaching to his disciples in Lection XXXII, verse 4, of The Gospel of the Hebrews, Jesus is completely clear about the opposition to killing and eating animals:
“For the fruits of the trees and the seeds of the herbs alone do I partake, and these are changed by the Spirit into my flesh and my blood. Of these alone and their like shall ye eat who believe in me, and are my disciples, for of these, in the Spirit, come to life and health and healing unto man.”
When we commit to a life of compassion, this means we do commit to compassion for all animals. When we have this type of compassion, it is impossible to consume meat and dairy of any type.
Yet, justification continues by those who allow their palate to dictate their behaviors. Momentary pleasure in one’s mouth supersedes compassion in ways we cannot completely comprehend. Yet, once are eyes and hearts are open to the truth, it’s very difficult to go back to pretending to not know.
To watch A Prayer for Compassion go to: http://aprayerforcompassion.com/