Monday, 5 May 2014

Vegetarianism or non-vegetarianism - does it matter ?

The harm we cause to animals by using plastics (cows eat it in the garbage heaps, it gets stuck in their stomachs and they die) is far more than we would have caused by eating meat. We need to first use less, cause less garbage. Vegetarianism comes later.  In today's world the damage unleashed by consumerism is far worse. Let us not put vegetarianism as superior to other requirements. That is only divisive and serves no larger purpose. A person who has reduced his needs to a complete minimum, even if he is a non vegetarian occasionally, does less harm than a vegetarian with ACs and cars.

When I first went to the village, Palaguttapalle (Dalitwada) and saw animal sacrifices at the Gangamma frestival, I objected very strongly - I refused to go to the temple. My neighbour child Vanajakshi demanded that I at least add a few grains of rice to her pot as that would also be accepted by the God as an offerring. What does one say to a child ? I added those.

Over later years I saw two truths
1. My purchasing power was far higher than of my landless, very poor neighbours. So I used to buy tea, sugar, dals - and thus generate far more plastic (packageing) than they. These plastics find their way into the garbage, landdumps - and much has been said and written about how cows get strangled to death by plastics wheich they ingest with food. In this day and date, our very lifestyle choice kills and maims far more animals than an option of vegetarianism or non vegetarianism. Espesically in the case of rare eaters of meat as my dalit neighbours.

I stand indicted for causeing far more deaths, knowingly and unknowingly than my dalit neighbous. Though I have always been and am vegetarian for reasons of concern for animals.

2. Within non-vegeratianism, animal sacrifice was just a form of offering to their gods their foods. An animal killed with a prayer as opposed to that killed without a prayer in a city shop.

Continuing to believe that a form of diet that hurts and kills less is a more moral choice, one has to alter lifestyles, reduce drastically all our needs, of petrol, gas, plastic as those probably cause far more deaths to other lifeforms than our meals. Masses of polar bears sitting on ice blocks that are melting away  while we use our frirges and ACs and cars and buses. Whole swathes of birds are rendered homeless as trees are chopped down for brick making klins , while we in ignorance live in lovely concrete houses far away built with baked bricks. Our garbage goes to landfills where cattle 'graze' and eat plastics and quietly die.


I gave up eggs after reading a one page note on caged hen farming twenty years ago. At the same time Eashwaramma rearing her hens and one festival day cooking a meal of them has not mattered so much. The village hens, run all over, scratching the ground for worms through the day lead a full and happy life ... and one day, they die, like we all will too. Its this modernity, and modern industrial production that is hell - for man and beast.

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