But suffering is normal…

“The question of humaneness is fundamental, so in the next part I’m going to confess some of my more deep-seated feelings on suffering in the world.  This is a heavy question.

I guess personally I am more excited about raising animals for eggs and milk rather than for slaughtering.  Most traditional meat-eating societies have rituals they perform to show their respect when they kill an animal (even Judaism), and I think it is unfortunate that we have lost this.  When we treat it as a mechanical thing it shows a kind of disrespect for nature. I agree that living things are sacred.  Death is a part of this sacredness and needs to be held in awe.  I helped Dad slaughter birds as a boy and we made sure that they hardly suffered.  Death came very fast, and eating the meat felt like making use of a gift and helping to recycle the energy and matter of these organisms.  To me it was a symbol of our intimate connection with the animals we’ve been raising as humans for thousands of years.  My whole life since then, whenever I eat meat I think about the animal it came from, even if I know it came from a factory farm.  I think about what it’s life was like and hope that I can make the best use of its gift.  In ecosystems, the predator at the top of the food chain is often known as the “keystone” predator, because it is essential to maintaining the balance of flows of energy and matter.  Since we have come to dominate the animal world, we need to learn how to play this role of balance-maker ourselves.
There is suffering in the world.  There is war and disease, and there is tremendous waste of life occurring around the globe, for countless reasons.  I like to think that this suffering serves a purpose, that none of it is in vain.  It has been going on since the inception of life 4 billion years ago, and it goes on even today.  When you kill a plant and eat it, that is a kind of suffering.  Any time you spay or neuter an animal, that is a very profound kind of suffering, because you are cutting off an evolutionary lineage that is billions of years old.  Death follows life, new life follows death. Every round of evolution culls countless evolutionary branches, and the few that remain burst forth into greater diversity than before.  Our world is on the brink of a great round of destruction that will clear the way for something new.”
The vegan Rebuttal:
With egg and milk production, I must say I am more comfortable than slaughter productions.  The only issue, is that within our current agricultural system, they are completely intertwined. Organic male chicks are routinely ground alive– most likely into fertilizers or.. who knows what, and in order to produce milk, cows and goats have to have babies every few years.  This leads to a drastic increase of animals (particularly with milking) over time.  If you have a definite area to keep the animals, depending on the area it will sustain this kind of growth for a period of time.  However not indefinitely.  These animals must ultimately either be, sold, given away, killed or allowed to overpopulate and degrade the piece of land they live on.  Any commercial grower, slaughters the excess. This is part of how they make a profit on their business.  Any small scale producer, probably will end up giving away animals to others — where the same issues circulate just to a bigger definitive area.  And the reality of our situation in the united states is that not all animal owners are good at taking care of animals, and many of them are killed anyway.. Ultimately milk means slaughtering, or allowing the animals to degrade the system by overpopulation.  There is also the issue of the baby being separated from the mom. These are sentient creatures with just as strong of bonds to their children as we have to ours.  Not saying that everyone will agree that this treatment isn’t ethical, but at minimum, again, I don’t see it as ethical, there is a blood trail or a degradation trail.
I agree that suffering is a part of the world. Definitely, I guess that is why I am so dedicated to wanting to change the evolutionary path of humanity.  What is happening in factory farms is the most atrocious treatment of living beings I have ever witnessed. Cows being slammed in the head with metal pipes, bulls being hacked alive while tied to a rope. Foxes and mink skins beings ripped from their bodies alive. At the end of the day, I want to limit as much power and affluence to the perpetrators behind these industries.  I understand that this isn’t really important to everyone and that is okay.  I know somehow we’ve ended up in this terrifyingly cruel place. Yet simultaneously, I have also seen such profounds marks of beauty, strength and compassion, not only within the human races but among all co habitators of this place.  I guess that is what makes it all worth it.  And sometimes its a struggle to remember the good when we are impounded with so much bad.  But I guess it’s all part of the experience.
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