In this week’s blog, I wanted to talk about the quote from last Saturday which appeared in Wayne Dyer’s perpetual calendar Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life, which provides daily quotes from the Tao Te Ching.
The quote that day read:
Be wise and help all beings impartially, abandoning none.
This is talking about the fact that we are all one, and that no being has a greater value than any other, because we are all an integral part of All That Is.
We see this principle reflected in the actions of people around the world in many and varied situations.
We see it with the rescue workers and firefighters who risk their lives every day as part of their job. We see it in times of natural disaster, when people rally to help those left with nothing.
We saw it during the recent floods when people risked their own lives to help horses who were barely managing to remain afloat.
We have seen countless stories of people who come to the aid of other people and animals in distress. These people seem to be living by this principle too.
Video Courtesy of Animals Australia
I applaud all these people. Yet, how many of these rescuers go home to eat of their pork or chicken meal, having little concern for the distress that the animals suffered prior to them becoming meat for people’s dinners.
How can we, as a species, rescue a horse or a dog in distress, but allow countless animals to, not only die in distress, but live their entire lives in abject misery?
The answer is: we don’t see it.
We teach our children to eat meat, but when children are faced with the reality of where their meat comes from, they run and scream in horror, as the majority of we adults would do, as well.
As Paul McCartney said: “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”
We allow other people to slaughter our meat for us, and we wonder why there is increasing cruelty in abattoirs. The workers there have hardened their hearts to no longer feel their inherent empathy. The only way they can carry out their work is if they objectify these beings, assigning them the same value as an unfeeling piece of plastic.
Yet the cruelty often starts even before the being is even conceived, with artificial insemination of his or her mother. Any industry which uses animals to make money is at risk of, one day, giving greater weight to the money to be made, than to the welfare of the animals.
We have seen this happen in the Greyhound Racing and Horse Racing industries. Animal welfare has become a distant memory in all industries where animals are raised for food and fur.
We allow children to feel their empathy for household pets, and even farmyard animals in petting zoos. However, we fail to educate our children about the consequences of every mouthful of meat they consume and every leather seat they sit on.
Don’t get me wrong; I, too, consumed meat for many years. I wore leather shoes and sat on leather couches. I, too, had been fed meat as a child, and was not educated about the similarities between our family pets and the food we eat.
But times have changed since my childhood. More and more animals are becoming part of a factory farm system, and their suffering has increased exponentially.
Even after hearing about these horrendous systems, I failed to change my habits, thinking, erroneously, that one person cannot make a difference.
I am just as guilty as all of you who still turn a blind eye to the suffering which we inflict on millions of animals every year.
It is time now to consider the consequences of our actions – the consequences of our actions to all those beings who suffer on our behalf – and to teach our children about these consequences.
It is time now to allow our natural empathy for our pets to extend to all sentient beings.
It is time now to understand that one person can make a difference. Each person has the power to make either a positive or a negative difference to other beings.
It is time now to be wise, and help all beings impartially, abandoning none.