“One of the greatest threats to humanity at the moment is the meat and dairy industries.” — Will Tuttle, author of “The World Peace Diet”
Will Tuttle, a former Zen monk, wrote “The World Peace Diet.” In a YouTube interview, he asserts that the most important thing to talk about in saving biodiversity, and ourselves, is our choice of foods and “the massive violence against animals, impregnated against their wills, their babies stolen, all kinds of mutilations … castrations without anesthesia … horrific violence and suffering is just routine. … In order to continue this food system, we have numbed ourselves to the suffering of beings whose interests in survival and being happy are just as important to them as ours are to us.”
As the Wisconsin State Fair launches, celebrating cream puffs, sausages, bison meat and how to milk a cow, its popularity manifests the unprecedented changes people must make in time to save a living planet. For citizens of Wisconsin, inured to animal agriculture as normal, there is a complacent culturally indoctrinated lack of empathy to transcend.
Having just written about planetary threats of climate change, and lack of U.S. political leadership, I have a duty to empower each of us to take immediate personal responsibility with one simple change: Embrace a vegan diet.
After the United Nations delivered a 2007 report that animal agriculture causes more climate change than all transportation, the World Watch Institute did more in depth studies, finding that 51 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to raising 56 billion land animals annually for slaughter.
Humans destroy wildlife massively to facilitate it.
Tuttle explains that this day-to-day cruelty affects us at a basic spiritual level. We also have ample documentation of how unhealthy animal flesh and animal-based products are. According to Tuttle, toxins concentrated in meat, milk and cheeses are coming from monocultured genetically modified feed crops, soaked in poisons, resulting in high human cancer rates.
About 75 million land animals are slaughtered every single day in the United States alone.
It brings to mind the recent closing of the Black Earth slaughterhouse described in the Capital Times article featuring entrepeneur/owner Bartlett Durand, who also runs the Conscious Carnivore meat shop in Madison, standing in the window with a sign: “We Honor These Animals, For By Their Death We Gain Life.” For his clever marketing, he was dubbed the “Zen butcher.” As people have been exposed to the violence of raising animals for their consumption, the Conscious Carnivore myth soothes those inconvenient twinges of conscience and awareness with “feel-good humane slaughter” rationale. There are some interesting points made in the comments section at the end of the Cap Times story.
(The Alliance for Animals sells a little bumper sticker: ”Wisconsin, America’s Cow Hell.”)
Ashley Capps addresses the “humane farming” myth by detailing the slavery inflicted: Humans decide how and where you live; what you eat; whether you know your mother; whether you will be with your own species; when, how and if you reproduce; what space you have or not; whether you receive veterinary care. “If these were the circumstances of your brief and unfree life,” asks Capps, “at the end of which you would be forcefully restrained, attacked, and slaughtered against your will, at a fraction of your natural lifespan, all for completely unnecessary reasons — would you maintain that you had been humanely treated?”
In “They die piece by piece” in 2001, Washington Post writer Joby Warrick wrote: “It takes 25 minutes to turn a live steer into steak at the modern slaughterhouse where Ramon Moreno works. For 20 years, his post was ‘second-legger,’ a job that entails cutting hocks off carcasses as they whirl past at a rate of 309 an hour.
“The cattle were supposed to be dead before they got to Moreno. But too often they weren’t.
” ‘They blink. They make noises,’ he said softly. ‘The head moves, the eyes are wide and looking around.’ Still Moreno would cut. On bad days, he says, dozens of animals reached his station clearly alive and conscious. Some would survive as far as the tail cutter, the belly ripper, the hide puller. ‘They die,’ said Moreno, ‘piece by piece.’ ”
At one time in Britain, slaughterhouse workers were not allowed to vote because they were not considered morally of sound judgment. And what of our collective moral character in sustaining slaughterhouses?
Zen butchery appears to be a successful marketing ploy. Durand is suing the village for $5.3 million. Entrepreneurial slaughter pays off the few — but costs us the life of the planet.
Tuttle says, “If you care at all about wildlife, about wolves and coyotes, foxes, otters, prairie dogs, and fish and this beautiful celebration of life on this planet … if you care at all about animals that are imprisoned and tortured . ..if you have any heart at all for those beings, or any heart at all for hungry people,” a plant-based diet is the leap of evolutionary consciousness to help all life on earth repair from our barbaric human domination.
Empathy is not just good karma — it is homeland defense.