IS HUMAN STOMACH AN ANIMAL CEMETARY?
We are supposed live today in a much advanced world where many spend nearly one third of their life time in seats of higher learning known as universities and acquiring so - called ‘ knowledge’, yet such a process of learning can turn into an utter waste of time if one does not lead and experience life without giving much thought to veracities of one’s life.
In this regard, to guide and lead man in the right direction religions of various kind have emerged to educate and upgrade peoples’ knowledge wherever there appears to be a lack of reasoning of discernment that bars peoples’ lives to a fuller existence.
At the end of this life’s sojourn, everyone faces death! However, some tend to believe that there is no plan or a purpose in their mundane life, and the universe itself is a series of accidental phenomena. Such self-opinionated theories of ‘non- existent laws’ that govern action and reaction will drastically affect the behavior of such people. In such a backdrop moral responsibility to respect for other creatures fail exist.
Despite such negative theories, the majority of the world population seems to accept the fact that peoples’ behavioral patterns to circumstances do matter a great deal and whatever we do must affect other people as well as themselves. In Buddhism and Hinduism this is, to a certain extent, referred to as Karma or cause and effect.
During the Sixth Century BC, Westerners, who followed the eminent Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras, who created a vegetarian community, did learn that a salubrious diet had produced most of the intellectuals as well as virtuous Hellenic philosophers, savants and moralists in the bygone years.
However, when taken into account and in contrast many a disease and obesity is rampant even among the younger generation today due to consumption of junk food that are garnished with chemicals and preservatives. On a brighter side we are beginning to see a growing trend towards organic and fruitarian way of looking at life without causing unnecessary harm to other living creatures.
The declaration of the word ‘vegetarian’ was coined as far back in 1842 in England. It derives from the Latin word ‘egetus’ meaning ‘whole’ ‘sound’ ‘fresh’ or ‘lively’. The first avaricious organisation devoting completely to an advocacy of fleshless diet was found in Manchester calling it the ‘Vegetarian Society’.
With whatever difficulties experienced those days, the vegetarian society survived over the decades in closest harmony and co-operation, which resulted in its expansion throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
Out of the British movement, the International Vegetarian Union sprang up in 1908. During the early 1950s London became the permanent headquarters for the International Vegetarian Society with affiliated centres in nearly every country with points of contacts with many others.
When mentioned the term ‘ vegetarian’ what springs to mind immediately is vegetables as the only form of diet, but there are inexhaustible range of produce such as leafy vegetables, legumes, roots, herbs, grain, seeds and dried fruits, berries and nuts. Some consider even eggs as part of a vegetarian diet.
The advantages of vegetarianism are progressively becoming desirable throughout the world. For example Department of Education in the UK recently advised against junk food to children in school lunches and to be substituted with more vegetables and fruits. This was due to the fear of the young getting heavy, plump and obese.
The presence of greasy animal fat in the intestines is believed to inhibit calcium intake and it is now recognised as a major factor in coronary heart disease. Calcium is key for the health of bones and teeth, but it also affects muscles, hormones, nerve function, and has the ability to form blood clots. Research has suggested (although not yet confirmed) that calcium may help other problems like PMS, high blood pressure, and possibly weight gain.
Consumption of meat has been considered for many years as a means of obtaining an essential food element until in 1955 issue of The Extra Pharmacopoeia gave coup de grace to this belief. Proteins are not generally synthesized in the intestine but are obtained by consuming food, the primary source for this process coming from the vegetable kingdom. It is from this source that animals of great strength, endurance and stature, such as elephants and rhinoceros obtained their supplies of energy without any of the disadvantages inseparable from flesh.
Although the human being has progressed to unprecedented intellectual levels with modern scientific and medical theories, the world is still baffled by widespread infirmity with a substantial amount of degenerative diseases mainly intestinal type. Some come up with the argument that carnivorous animals such as tigers and lions are slimmer than elephants or cows that are vegetarians!
Infants live purely on milk containing a balanced mixture of vitamins, minerals and proteins, which are essential for their growth. During the weaning process baby foods containing toxins are gradually introduced. The child through natural instincts first rejects as a means of protest when the first dose of meat or fish is introduced, but the mother’s persistence overcomes the infant’s natural resistance! The child then gradually becomes conditioned and accepts the nasty smells and tastes. Such early conditioning will make people meat eaters against of their choice!
No religion advocates killing. The great philosopher Confucius followed the golden Chinese rule of “ what you do not want done to yourself do not do to others”. Lao Tze, Lord Buddha, Mahavira, Isaiah and Zoroaster have taught the unity in life – i.e. ‘To achieve perfection one has to be in harmony with life’. Ahimsa or inoffensiveness was the core of Lord Buddha’s ethical philosophy.
Christians can find justification for vegetarianism in the Old Testament. A practicing Christian need to ask oneself if the horrors of the slaughter house, catching wild animals for food, torturing defenseless creatures in vivisection (alive cutting) laboratories and many other outrageous disgraces humans inflict on the animal kingdom are in keeping with love and compassion?
God said: ‘Behold’! I have given you every herb-bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree-yielding seed to you, it shall be for meat, and to every beast of the earthy and every fowl of the air and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life I have given every green herb for meat’ – Genesis.
Human being will awaken to acknowledge and sanctity of all life when individual stomachs become less and less an animal cemetery receiving the partly cremated portions of dead animals.
Tilak S. Fernando