Subtler Forms of Suffering

I have been wanting to post about things that are not related to food while my life isn’t that interesting something that happened to me today made me think. While this is still somewhat food related at least it is not about something I made. Today I had to take my cat to the veterinarian, the visit itself was not what got me thinking (he has a minor infection, he’ll be fine) but rather getting him there. He was fairly easy to handle but the entire time we were in the car and at the vet’s he was breathing very hard and making noises that he never makes. It was obvious that he was terrified. What this got me thinking about was the transportation of livestock. Much is made of more humane livestock rearing, grass-fed beef, painless slaughter etc. But regardless of how the animal lived it’s life, at one point it will be herded onto a packed transport, driven hundreds of kilometres in all kinds conditions, herded into a slaughter house and killed. Even if they suffer no injury as a direct result of transport there is no way the entire process is not terrifying for them. Though maybe not as extreme as the suffering endured by food animals in other aspects of their lives this is still a very real form of suffering that billions of animals are subjected to. Whether the animal was free-range, organic, or whatever, it was brought into existence solely so it can be brought to this fate, and solely to satisfy our palates. Some may say that there are greater injustices in the world than this, and even for most food animals this is not the worst they endure. But it is still significant because it is a real form of suffering that is the result of a choice we make. While we may not be able to alleviate all the world’s suffering, we can at least not add to it. And by eating meat we unnecessarily add to this suffering that is inherent to meat. In urging his followers to practice compassion for all forms of life the Buddha said “All tremble at the rod. All fear death. Comparing others with oneself, one should neither kill nor cause to kill. All tremble at the rod. Life is dear to all.” When no one would want to tremble in fear why would it be right to subject other beings to that fate, particularly for sensual satisfaction.

“No man has the power or the right to destroy the life of another as life is precious to all.”


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