As Long As There Are Slaughterhouses
Killing Is Killing – The Taking Of A Life
“As Long As There Are Slaughterhouses – There Will Be Battlefields” – Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910) – these profoundly wise words from one of Russia’s finest writers are no surprise considering his strong belief in non-violent resistance and his deep understanding of human behaviour. During his forties Tolstoy had a moral crisis followed by a spiritual awakening. He condemned all war – the authoritarian control of government and the concentrated wealth of the aristocracy. He believed in the merits of vegetarianism and if he was alive today I think he might well be involved in animal activism – (the italics are mine).
I believe that the taking of a life changes the heart of a person. Knowing that you have the power to take away the very thing that is the most precious to another human or an animal has an energy all its own. I can see the thrill for an addictive, self-righteous and entitled personality. When the heart has been irreparably soiled – how far is it to a blackened, dead soul? Trophy hunters are the walking dead amongst us.
Once you justify your behaviour – whether from the perspective of self-defence, religion, war, anger, jealousy, besmirched honour, revenge, need or delusion – what follows is the belief that killing is fully justified. Global leaders use this hypothesis to their advantage and their ‘raison d’etre’ for every kind of appalling atrocity.
If we look at the condition of the world today it is run by amoral politicians – billionaires – wealthy corporations – corrupt dictators – drug lords – gangs – thugs – lobbyists and power brokers They buy and sell whatever they want whenever they want – including life.
Let’s leave people to fend for themselves for the moment and turn our attention to the animals with whom we share the planet. They are at our mercy. No matter how large or fierce – we have the power to destroy them. We can silence their voices and stop their beating hearts without a moment’s hesitation. We are their angels of death. And we have become relentless in our pursuit of killing. Humans will destroy any animal – anywhere – any time. We don’t care if it is endangered – pregnant – young – beautiful – old and ailing or strong and vigorous. If we want to take that life – we will bloody well do it.
Many of us turn a blind eye because we have been conditioned from childhood to think that is is normal to kill animals. That’s why animal products are given names. If bacon was called “a sweet little pink piggie sandwich” – do you really think that kids would want to eat it? Beef – chops – wings – fingers – steaks – chuck – stew and veal. These labels are all designed to make us forget the living creature behind the plastic wrapped product.
This Is Your Veal
We are relentlessly marketed to by big corporations. Killing is sealed up behind closed doors so we can’t see what really happens. Rover is “put to sleep” – not killed. Ivory is beautiful – not the “tooth of a beautiful, mangled and dead elephant” – lions and tigers are the “dangerous, ferocious beasts” of the jungle so they need to be in cages so we are safe – a herd needs to be “culled” not massacred. Before too long the slaughter of countless billions of animals (mind numbing in its ferocity) is accepted and seen as normal.
We lament the killing of people because we think we are superior, intelligent and evolved. What is lost on humanity is that we cannot have a peaceful, progressive world when we use “killing”as ‘sport’ – ‘convenience’ and ‘a solution to problems’.
I am constantly amused when I hear world leaders – the UN or whatever “allies” are currently singing their own praises on the news channels – claiming to want “world peace”. No they don’t – they like to go to war. Little boys in short pants (all grown up) – they’re still settling scores from their own sand box days. There is land to be amassed and money to be made from war. One of my favourites is – “we’re protecting our interests in the region”. If you claim that peace and love is your message – you will not be believed if you have cruelty and killing in your heart.
If world leaders wanted peace – they would seriously and diligently work towards it. Because most of us are not political animals (politicians are referred to as predators – liars and corrupt opportunists. These men and women run the world) – we perform within the sphere of influence in our own lives and with the causes that are near and dear to our hearts. Contributing doesn’t need to be on a grand scale. Every small act of kindness and compassion matters. But we are at a turning point. We need to get involved in every culture and every country.
World leaders are not going to do it. They are waging war not peace. They have proven their ineffectiveness over time. They are held on short leashes by their handlers and those to whom they owe favours for their war chests of cash. If we want our planet to survive – the change must come from us.
Leo Tolstoy is right – “As long as there are slaughterhouses – there will be battlefields”. It is not possible to attain peace when we have no respect for life. When we allow religion to be a catalyst for groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. They are not interested in God – they are thugs and criminals using religion as a springboard to war, persecution, ethnic cleansing, hatred and killing.
If we want a better world – we’re going have to make it. Louise Hay – a well know American writer said (I paraphrase) – “The process of life is simple – then we humans come along and make it complicated”. We introduce all our human foibles into every circumstance and then respond accordingly.
For the sake of our beautiful planet – I hope that more people wake up to the fact that we must make our voices heard before it’s too late. In the past 500+ million years there have been 5 mass extinctions. The evidence is all around us – melting polar ice caps – floods – earth quakes – forest fires – famines – disease – pollution – tsunamis – the intentional destruction of our rainforest – wars – genocide – hatred – cruelty – animal/plant extinctions and any form of atrocity that we can come up with – we will do.
I often think that all of the “natural disasters” that are happening with ever greater frequency are a powerful message from Mother Nature. The Earth has absorbed every dropped bomb – every war and human conflict – every destructive swath that has been cut across the beauty of our magnificent Earth. The Planet has soaked up every drop of blood and heard every howl of suffering that animals have endured at our hands. Nature is now screaming at us (because we refuse to listen) “Stop and look at what we are doing – STOP”.
In our arrogance – we think we can control Nature. When Mother Nature is ready to rid herself of the cancer that human kind has become – she will unleash a force that will make us fall to our knees. Our political power and money will mean nothing. From this cleansing will arise a wise and compassionate world. And if we still have not learned – we will be reminded again and again and again until we listen and learn.
And all the while – as Nature screams – we’re focused on our technological devices and the most trite of all human expressions – “the selfie”. Our most recent photo pouting at the camera won’t matter when the 6th mass extinction comes knocking.
In life we have a choice every day about how we behave. Small changes eventually create “critical mass” – now commonly called “the tipping point”. This is where change happens. Slowly at first and then like a domino chain. So please don’t offer up the excuse of “helplessness”. Attitudes change when humans collectively make a decision to get involved. The human spirit over aeons has proven to be indomitable. The best in us is curious – compassionate – loving – helpful – tolerant – inclusive and kind.
Wake Up – You Are Needed!