Hi Chris thanks for your thoughts. I can tell that you mean what you are saying, what you are asking. So I want to be honest. Just to preclude my thoughts, I too came to the same conclusions you did in my twenties, about meat and the environment. I worked as a natural foods chef for years as well.
So my response, in brief, about why I wrote this:
Over a decade ago, one of my closest friends killed herself. She hung herself in the basement of her small house because life didn’t make any sense to her and it was just too painful. She was one of the best people I have ever known. She cared about animals with all of her soul, especially her two dogs.
I struggled to deal with that for awhile. I became a Buddhist and took the Bodhisattva vows. That helped ease the suffering in my own heart.
I few years later one of my best friends JB died of melanoma — the skin cancer ate away at him for years until his body just wasn’t able to function anymore. I remember him telling me stories about coughing up tumors in the car as he went to work with his partner. He had followed the Gerson therapy, eating the best fruit and veggies he could. It was a palliative measure, and the cancer still won. He cared about people immensely and would go out of his way to help anybody in need if he could. I respected his integrity and kindness, and consider him a role model.
A few years after he passed on, my good friend Krista died of breast cancer. She had worked hard her whole life making a difference in her community and saving the planet one small step at a time. She organized a Green convention in my hometown of Minneapolis, MN that drew thousands of people and hundreds of eco-vendors. Cancer ate away slowly at her and she also followed a vegan or occasional local meat or cheese diet. Basically the best possible foods. She was a tremendous friend to many lucky folks.
Other deaths in my life have affected me. I remember watching my puppy being hit by a pickup truck, ending her life when I was about five. My grandparents passed away when I was in my late twenties.
I’ve thought about death a lot. As a lapsed Buddhist I consider the question “How do I reduce suffering?” quite a bit.
The trials and tribulations of farming on a small scale are many. I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to grow food, whether vegetables or animals.
My intent with any of my writing is to share my perspective and thoughts and perhaps to spark yours. I invite you, and anyone else who can be civil, to converse on these topics — Perhaps you can share your perspective and it will change mine. I don’t know.
But the whole thrust of the article was that without respect, we are cruel animals and we cause suffering to others. I understand how hard it is for pretty much anyone who hasn’t raised food to understand how much death it takes to do so, but that is what I am trying to elucidate in my writing.
I am not trying to tell anyone how to think. I want to hear different perspectives, but with respect for each other’s lives. Not hatred.
Does that make sense to you?