“Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
The spinning fury at the core of our culture, animal agriculture, not only exploits and destroys the lives and purposes of animals, it does the same to humans as well, and we see this playing out now with this draconian lockdown of healthy people, eroding mental health, human rights, and economic independence, and destroying countless small and medium businesses (including vegan ones).
In my lectures over the years, I’ve described animal agriculture as a Trojan horse: on the surface it appears to be a helpful gift, but on closer examination, and with deeper understanding, we see clearly that it is an utterly harmful force in our individual and collective lives, incessantly harming the health of our ecosystems and society, as well as our physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being.
Animal agriculture is also the hidden cause of the COVID pandemic, and of the dominant narrative that is imprisoning billions of people in fear and confusion in their homes, and eroding our capacity to speak up and defend our basic freedoms. We are reaping the harvest that we have been sowing for decades and centuries. This is our banquet of consequences. Our culture has created a vast system of animal enslavement that heartlessly condemns billions of sentient beings—whose interests are as significant to them as ours are to us—to lives of misery, terror, and pain. Their purposes are stolen and they are reduced to mere material units of production in a rapacious economic system that sells them by the pound. They are impregnated on rape racks, their offspring immediately stolen, exploited, and killed, and all are forcibly vaccinated and drugged, tracked, microchipped, mercilessly mutilated and oppressed, and brutally killed in an unnecessary, ugly, surreal prison-world devoid of meaning and respect. Animal agriculture defines our society.
Those of us who purchase the flesh and secretions of these unfortunate beings, which is most of humanity worldwide, are the causal forces propelling this system ever onward with the flood of money we spend—votes we cast—driving its ongoing and reckless devastation. Thus, as we persist in engineering and imposing a dystopian future on billions of beings, we now see the gaping maw of a dystopian future looming before our eyes. Mandatory confinement, separation of family members, loss of basic freedoms, forced vaccinations, routine microchipping, mass tracking and surveillance: all these standard factory-farm practices are now being openly discussed and planned by health officials, pharmaceutical representatives, and government agencies. What we relentlessly inflict on farmed animals we see manifesting in our human world, and, ironically, we seem powerless and strangely uninspired to stop it.
Why is this? Why are we so unable to see the obvious and respond with clarity, vitality, and solidarity to these insidious existential dangers to us and to our children? Why are we immobilized by fear and mesmerized by the voices of authority, unable to connect with either our intuitive wisdom or to think critically about our situation? Why the nearly-blind allegiance to mainstream media narratives and medical-pharmaceutical forces that we should by now have learned to question? Why do we find those relative few who dare to speak up and question the dominant COVID narrative to be so threatening?
It is because animal agriculture not only exploits animals, it exploits us. As we exploit and abuse, we will be exploited and abused. Each one of us, as we purchase meat, dairy, or egg products, becomes an invisible killer to the cows, pigs, hens, and fishes we are exploiting. We directly but invisibly cause terror, pain, and death, and we compound it further by eating it and feeding it to our vulnerable and innocent children, ritually indoctrinating them as we were. We are the invisible killers, but we repress this awareness, and project it outward, impulsively terrified of invisible killers, which seem to be everywhere.
We spend billions on military defense to protect ourselves from lurking terrorists, and now are even more frightened by microscopic enemies, the hordes of viruses, pathogens, and other unseen agents of death arising and projected from our unfaced violence.
This is our shadow: our repressed awareness, guilt, and shame, propelling us to give our power away to authorities in the vain hope they will protect us. At war with animals, nature, and each other, we make war on invisible viruses as well, completely failing to understand them in our fear-based materialist delusion. We see and suspect enemies and threats everywhere because we are the enemies and threats, and our fear sends us into the waiting arms of the merciless global conglomerates, who provide both the narrative and the toxic “solution.” They will profit from us more in power even than in dollars. They have purchased both media and government, and we find ourselves, the wounded and programmed dominators of animals, increasingly dominated by impersonal forces beyond our control.
There is but one way to human freedom, and to a world of health and harmony, and that is the way of ahimsa—nonharmfulness to other beings—a vegan world of respect for all. We will be worthy of understanding and appreciating ourselves and everyone on this beautiful and abundant planet when we dismantle the entrenched narrative of human superiority and entitlement. A new story is yearning to be born in our human culture. It has ancient roots, and this current emergency (emerge-and-see), if we respond appropriately, can put us on a higher path of liberation and healing.
It seems that vegans are in a unique position to be the midwife helpers of this new birth. We have been discussing for decades how animal agriculture is the source of many of the food-borne diseases afflicting humanity, such as campylobacter, listeria, salmonella, and mad-cow, as well as the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the zoonotic spread of disease. Beside this of course, are the many diseases caused by diets high in animal-sourced foods, such as heart disease, liver and kidney disease, diabetes, obesity, dementia, and many forms of cancer. As vegans, we are typically making a conscious effort to take responsibility for our health and also to contribute to the health of others, and to question the established animal agriculture narratives that promote violence toward animals, hungry people, workers, ecosystems, indigenous people, future generations, and our own organs, cells, and relationships.
Fortunately, it seems that increasing numbers of people are beginning to make the connections between animal agriculture and the many assaults on our collective health and freedom. May we all do our best to keep this momentum increasing, and to protect our rights and prevent censorship. These are the immense opportunities and challenges we are currently facing. Thanks for contributing your heart, love, critical thinking, and deep questioning during this demanding time.