June 14th, 2024

Humanity will be extinct if it continues on the same path


By Lethbridge Herald on May 24, 2024.

Editor:

Transporting live horses by air to supply fresh horse meat to Japan is provoking consternation among animal lovers. A commentator on CBC Radio says that it shows ignorance of the city dwelling animal loving romantics about the food. I, too, was like those animal lovers, not particularly interested to know how meat comes to our table. Living eight years in Africa,however, forced me to face the real world. Let me begin with the story that brought me to reality.

I lived in the Kingdom of Lesotho teaching at a university. I bought my first horse after I became a prohibited person in South Africa in 1971 because of my friendship with “subversive elements” against the racist South African government. I could not get out of the land-locked country for several years. So I learned to ride a horse. Everybody rode a horse in Lesotho, even a mother carrying a baby on her back. A horse was the best mode of transportation in the mountainous country. A horse was cheaper than a bicycle. Our first horse was a gelding. We named him Mokopu. The name means Pumpkin. He was gentle and patient. We loved him. He taught my family of three how to ride. After Mokopu died, we bought three horses for the three of us trekking and camping in the mountains for holiday. I suspect we had a lot more fun than people who drove or flew for vacation. 

Horses can break wind on the backside but cannot belch. So they often die of colic. One day Mokopu started to accumulate gas in the digestive system unable to break wind. After a few days, he was in extreme agony and the intestine became twisted, which was a fatal condition. We took turns pouring paraffin into the stomach day and night trying to make his system loosen up. It didn’t work. In the end, the veterinarian shook his head and handed me a .22. He marked X on a spot between the eyes. Mokopu looked at me just before I pulled the trigger. I couldn’t tell whether he was saying, “Don’t shoot!” Or, “I had enough. Let me go.” I will never know. He dropped dead instantly. I cried more days for the horse than when my 96 years old mother died. I didn’t oblige when a man asked me to give the dead horse to the villagers for meat. I could not bear the thought of Mokopu being just meat. We cremated him. It took all night. 

I believe animals and humans can connect emotionally and spiritually. We can communicate with each other. When I lived in a remote village learning the language, chickens for supper came with wings flapping. If you are a wimp and have to eat the animal you kill, don’t make eye contact with food. I never could eat the chicken I killed. I know I am a wimp having lived only in cities. I can see why many people are vegetarians or vegans. City dwellers often don’t know the real world. We push the reality away from our consciousness: The fact that we have to kill what we eat. 

It’s the nature of things that we kill what we eat. If we do not eat dead animals, we still eat fruits and plants that have life, too. I like what a member of the Black Powder Gun Club said, “We only hunt what we eat.” It is the law of nature that we live by the sacrifices of other lives. When we are dead and buried without being cremated, our decomposing body is a food for bacteria and microbes. David Suzuki called it “the cycle of life.” 

The planet earth is an interdependent world. We are dependent on other lives giving up theirs so that we live. Topsoil that nourishes and nurtures vegetation has life. Fossils we burn for cooking, for mobility, and for warmth were once alive millions of years ago. We cannot avoid lives giving themselves up so that other lives continue. We must accept reality and be grateful. I love the old Indigenous custom that I saw in a documentary film at “Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.” A man raised the liver of the buffalo he just killed and thanked its spirit before butchering it. 

Expressing gratitude to those who sacrificed themselves for us is not only the tradition of the North American Indigenous people. Judeo-Christian tradition began in the Middle East and also inherited the notion of “sacrificial lamb.” It came from the legend of the “Passover” where a lamb was sacrificed to save a nation. In the Christian church, it has become the ritual to remember Christ’s sacrifice. That is how we came to call Christ “Lamb of God.” As an act of remembrance, Christians ate a piece of bread and said, “Body of Christ.” That was how ancient Romans decided Christians were cannibals. 

Pope Francis said“rivers do not drink their own water…. Trees do not eat their own fruits….Living for others is the rule of nature… We are all born to help each other. Life is good when you are happy; but much better when others are happy because of you.” 

We should accept the reality of life but be grateful for the sacrifice. Then there should be no factory-style meat production nor over-fishing for profit. No cruelty nor greed be allowed. Cod and salmon stocks nearly became extinct due to overfishing. Elephants and rhinoceros are fast disappearing only for their tusks and horns: dead bodies are left to rot. It is the punishment for our disrespect for the law of nature and for lack of gratitude for life. I predict that we will be extinct if we continue like this.

Tadashi (Tad) Mitsui

Lethbridge

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biff

yet another beautiful, thoughtful entry. i recall looking at some videos many years that were posted on youtube by animal rights people, and people that worked in the industrial meats system. the incredible cruelty inflicted on sentient creatures allowed me to watch for only a few seconds, leaving me deeply saddened ever since. these nasty, inhumane practices took place in the usa…but, canada is likely not far removed from similar barbarism.
eventually, with youtube coming to be owned by a corporate clown without a heart, google, such raw portrayals of honesty were smothered. as well, state after state began to pass laws, ag gag laws, making it illegal to film/photograph abuse without the consent by the owner. the very idea that “whistle blowers” are seen by govts in the usa and canada as being the criminal is utterly unreal.
ditto to the use of sentient creatures to develop products by the likes of big pharma, and cosmetics (a company may claim they do not use animals, but that is not to say they do not use information from third party companies that do), and sickos like elon musk.
we had best reconsider our complicity via our use/purchases…and i doubt that accepting jesus as our saviour gives us a free pass on our choices.



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