Friday, September 25, 2015

This is it

The Guardian published an interesting article, ‘Industrial farming is one of the worst crimes in history.’ An interesting article, yes, but unbalanced. It makes many good points, but it also makes animal rights, not merely animal welfare, a crusadable issue. This is my take on it, written as a human, but also as an Orthodox Christian to whom all life’s issues are theological.

If mankind has evolved from humanoids who, on the way to being modern humans, wiped out a large percentage of animals, as the article claims, and if we now, having evolved technological means to produce and harvest animals for consumption, propagate certain animals over others, isn't that just evolution at work?

As for domesticated animals, yes, there is a moral issue with regard to how these animals live. Certainly, they should not be confined in unnatural environments which do not take into consideration their needs as conscious beings, and their slaughter (when it comes) should not be such as to terrorize them in their last moments of life.

But as for projecting onto them human traits and needs, and giving them ‘equal rights’ with humans, well, then we had better figure out what to do with all those creatures when we stop eating them, and we had better get to work on replacing their contribution to human nutrition with an awful lot of tofu and tempe.

Personally, though I eat meat out of social convention, I could easily forego it and subsist on vegetable nutrition. I could not kill an animal or bird for food. Fish, on the other hand, I have no problem with catching and preparing. They are ‘fruit of the waters’ to me. So, yes, I suppose I must be carnivore of sorts, but even Christ ate fish.

But we can't say, ‘Stop the world, I'm getting off!’ Maybe someday humanity’s evolution will reach the point where carnivorous diet is universally abandoned. No, not maybe, but certainly, because when we reach the goal of our evolution in God's plan, we will ‘return to Eden,’ and our diet will be what was ordained for the first humans.

Perhaps we can start somewhere, but I think to try to move to this vegetarian lifestyle as a race without at the same time moving into the other behaviors associated with the Kingdom of God would only stop us in our evolution. If we accomplished it, we might imagine that we had ‘done enough,’ but we would not have. There is more.

Follow Christ. Enter the Church. Make of the human race a society of Saints. Establish justice. Eliminate poverty as well as disease and discomfort. The animals will again look at us and see God walking on earth, as they did before the Fall of Adam. No, we wouldn’t eat them either. We wouldn’t want to.

The Fall of Adam halted our evolution. Christ came to jump-start it. The Message to us is now as it has been for the past two thousand years: Follow Christ, don't just ‘believe’ in Him, and not only humanity, not just the animals, but the whole earth, even the universe, will finally be what it was meant to be when God created us.

If there can be any meaning to ‘animal welfare,’ this is it.

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