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Dispatches miss issue

The other day I watched this Dispatches on vegans (Magnet link), and it left me completely frustrated. I felt the reporter (who was purportedly considering being vegan) completely missed the issue that is best understood by watching Earthlings.

I have great sympathy with the vegan activists. As is typical of all struggle many vegans have tried for years to make the farming of animals humane through normal democratic process only to be met with the power of the meat industry. In Dispatches much was made of the farmer who was victimised by vegan protesters, and what was pointed to by the programme was that he followed the law. I presume it was true that he followed the law but the law is controlled by the meat industry and is inhumane.

My emotions about this have been brought into focus over the last two or three years. For most of my adult life I have been vegetarian, and then since retirement macrobiotic – eating fish more than once a week. I was not healthy with vegetarianism because I was not careful, and since being macrobiotic my health improved but I reached an impasse two or three years ago. My acupuncturist had previously been concerned about my diet but I refuted her. And then I had an event that she very clearly put down to my diet being too yin, she almost demanded I eat meat. When I did I felt so much better, I needed meat for my health. I minimise the amount of meat I eat but in the cold season here I need to eat more meat.

I know this dietary position offends some people. I have no wish to cause offence but my health comes first. When this happened I discovered on the net that others had had similar dietary experiences – lost the refs, but I am not saying it is true for all. I feel my age has something to do with it but maybe not. A good-practised mb diet balances yin and yang, and there are people who do this on a vegan diet. But people are different, my health is what matters, and for now I eat some meat.

This brings me to my criticism of the Dispatches programme. My meat-eating has meant that my consuming is now contributing to inhumanity as shown in Earthlings. I live in a country where diet is far more balanced (yin-yang) than in the West, but there is not a strong vegan movement. There are occasional vegan restaurants - one per small town, they are called gin jae, and they say they are vegetarian but there is no dairy ie they are vegan. In tourist areas there is more choice. This lack of vegan pressure means that the inhumane practices of the meat industry go unchallenged.

When it comes to Gaia and related issues I now seek Indigenous Wisdom. I was looking for a gif that said animals were their relatives but couldn’t find it. But here is reported wisdom from Collective Evolution pointing out “how many other Indian tribes were like hers, subsisting primarily on plants, but those who did hunt did so sparingly and with care. A special bond existed between them and the animals whose lives they took, or, according to many legends, these animals who offered themselves freely. The animals were also seen as a gift from the great spirit, spiritual warriors who were there for the protection and well-being of the people, to provide in several ways, almost like guardian angels.” I feel my reasons for eating meat fit in with this.

So that brings me back to the essential point that Dispatches didn’t focus on, our meat production and farming methods are inhumane. The programme didn’t point out that years of compassionate campaigning have been met by blind governance controlled by the meat industry, and that their only remaining option has been to focus on individual establishments. Even though I am now a meat-eater I support their campaigning.

The fault lies with us, meat eaters. Firstly in general we consume too much meat, and secondly we don’t apply pressure on our governments to fight the meat industry and make our farming methods humane. That is the issue the programme should have been addressing but did not. This lack of compassion is what we as human beings should be fighting.

I note here an important distinction between Indigenous Wisdom and the idealism of the vegan activists. Within the Indigenous Wisdom there is tolerance yet Gaia-consciousness – humanity. Vegan activists demand their position and all others are wrong. Emotionally I sympathise with their ideals as I have most of my life, but humans are different and there needs to be tolerance. I follow the Indigenous Wisdom but in general I support the vegan activist campaigning. I have some sympathy for the farmer but the problem is not the farmers - the farmers are the workers who produce the meat. The farmers are not in control but the farmers' union policy is not humane. Therefore the farmer is a legitimate target until the union develops a humane policy. Change the attitudes of the meat-eaters and the farmers and maybe there is some chance of change. Meanwhile be mindful of meat consumption, avoid meat if your health can take it, reduce consumption if you can - mindful consuming.

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