I would like to thank Sister Vianney for her lovely letter. I have been a vegetarian for over 28 years. I did not become a vegetarian because it was the latest fad, or health reasons. In fact, I was usually persecuted! Since childhood, I have always had a special connection with animals. Unfortunately, I was raised in an area where the children tormented animals — I was the one that was always there defending and threatening to call the police (this started at age 4). The animals, domestic and wild, would always come to me — my sister said that perhaps I was the reincarnation of St. Francis of Assisi (no offense meant to Sister Vianney or other Christians).
I know that Sister Vianney did not mean that only Christians should be more aware and try to become vegetarians. I am Buddhist – even the Buddha favored the vegetarian diet. To quote the Buddha Nichiren Daishonin, “. . . meat, fish nor fowl touch my lips. . . .” Many of my Jewish friends are vegetarian and I know vegetarians who say they are atheist! Whatever belief system — the bottom line seems to be respect — everything/animal/plant/human, etc. has the Buddha condition — enlightenment, or — God within.
I certainly thought that the human race would enter the 21st century a bit more aware and be the protector of animals and the environment. The abuse of living beings unfortunately is still quite prevalent. It seems that greed and power as well as ignorance and anger creep into people’s lives leaving pollution. Greed brings about famine, anger gives rise to war and ignorance leads to pestilence. The Earth and all the creatures upon it — our universe — could certainly use more aware humans to help! By the way, animals are not only slaughtered daily for food, but used needlessly for entertainment, medical research and clothing. In our new high tech world, there are many materials that can be used in place of animal fur and hide as well as better ways for medical research. Wonderful substitute meat meals are also available. Animal acts are quite distressing when one knows what goes on behind the scenes. There are subjects that need to be revealed and the public educated. For instance, currently baby elephants are being herded away from their families in South Africa. Why? For money, of course! They plan to sell these wonderful creatures to zoos and circuses — if there wasn’t a market — then this behavior wouldn’t be so typical.
Research has proven that those who abuse animals are most likely to abuse other humans!
A few sayings to think about: “Go Vegetarian! Buy Cruelty Free! Fur is Dead! Animals Have Rights! Animal Liberation Now! Compassion is the Fashion!” For information, write PETA Headquarters, 501 Front Street, Norfolk, VA 23510.
A Voice for the Animals