Pic.: Azriel D'Souza
“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we would all be vegetarian.”
Because I was born and brought up in a typical coastal region and in a typical Christians household, right since I was a baby, I got accustomed to certain non-vegetarian food habits… mutton, chicken, pork, beef, fish – and, shall I say, “anything that crawled except two-legged human species”? Yes, I grew up eating whatever people around me ate – and, many times, what they could afford. Just like dogs and cats around us loved to eat mutton, chicken and fish, some humans like us, too, loved to eat the same. A few of my friends and neigbours, particularly brahmins, ate only vegetarian food. All others, including non-brahmin Hindus and GSB’s, ate non-vegetarian food. Yes, they did not touch pork and beef… but, their lifestyle did include the rest of non-vegetarian food.
Every house had dogs and cats. The sophisticated pets came much later when good amount of money came home. For most of us, dogs were a bare necessity… They guarded us from thieves and intruders. Both dogs and cats kept breeding more and more puppies and kittens, and they were all welcome… Some lived, some died… some strayed away… and, some were taken away by some of our neigbours to raise at their homes… These dogs and cats ate our leftover food. We had tough time bringing ration home… Leave alone bringing special food for our dogs and cats!
But, our dogs and cats never complained… They were so happy with us, and we were so happy with them… that we all made a great household!
Frankly, in those days, we never heard of any ‘animal activists’… the dog-lovers and cat-lovers. We never heard of NGOs against cruelty on dogs and cats. All of them came much later, and they came only in these big cities…
To me, all animals are innocent and adorable. When I so passionately stand for a dog and a cat, I should, also, stand, with equal passion, for a goat, sheep, cow, buffalo, fish or a bird (chicken) I throw my blind eyes to…
I get angry when I see a dog or a cat beaten to death. But, where is my heart, my conscience, when they slay – so brutally, so brutally, so brutally – all the animals and birds that I eat as my daily food?
Is my compassion for animals only selective, as per my convenience?
Why don’t I first stop eating animals, birds and fish and then advocate the cause of cruelty against dogs and cats?
The thought is too disturbing for me… And, I mean it.
“Meat may taste good,” said Evan Baldonado, “but the guilt of eating it tastes far worse.”