Before we really begin to delve into this topic, it’s important that I first clarify a few points: This is not a science paper, it is a spirituality and philosophy discussion. It is in no way saying that veganism or vegetarianism is absolutely wrong for everyone; rather, I acknowledge that some people’s paths require them to be either vegetarian or vegan for their own reasons. However, it does address the folly of so many people thinking it’s somehow a higher path, when many times it’s actually just a sign of being stuck and not progressing spiritually. I should also point out that while the title specifically says “veganism,” it is intended to also include vegetarianism.
Table of Contents
- The sticking point
- The cruelty of this life
- The kindness of the next life
- Why Animal Husbandry is less cruel than nature
- Connecting with nature through eating meat; the omnivore’s spiritual path
The Sticking Point
Compassion. It is the most beautiful development along the path of spiritual progression. We must have compassion for one another, for all life, for the Earth itself, and for all the worlds to which we travel in the future. Human nature contains a lot of greed and desire for conquest, along with a huge helping of “I’ve got mine so who cares about you.” However, we also have the greatest potential for compassion of any species on the planet, despite what many people will try to tell you. Compassion is necessary in order to balance our instincts for cruelty, avarice, and domination. Without compassion, we cannot thrive as a species.
The problem is that compassion can be misapplied. That is, one can misunderstand what it means to be compassionate, and attempt to remove ourselves from the cycle of life. It is common that as people seek enlightenment, their compassion may lead them to think that killing animals for food, or even taking their milk and eggs, is the opposite of the compassion they feel growing in their hearts. However, it’s an idea which misses the overall picture of this life.
The Cruelty of this life
This existence on this planet in these forms is, by very nature, cruel. Yes, we were given love, rainbows, puppies, sunsets, and all the beauty and joy of life. At the same time we were given death, illness, disasters, drought, hatred, greed, and other causes of intense suffering. The one fact we’re all given and assured of the moment we’re born, is that we will die. The very nature of this world is that everything dies and feeds something else.
People like to offer the misconception that animals are much kinder than we are, but the evidence in nature doesn’t support this belief. It is true, my cats and dog love me. They comfort me when I’m ill, and are genuinely excited to see me. At the same time, when I have watched my cats hunt mice, they had zero compassion. They had no interest in eating the mice, because they’re well fed cats. They just wanted to play with the thing. They don’t moralize about it. Maybe they don’t realize the mouse is a living thing, or maybe they just don’t care; their instinct is to torture the thing for as long as they can before killing it or letting it go.
Birds and some reptiles also display at least a modicum of emotion and caring, some birds at least as much as mammals. However, when you get to other creatures, you find it less and less. Fish rarely have any emotional responses, and most fish eat other fish without even caring beyond, “I’m hungry and that thing is food.” I watched and listened, in great sadness for the creature, as a horsefly was being wrapped up and eaten alive by a spider. The spider’s webbing didn’t completely kill it, so it struggled and let out mournful buzzes as it was slowly digested from the inside out. Creatures like spiders and flies have only the very basic emotions; fear and survival, but the fly’s cries out of even those simple emotions were enough to wring my heart at that moment. I couldn’t have saved the fly, and it wasn’t my place to cause the suffering of the spider by robbing it of a meal.
The kindness of the next life
I can’t tell you too much about what the next life is like, but I will tell you what I am allowed to tell. First of all, by the “next life” I’m not necessarily talking about Heaven, depending on how you define Heaven. I’m talking about the next stage of human evolution, what the Bible calls “The New Heaven and the New Earth.”
What I am allowed to say is that suffering and death will not be the challenges of that existence. We will eat for energy and sustenance, but we will be able to survive on fruits. See, when one fully reaches the pinnacle of enlightenment for this current stage of existence, one cannot even stand the thought of harming a plant to eat; fruit eating is beneficial to the plant.
The ideas of vegetarianism and veganism aren’t entirely wrong, they’re just premature. Wisdom is to live within the world one is in. That is, because our present world is designed for everything to be eaten, and because we have compassion, we therefore must balance our eating needs with our compassion.
In the next existence, we will not need to suffer by dying, watching others die, or by causing the death of another. In this existence, part of learning and growing is to have to face that reality as part of our existence. If you think killing plants and the animals and insects which eat them, so-called “pests,” is somehow less cruel, you misunderstand the nature of life and existence. Even the gatherer causes harm. As we’ll discuss in the next section, you’re actually not doing the animals any kind of favor and are not being more compassionate to them.
Animal husbandry is less cruel than nature
There are so many benefits to animal husbandry, that it deserves its own section. Of course, I’m not talking about farms where animals are abused, kept in small spaces, and fed crap. Treating animals right is a key part of omnivore spirituality, which we’ll discuss more in detail at the end of this document. We’re talking about ethical raising of animals for food, whether for slaughter or for eggs or milk.
As we discussed, nature is absolutely cruel. The animal in nature suffers untreated illness, life changing injuries, starvation, and the threat of death countless times throughout its life. Nature allows animals to be injured fatally, but to get away from their predator and slowly bleed to death or starve because they’re unable to get food with their injury. Nature allows animals to be eaten alive, sometimes digested slowly. Nature has parasites, like the crustacean which eats the tongue of a fish and then replaces its tongue to steal its food. [source]
The rancher and farmer has an interest in seeing that their animals live well. The wise farmer/rancher makes sure their animals stay free from disease. They make sure their animals are well fed. They protect their animals from predators, except for the ranchers themselves, so that the animal only faces death once. In spiritually wise animal husbandry practices the animal lives a nearly idyllic life before it dies, and when it dies it does so in a much less cruel manner than it likely would have faced in the wild. Instead of the teeth of a wildcat or canine tearing into their throat, and ripping out their windpipe, or being slowly suffocated by a large cat, the animal is put down quickly and with minimal pain. Yes, humans have the greatest capacity for cruelty, but humans also have the capacity to be far kinder than nature ever could or would be.
There’s also the grim fact that what humans don’t find valuable to them, they displace and/or kill. Without animal husbandry, most of the species we raise would be extinct. We take up so much room on this planet, that there is only room for the things for which we make room in our lives.
The omnivore recognizes our role in the cycle of life. We recognize that we are stuck in this painful system, and our choices of eating do not necessarily reduce suffering in the world; in fact, as mentioned, leaving animals to nature is far more cruel in many ways. We accept that we cannot avoid causing suffering and harm to others, but we seek to minimize how much suffering we cause by treating animals kindly while they’re alive and by providing them a quick death.
The way we treat the animals we eat or otherwise raise for sustenance is key to omnivore spirituality. We must not allow animals to be warehoused, or locked in small spaces of any kind. We must allow them to have fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. We must provide them with an abundance of the best quality, most delicious feed we can. We must be diligent about predators and treating disease. Finally, when it comes time for the animal to die, whether we’re eating it or burying it, we must make its passing as painless and as quick as possible with the least amount of terror possible.
One rule many enlightened omnivores always follow is that animals raised for milk, wool, or eggs are never eaten, except in times of desperation. Such animals become family, and should be given a proper burial. Of course, other animals of the same kind which are raised solely for meat are allowed to be eaten, and one is allowed, even encouraged, to take the wool from an animal, such as a sheep, just before killing it for food. It is also proper to make an offering of some kind, a sweet incense or some tobacco is appropriate, for the soul of all animals killed.
Of course, the enlightened omnivore also applies strict rules to hunting. They will make sure the animal is killed quickly, and only kill animals they or someone else will eat for nourishment. They won’t thin the population of any one animal to the point of extinction or even near extinction. They will thank the animals spirit, and leave an offering for its soul.
The enlightened omnivore finds a connection to nature through consuming it. Having seen the nature of life on this planet, the omnivore feels a special connection to nature by consuming both plants and animals. They connect both with the animal they are consuming, and the animals which would hunt it in the wild. The omnivore receives all food gratefully, whether they killed and prepared it themselves or not.
One final note is that certain kinds of advanced souls who incarnate on this planet actually require an omnivorous diet, even though it’s hardest for us to be involved in the killing of an animal. We don’t like death at all, and we wish to be removed from killing, but because of the nature of this plane we must consume some meat, or at least other animal products, in order to keep ourselves in balance here. If we go against the nature of the system, we weaken our bodies and the connection between soul and body, thus making it difficult or even impossible to do the important work for which we were sent here.