" ... the young narrator stops
in front of a sausage shop and stares at the sausages hanging in the window. He
addresses them silently: "You were once alive, you suffered, but you're beyond
your sorrows now. There's no trace of your writhing or suffering anywhere. Is
there a memorial tablet somewhere in the cosmos on which it is written that a
cow named Kvyatule allowed herself to be milked for eleven years? Then in the
twelfth year, when her udder had shrunk, she was led to a slaughterhouse, where
a blessing was recited over her and her throat was cut."
from The Certificate, Isaac Bashevis Singer
Americans celebrate Memorial Day to remember those who lost their lives
during battle. The commemoration of such tragic loss, is ironically celebrated
with the slaughter of harmless animals, killed for millions of barbecues around
the nation. A somber occasion, marked by the slaughter of the innocent, though
inappropriate, is a natural outcome of religious doctrine of the Judeo-Christian
tradition which sanctifies the slaughter and exploitation of animals for human
Genesis 9:1-3: "God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything."
This is a dead pile of calves behind a veal farm.
A more peaceful and humane religious doctrine would likely have resulted in
less loss of human life, as there is a documented link between animal abuse and
human on human violence, such as war. Religions which practice ahimsa,
non-violence to ALL living beings have a significantly greater incidence of
peace. The Jain religion of India, based on the principle of ahimsa, has never
engaged in religious warfare, any other warfare, inquisitions, crusades,
holocausts, jihads, intifadas and the marginalization of it neighbors. The
wisdom of ahimsa was also understood by Isaac Bashevis Singer, as he stated:
I think, as a rule, a vegetarian is not a murderer, he is not a criminal. I believe that a man who becomes a vegetarian because he has compassion with animals is not going to kill people or be cruel to people. When one becomes a vegetarian it purifies the soul.
Every year in the USA 56 billion living, fully sentient beings are
slaughtered for human benefit and enjoyment. These are truly the fallen, as they
are completely innocent of any wrong doing. As we remember the humans who have
fallen, let us also honor the lives of all the animals who have fallen prey to
the sanctified violence of the semitic religions. The greatest tribute to these
animals would be the renunciation of dominion as a legitimate view of animals.
Dominion must be replaced with the benevolent principle of ahimsa:
"For there is nothing inaccessible for death.
All beings are fond of life, hate pain, like pleasure,
shun destruction, like life, long to live. To all life
Jain Acharanga Sutra.