Bradford Knox was about to begin the final stages of his last semester as a student at the University of California. One of the last requirements needed to graduate with the class of 2065 was to produce a philosophy thesis proving that the world is better off today because of reforms made as a result of human wisdom. The thesis would be presented to his classmates over several days of one-hour speeches. The assignment seemed like a gift from heaven. Bradford had enormous compassion for animals and was well educated regarding the current conditions of animal welfare. He decided he would provide a comprehensive presentation that would explain how much better off the United States and much of the world is today simply because of kindness to animals.
Over the weekend Brad discussed his plans with his girlfriend Alyssa. Many of her relatives had been vegetarians long before 2008. Besides being absolutely gorgeous, Alyssa also has a brilliant mind, a wonderful personality, a beautiful smile, and is the kindest and most unselfish person Brad has ever known. After two days of discussions with Brad she wanted to offer her advise and recommendations for what she thought would be the most effective and convincing method to deliver his speech. Alyssa grabbed Bradford’s hand to get his attention, and then began to voice her opinions.
“Bradford, I think you should devote the first part of your report explaining how animals have been treated in the United States since meat was taken out of the food chain in 2008. Specifically, you should highlight how nearly 57 years of kindness to animals (from 2008 to 2065) has immensely improved our society.
“Then in order to make impressive and compelling comparisons I think you should gather extensive information regarding the conditions that existed for animals in the United States prior to 2008.
“In my opinion, along with your self-knowledge you will gain more clarity, meaningful understanding, and a clearer vision of the overall subject through more of your own observations and inquiries.
“For these reasons I also suggest that you refer to books written by members of some of the many animal rights groups that waged a long worldwide battle to improve the lives of animals prior to 2008.
“So what do you think?” said Alyssa.
Brad smiled and said, “Alyssa, you are absolutely correct. In addition to reading, I will observe and evaluate films depicting animal cruelty so that I can develop a more accurate perspective as to how horrible the conditions were once like.”
Brad and Alyssa had dinner and discussed the subject for the remainder of the evening.
Each night Brad begrudgingly viewed outrageous and gut wrenching films that vividly and explicitly depicted the grotesque massacre of large numbers of precious animals. He also read factual accounts of the cruelty and mass murder of animals that existed for thousands of years until 2008. Most evenings would end with Brad dozing off into a fantasy dream world of horror. The dreams, which were sporadic at first, always seemed to start the same way, with a more real-than-life account of the killings that had occurred. He would find himself in a pastoral setting driving down a country road on a bright glorious day admiring the sun, the clouds, and the earth. Then the picture would change to frightening mind flashes of a variety of different animals being tortured and killed in slaughterhouses.
The people in his dream seemed to enjoy killing animals in a brutal and heartless way with no concern for the pain, agony, and suffering each animal experienced. Brad’s nightmares were far too real and began to tear him apart emotionally. He would grimace and quiver imagining the suffering, excruciating pain, and death that millions of animals once experienced every day in the United States.
During his conscious hours in the present, Brad tried to think of ways he could stop the carnage he saw in his dreams. The disgusting dreams of unimaginable cruelty and killing began to change his current life to one of sadness and grief. He became so outraged; he began to think the only answer was to kill the killers. While Brad pondered the use of violence as an option, he remembered a Hindu saying that one of his childhood teachers, Professor Monrovia, used to repeat to him often written by Swami Sivananda.
To be free from violence is the duty of every man. No thought of revenge, hatred or ill will should arise in our minds. Injuring others gives rise to hatred.
Brad, normally robust, outspoken, and happy, became introverted, quiet, and lethargic. He had difficulty speaking to his classmates and often began to sweat and squirm in class. His classmates and friends were shaken and concerned by his behavior.
Then some dreams took him to the many horrors of deer hunting season and in his dreams he tried to find some way to stop the hunters. Because Brad’s natural instincts are to protect, and care for animals, he approached the hunters and pleaded to them not to kill the deer. One of the hunters laughed at Brad and told him hunting was a sport for real men, not sissies, and then told Brad go home to his mother.
In the next dream Brad saw two laughing hunters returning from a kill with a dead deer. Brad thought of another method that might work to stop the killing, so he followed the hunters as they placed the deer into a storage area then walked into a tavern. He decided to approach them at the bar. Brad realized the time period he was in when he noticed one of the hunters reading a sports section of the Chicago Tribune dated Saturday, March 15, 1986. He exchanged introductions with several people at the bar, saying he just moved into town. He began a conversation with a hunter named Mondo Pacenti who had already dragged several dead deer from the woods.
“How did the hunt go?” Brad asked.
“I bagged five deer.”
“What will you do with them?”
“I’ll keep one head to mount over my fireplace,” said Mondo, “and I have customers who will purchase the remaining heads. The butchered venison will be cut into portions that I will give to friends who love the taste.
“Where did you learn how to be so adept with a rifle?”
“I’m a Vietnam veteran; and I did a tour of duty in the Special Forces where I became a marksman.”
“Just out of curiosity, there are many objects that could be used as targets to shoot at that are not live animals. Why do you need or choose to kill animals?”
“Don’t tell me you are one of those animal rights weirdo’s!” exclaimed Mondo.
“Yes, as a matter of fact I am,” answered Brad.
“I bet you don’t eat meat, either.”
“That is correct.”
“I know your type,” said Mondo. “You wear leather shoes and belts and your car has leather seats, and you think that’s okay, right?”
“Wrong. I wear canvas shoes and belts made from cloth, and my car seats are covered with fabric.”
“Are you one of those veggie people?
“I am a vegan.”
“A simple explanation is that animals do not have to be tortured and killed so that I can eat. The meals I eat come from nature’s menu of earth-grown foods that provide a large variety of much healthier choices.”
“Everyone I know eats meat,” objected Mondo, “and I have always eaten meat. So have my parents and my grandparents. I cannot imagine not eating meat.”
“Everyone I know does not eat meat,” said Brad, “and I have never eaten meat. I cannot imagine eating meat. Have dinner with me sometime and we will have a vegan meal. There are many choices available that taste great and are much healthier for you. The best part is that animals do not have to die. Why not give it a try?”
“Okay, I am willing to do that, just as long as you don’t mind if I throw up all over you when I am done.”
“That sounds fair.” replied Brad.
“Where do you live?” asked Mondo.
“Laguna Niguel, California.”
“What are you doing here?”
“I have been dreaming, and you are in my dream.”
“Are you one of those sick wacko types trying to convince people you can time travel?”
“No, I am perfectly sane, but I am from a different time and a different town.”
“I think you are a nut case from la-la land and need to talk to a shrink as soon as possible.
“I suppose you can come here from a different time and place whenever you like, right?”
“I am not sure about that,” said Brad, “but somehow I think a greater power is responsible for creating this meeting, and I have no idea for what reason.”
Mondo obviously did not believe any of Brad’s stories about being from another time and place, but he could not help enjoying Brad’s seemingly clairvoyant imagination and his techniques for trying to persuade Mondo to stop hunting animals and eating meat. Just then Brad woke up from his dream and was amazed at how real it all seemed. He could only hope to somehow return to the same time and place again to continue conversing with Mondo.
The last and most important step for Brad to take before his school presentation was to visit with an Indian psychologist and philanthropist, Professor Deepak Monrovia, to discuss two important topics. First, he wanted to seek his advice about the meaning of his nightmares, especially his dream that included the deer hunter Mondo Pacenti. Second, he wanted to get recommendations for his upcoming classroom presentation.
Professor Monrovia is a handsome, healthy, ninety-seven-year-old Indian yogi prophet who retired in 2030 after teaching for thirty-two years at the University of California. He had been a teacher and advisor to Brad since Brad was four years old. His beautiful, healthy eighty-five-year-old wife, Corina Monrovia, is a retired multifaceted professor of philosophy, an accomplished poet, and successful writer of novels. She had taught Brad philosophy and poetry during his freshman year of college.
Generally it took Brad about twenty minutes to drive to the professors’
home, mostly along roads near the ocean. While he drove, Brad remembered how
much the professor had affected his life. The picturesque drive provided the
perfect atmosphere to reminisce about some of the wonderful bits of advice
the professor had given to Brad.
His thoughts took him back to memories of his childhood, including cherished memories of the professor taking him to different animal sanctuaries and reserves several times when he was five and six years old. He would instruct Brad to carefully pet the adult animals first and then the babies. Brad remembered that his first real contacts with animals were with horses, lambs, pigs, goats, dogs, and cats. Additional visits included viewing birds, butterflies, bees, ants, and spiders. Occasionally when Brad would pet an animal or inspect an insect, the professor would whisper to him.
“Never be cruel to any living creature, and always protect them from harm.” Then he would say, “This is kindness; this is love.”
The Monrovia’s oceanfront home is located on five acres of property in Mission Viejo. Two inland waterways cut through the property and make a perfect setting for what is also partly used as a nature and animal retreat. The rolling and hilly land is home to several horses, trumpeter swans, dogs, and cats, and two intelligent talking parrots. It is accented by numerous perennial flowering gardens. Brad’s meetings have always taken place in the professor’s large front yard. Brad met the professor near the entrance to a patio in the yard just as the professor was pouring himself a cup of tea.
“Good morning, Professor. Thank you for seeing me today.”
“Good morning, Brad. It is always a pleasure to visit with you. I hear wonderful things about your scholastic achievements from my fellow teachers at the university. Please sit with me and have some tea. How can I help you today?”
“Sir, my final thesis for philosophy deals with the benefits of human wisdom regarding how much better off the United States and most of the world is today simply because of kindness to animals since the Animal Welfare Act of 2008. I am comfortable with the content that explains today’s conditions, but I have had great difficulty dealing with my antipathy and emotions while researching the horrors that existed for all species of animal life until 2008. I see vivid, terrifying images in my dreams of animals being tortured while they scream and desperately fight to survive, just prior to being brutally killed in slaughterhouses.
“Also the cruel, blasé, heartless, nonchalant, and cavalier manner that hunters used to stalk and kill helpless deer is repulsive to me. I am now frightened by these nightmares that are more real than life, and by my overwhelming urges to find some way, even killing, to stop the animal killers. All the rational thought I have used when trying to persuade the incorrigible monsters in my dreams to stop the cruelty and killing has failed. The desire for personal revenge to satisfy my animosity is like a last resort.
“Professor, you have been my mentor for as long as I can remember, teaching me on many subjects, especially about the wisdom of being kind to all living creatures and the virtues of nonviolence. Please help me understand so I can regain the mental strength and composure I will need to stand in front of my classmates and make an oral presentation comparing the wonderful lives animals live today with the unthinkable conditions that existed until 2008.”
The professor began a long, reassuring explanation.
“My son, you were fortunate to be raised in a nonviolent society. Your nightmares are about people not as fortunate as you who were raised in an atmosphere of violence, especially violence to animals. You inherited your parents’ and ancestors’ biological cells and have spent your life as a vegetarian, which means your mind and body are overwhelmingly filled with nurtured habits of kindness, love, and protection toward all living creatures.
“Throughout your life, I have tried to pass along and impress you with ancient words of wisdom related to the most important saying, which is ‘protect and preserve the earth and all the creatures that dwell here.
“Do not condemn the people in your dreams who maintained the habitual inherited acts of consuming meat and condoning the cruelty and killing of animals that had existed just about everywhere for thousands of years. Eating meat was as natural as drinking water. Habits like that are very difficult to change.
“Until 2008, babies and adolescents in the United States were given no choice but to eat many foods containing meat. As children grew, they were fed many kinds of meats such as hot dogs, hamburgers, bacon, chicken, steak, and fish.
“Most children were completely unaware of where the food came from until well into their adolescence. The point is they ate meat because almost everyone in the United States ate meat. In my opinion, meat eaters subconsciously thought that was the way it had always been and always would be. Many of the hunters that sicken you in your dreams probably owned dogs and cats that they loved and cared for; but they did not feel the same way about the animals they were hunting.
“God’s seeds of kindness, love, and nonviolence have always existed in the souls of all humans and animals. The hunters and meat eaters you abhor in your dreams are the same type of people as those who changed their ways and decided not to be a part of the atrocities.
“Many hunters of animals became protectors of animals. Individually and collectively they campaigned to convince thousands of active hunters and slaughterhouse workers to stop participating in the killing of animals.
“Surprisingly, compassionate ex-hunters and ex-meat eaters in America played an important role in helping to convince the United States Congress in 2008 to pass laws to remove meat from the food chain for humans and animals.
“Bradford, you could have been just like the people you loathe if you had been raised in the same environment—a world that placed great importance on eating meat, and hunting animals for food and sport.
“Only after the painstaking and gradual realization that animals, humans, and the earth must coexist—and each is equally important for the others to survive—did we arrive at the place we are today, which is our constant attempt to preserve and protect the lives of all of God’s creatures.
“Beginning in February, 2007, consumer fears about the hazards of eating meat were dramatically enhanced by new information that was both provocative and frightening. Worldwide media reports finally substantiated many earlier accusations by disclosing evidence proving that consuming the dead flesh of animals contributed to or caused most human diseases. Even more terrifying was the fear of larger outbreaks of the dreaded Mad Cow disease that could have potentially killed hundreds of thousands of people in the United States.
“Almost immediately, millions of people in the United States stopped eating any type of meat. In March, 2007 large numbers of slaughterhouse workers around the world began to walk off the job. In November, 2007 the first large slaughterhouses in the United States began to shut down. The last slaughterhouses in the United States closed in June 2008.”
In all the world of Utopia there is no meat. There
used to be. But now we cannot stand the thought of slaughterhouses. And in a
population that is all educated, and at about the same level of physical
refinement, it is practically impossible to find anyone who will hew a dead
ox or pig. I can still remember as a boy the rejoicings over the closing of
the last slaughterhouse.
- H.G. Wells, A Modern Utopia
“On a large scale, cruelty gave way to kindness, and death gave way to life, so that today animals have the opportunity to live full, safe, and happy lives.
“The persons in your dreams are capable of feeling and expressing the same love and kindness you do. Try to dissuade them into taking a different path, the path of nonviolence. Bradford, our conversation reminds me of one of my favorite Hindu scriptures:
“He who sees that the lord of all is ever the same in all that is immortal in the field of mortality, he sees the truth. And when a man sees that the God in himself is the same God in all that is, he hurts not himself by hurting others. Then he goes, indeed, to the highest path.
“Bradford, when you have nightmares again, do not be hateful. Try to pass along these words that are thousands of years old, so all may understand as you have.”
“Thank you, Professor. I think I will be all right now. Your kind wisdom is greatly appreciated. I will stay in touch with you.”
The Professor gave Brad a short hug and bid him farewell.
Sunday evening Brad began to dream about his own cat and dogs being hunted by other heartless killers. He imagined people who he knew seeing their pets dragged off to slaughterhouses and brutally killed. When he awoke he immediately made several phone calls trying to warn his friends and neighbors. One of his neighbors told him he needed to stop his research because he was beginning to act crazy.
More then ever, Brad now realized that he had to take better control of
his emotions. Thankfully, he thought, the days of humans killing animals and
eating their flesh ended in 2008 in most countries. With some significant
exceptions, the largest percentage of animals in the world are now protected
and shielded from acts of cruelty or killing.
Now that he had gathered enough information about the gory details of a bygone era, he was happy to begin accumulating data for his first classroom presentation about the wonderful lives most animals in the world enjoy today in 2065.
The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined.
If beef is your idea of real food for real people, you’d better live real close to a real good hospital.
- Neal D. Barnard M. D. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washington, D.C.
The author obtained Copyright Certificate of Registration March 23, 2004.
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