BEING VEGAN – Let’s Make This a Peaceable Kingdom
By Paul Graham
Las Vegas Informer
“I believe if the viewing of slaughter was required to eat meat, most folks would become vegetarians.” - Howard Lyman
I had the pleasure this week of watching “The Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home,” a documentary released last summer that chronicles the stories of former goat farmers Jim Vandersluis and Cheri Ezell-Vandersluis, former cattle rancher and farmers Howard and Willow Jeane Lyman, farmer Harold Brown and animal rescuers Cayce Mell and Jason Tracy. In the case of the former ranchers and farmers, it shows powerfully and poignantly their struggles with the lifestyle that they had led of using and exploiting animals and how eventually the reality of what they were doing to animals became something they could no longer be a part of. It was very moving to see them cross this bridge of understanding and come to the place where they actually became advocates and rescuers of animals.
I hear regularly from people who say that animals were placed here on this Earth for our benefit and our use and it really doesn’t matter what we do to them. I guess the end justifies the means for them I suppose. None of that is true though. These are people who are simply disconnected from the truth of what is going on. Not that the truth isn’t readily available or out there for them to understand. Because it is. It is just that they choose to not confront it, because if they did, there is a very good chance that something would drive them to believe differently than they do now and they might have to give up something that they enjoy consuming right now. When you really look at that for what it really is, it is a very selfish attitude to have. Somehow, one might think that the “happiness” or “contentment” that they might derive from consuming animal products doesn’t come with a price. It actually comes with a great price…to the animals, to the environment and to our health and spiritual well-being.
As former cattle rancher and farmer Howard Lyman said, if “the viewing of slaughter was required to eat meat, most folks would become vegetarians.” I would say that they would take it even one step further and become vegans and not partake of any animal products once they really saw what happens during the growth, use and slaughter of animals for food, clothing and other products. I know many “spiritual” and “religious” people who seek to live a life of light and spirit, and yet consume death on a daily basis. It is wholly incongruent to do so. I would challenge anyone who believes any different to sit down and watch another powerful documentary, “Earthlings.”
This will take you into the factory farms and slaughterhouses where you can see the abuse, torture and slaughter of animals for food, clothing and profit. It is very graphic, and yet it is only a small look at what happens to tens of billions of animals each year. If you think it is really okay for us to consume animals products, then I suggest you connect yourself to the reality of what is happening and see for yourself. It is time as a society to take off the blinders. For those that, after witnessing this with their own eyes, still choose to partake of the flesh of another living and sentient being, then they will face the ethical, physical and spiritual consequences of doing so.
If people like those depicted in The Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home can come to this conclusion that they could no longer harm animals in any way, which meant giving up their livelihoods in doing so, then anyone else on this planet can make the same choice. We don’t have nearly as much as invested as these people did. It was beautiful to see that for what others would perceive they had given up, they in turn received a beautiful gift of understanding and blessing as a result of getting into a proper relationship with animals. That relationship is one of a caretaker, not a user and abuser. There is a great joy, contentment and healing of our bodies and spirits as a result of getting into this right relationship. We have seen great change happen over the past 150 years in regards to rights for humans in relation to slavery, voting for women, civil rights and equality as a result of sexual preference. These have all been important social justice issues and it is now time to apply this social justice and rights to animals as well. It part of the hope that we can have for the healing of this planet and all of our relationships upon it. We will not know peace between men until we have peace between man and animal and stop the exploitation, slaughter and consumption of them. If we want a Peaceable Kingdom here on Earth, then this is where the journey home must begin.
Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004. He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer. He has a daily vegan food blog www.eatingveganinvegas.tumblr.com which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas. He can also be reached at email@example.com or www.facebook.com/EatingVeganinVegas.
Paul’s e-book, “Eating Vegan in Vegas: If It Can Happen Here, It Can Happen Anywhere” is now available at www.sullivanstpress.com.