EVOLVING INTO OURSELVES
In order to enhance the joyful appreciation of, and increase the respect for, natural systems and animals in humanity, some ideas have occurred to me. Most importantly for me is the need for people to be shown the awesomeness of the everyday creatures which we have allowed into our lives. So, a docu-visual on chickens that clearly demonstrates the degree of care a mother hen has for her chicks from before birth : how she interacts with them by chirping to them whilst they are still in the shell, and turns the eggs 5 times an hour. Prior to this she has sought out all the best twigs and straw and grasses available to make as perfect a nest as possible in order to keep the eggs warm whilst she has to leave them to find food or defend her space or whatever. A mother hen enters an altered state of consciousness akin to deep meditation, and shuts down her bodily processes in order to not require food or water for the weeks between laying and hatching of her clutch of eggs. But this state is no hibernation, for she is actively engaged in the maternal process all along by this interactive chirping and turning. Meanwhile other hens who are not on current broody status will be patrolling the territory, turning over the leaf litter in search of insects which might compete for available food sources, and checking on the ripening grasses in their patch. The cockerels meanwhile will be busy maintaining the cohesion and size of each small colony, acting as sentinels and on guard duty, as well as ensuring the fertility of upcoming clutches of eggs. The cockerel has been seen to lead his flock in its daily forraging expeditions, journeys to water sources and safe roosting sites. It will be shown how these birds would naturally choose to roost in trees overnight, and how humans might begin to interpret their many vocalisations in order to learn a little of their language. Like probably all creatures, language goes way beyond the audible “words” used and necessarily includes gestures, and doubtlessly incorporates altering scents, via complex hormonal systems which we have yet to be aware of.
Indeed we humans barely understand how our own species functions, interacts socially, finds mates and ensures the ongoing raising of offspring. We do not even understand the way in which a mothers milk is continuously changing in composition to perfectly reflect and provide for the developing baby. Clearly the milk produced for newborns is different from that needed by a one year old active youngster. Any mother who has breast fed her baby will attest that the baby actively seeks out one or other of her breasts at different times, because the foremilk is richer, more proteinatious and nourishing whilst the hind milk is more thirst-quenchingly high in water. Extrapolate these observations, then, to the sort of milk extracted from the lactating bovines, sheep or goats which humanity has learned to milk. What is the quality and nature of this milk like? What happens to the feedback process whereby the growing infant’s needs are perfectly matched by its mother? Furthermore, given the discomforting facts about the various ways man has interfered with the cycle of reproduction of these creatures, in order to maximise milk output, would it not be pertinent to consider exactly what it is we are so mindlessly and habitually drinking? It is accepted practise to permit a level of blood and pus in cows milk because the artificially high yield – up to 7 times what one calf would drink – inevitably causes inflammation. Actually the deeper you look, the more sordid and unpalatable this everyday substance becomes. What nature has provided as fuel for growing a 100lb calf into a 2000lb bullock within 4 months is very different to the milk a human baby needs, because humans have the lowest growth rate of any mammal. Human milk has a fraction of the protein, and more, but different fats than cows milk, for example.
Why does it not occur to people that breast milk is intended purely for growing babies, and has no place in the adult world? Even the minimal level of our scientific comprehension has demonstrated that the enzyme required to digest milk is no longer produced beyond the age of 2-3 years of age in humans. Meaning that lactose intolerance is the mere tip of the iceberg of the health problems which prolonged milk ingestion causes. Not to mention the milk of an entirely different species! And with consideration of the conditions in which cows milk is produced now for the mass market, in factory farms with no access to fresh grass. I will only briefly mention the growth hormones and unnatural foods including fish meal, ground up feathers(for their protein) and grains that modern cattle are fed, which they are not equipped to assimilate. A thought must go also to the psycho-emotional state of these grieving mothers whose babies are stolen away at birth, and how this energy is part of every pint forcibly extracted. How often do people stop to contemplate the spiritual side of their food choices? Deliberately ingesting the trauma and terror which would have been the terminal feelings of slaughtered creatures, is not conducive to peace either personally or between ourselves. Many of the greatest minds who ever contemplated and wrote about the human condition realised the inseparable link between what we eat and how we behave, and both practised and advocated leaving death off the menu.
It would serve us well to go through the lives of the many other species which humanity has enslaved, incarcerated, and turned into objects. Each and every one of which is in truth a unique individual person every bit as endowed with character as any cat or dog which humans so enjoy turning into precious pets. The concept of speciesism might be new to many reading this, and it basically asks us to consider the arbitrary and human-centric ways in which we put on very different filters when we regard our fellow earthlings. It is legal, for example, to castrate, cut the tails off of, and clip the teeth from baby pigs with no anaesthetic whatsoever. Our domestic dogs and cats, have protection from the way farm animals are routinely treated, yet pigs are known to be more intelligent than dogs. I said it would serve us well to actually look at what we have allowed to happen in the modern production of daily animal foods, because if we are what we eat, then the trauma and suffering throughout the world might be traced back to source. Does it never occur to us that our lack of empathy for the deliberate but disguised cruelty inflicted upon innocent creatures in our names is utterly connected to our own lack of peace? How can we hope to see peace amongst ourselves whilst our own livelihood is bought at the price of so many stolen lives? The accelerating desertification and starvation in the third world is directly attributed to the deforestation and planting of soya and grain for cattle to satisfy the demand for meat and dairy in the west. It takes more than 10 times as much land to feed a carnist as it does to feed a vegan, and hundreds of times as much water, because animal agriculture uses so much water, and produces so much pollution. If we ate all the grain we grow directly rather than wastefully and second handedly recycling it through animals,we would have better health, more pristine environment, and an end to starvation.
As we enter 2012, a pivotal year presents itself during which humankind may rapidly evolve from outdated unworkable ways : by ceasing to exploit both one another and our fellow earthlings. Living consciously and co-operatively, with respect and awe, on this singular shared planet. Acting as the custodians and guardians, conserving resources for future generations, and putting our energy and focus into tolerance not belligerence. We have so much untapped potential, and I for one am resolutely optimistic about our development as awakening beings.