Food for thought

Food for thought

The previous two animal shelters I have been working in have been no-kill shelters. That means that all animals are given the chance to live basically how sick or injured they are. Sometimes when I have shown pictures from these places, on for example of dogs being in wheelchairs, a few people have mentioned that sometimes the most humane thing could be to put an animal to sleep. This time things are different.

Life is not fair
The shelter I am in now does not have a no-kill policy. Of course this does not mean that they routinely put animals down. But it happens. And it becomes a reality when new animals are brought to the shelter and the shelter is full, no one wants to adopt the animals and there are no money to support a never ending stream of new individuals coming in. Sadly this means that sometimes even healthy animals will be put to sleep. Because it is just not possible to take care of them all. The puppies in the picture were found in a deep drain that they could not get out of (most likely they were dumped there by someone who did not want them) but they were rescued from there by someone else and brought to the shelter. The rescuer knew what most likely would happen to the puppies if the shelter was full but he/she did not want them to starve to death in the drain. All stories do not have a happy ending. You might have guessed it already. Unfortunately these sweet puppies are not alive any more.

Food or pet
About a year ago I started to eat more vegetarian and vegan food. I have continued with this during my travels as much as I possibly can. For me it feels like the right way to go. And the event with the puppies got me thinking again in how we select our food and make distinctions between different animals. When we learned about the situations of the puppies, one of the other volunteers cried over the puppies that were to be put down. But only a few hours later the same person very much complemented the lamb stew in the restaurant. So who is a pet and who is food? Who gets cried over and who get sent to the slaughterhouse? The mind-blowing truth (with statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) is that in 2014 we killed over 70 billion livestock animals just in the meat industry. That is more than 190 million animals per day! But how many tears do they get?

“All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?”
/Buddha

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