Slaughter houses in Bhutan; my perspective!
Slaughter houses in Bhutan; my perspective!
I have blogged quite a lot on vegetarianism. Made few advocacy presentations and been a lacto-vegetarian myself for some time. So it’s not impossible to become one. I also feel that I have some experiences and understandings to share.
For some time now, this slaughterhouse business in Bhutan is making rounds on social media. I read few opinions but never a comprehensive one. The most prominent response towards this is monastic bodys’ appeal to the PM and an open letter by a foundation on animal welfare.
Here we are talking about food, economy, evolution, philosophy and science together in meat eating and production.
Humans evolved into meat eaters but anatomically our digestive system is built for plant eating. We have flat teeth to grind and not sharp canines like tigers. Our digestive tract is long enough to accommodate plants that take longer time to digest. But we are said to have started eating animal flesh and with time we seem to have adapted because we can now eat without any immediate problems. But in the long run meat eating is related to many ailments.
Buddhist philosophy reasons that life is dear to every living being, therefore no killing because karma is there to kill you if you kill other animals. That would also mean, we should not eat as well. Buddha never told his disciples not to eat meat but he reminded them to practice compassion towards animals. We should not blindly follow just because Buddha said so. One should exercise one’s own judgment. If one is compassionate one should not be the cause for killing. If you don’t eat they don’t get killed. If there are no buyers there will not be sellers, as simple as that.Quite logical.
Simply because you are a vegan doesn’t mean you are a Buddhist or just because you eat meat you’re not a Buddhist. Don’t get shocked if you hear a story in which Buddha was an assassin. Buddha sacrificed his body to save a starving tigress when he was born a prince. He killed a man to save ship full of people when he was born as a compassionate sailor. In Buddhism your view is the most important. Sin I believe is not an appropriate word to use. To be precise we should use karma in place of sin.
If you are shocked by the news of mega-slaughter houses in Bhutan, I am not. As one guy commented on Facebook, If at all should we have, I believe we should have it at the clock tower in glass houses, so that everyone can see the gruesome life cycle of our delicacy “Shakam”. Everyone needs to take informed decisions. After seeing the way it is produced, people should reject the meat from the slaughter houses. Then people should only feast on animals that died naturally. Eventually slaughter houses should shut down and people should turn vegan. Imagine an enlightened society, if you may like a Shangrila of “Ema” not even “datsi” since it is an animal by-product too.
Economy is the responsibility of a government but starting slaughterhouses is not a desirable area to start with. There are other avenues that need attention and that can make huge impacts. For instance, undertake a major exercise to bring all the citizens under the radar of asset declaration, not just hand-to-chin civil servants. This would broaden the tax base and keep an easy check on black economy. At the current rate of growth, banks and insurance business are getting filthy rich and getting higher bonuses for work of equivalent value to all others by using our money. The CIT on Banks and Insurance companies should be increased and their spreads should be reduced. On the rupee front, we should get Bhutanese to work on hydropower projects even if it means paying exorbitant wages. This way Rupee remains here. Tweak a bit on tourism royalty and operate other landing strips for international flights. There you go, millions of dollars above the foreign currency reserve bench mark. Use this excess hard currency to correct the BoP issue. Growth in tourism would also reduce unemployment.
Bhutanese now are adopting healthier diets, thanks to improvement in living standards and exposure. Thanks to health advocacy programs people are now trying to reduce meat and including more of green vegetables on their menu. People have already started pure veg restaurants and tofu processing plants. Who says we are so dependent on meat? There is a positive shift in fact.
This meat is a recent re-development. We were raising pigs back then, later it died down but again picked up lately due to easy availability from across the border not having to do the dirty job.We also have not seen how they are raised and slaughtered.
Meat is established to be a major cause of heart diseases and also has carcinogen. Saturated fat on the so called good “Shakam” and “Sikam” is like consuming raw cholesterol. It is quite ironical that we go for zero cholesterol cooking oil but we don’t mind eating 5 pieces of fatty Sikam. Dzongsar Jamyang Khentse remarked to one of the questions on vegetarianism, “How many legs of other animals would you stuff in your mouth just to sustain your body?” Isn't that selfish!
The debate on plants vs animals, who should we eat?, has lasted quite a long time. While both of them are living because they both grow, it is established that plants do not have nervous system. Which means a blade of grass doesn’t feel pain when it is cut. But when you slit the throat of a goat it is so much painful, like we clench our teeth just to pierce a syringe on our skin. It is also debated on the existence of life force. But unfortunately or fortunately science has never proven the existence of consciousness. There is also desire to live. When sane we so desperately don’t want to die. On the same plane fellow earthlings might also desire the same thing. There are video footages of animals that let out tears when lined up for slaughter; they definitely might not want to die.
Although as sane individuals, it is our fundamental right (enshrined in the constitution) to choose what to eat, as long as it doesn’t infringe the right of another lawful citizen or agency, however on the strength of reasons as aforementioned, it is seen undesirable to have slaughter houses in Bhutan. I would go veg, I have done it 3 times already lol! I still can make another attempt.