Within the warm rains of spring and Summer on the wind at Tea at
Tympani Lane Records . . . I am in
the middle of a photoreportage project with a number of
photographs being taken for an art installation of women musicians in
Montreal for September. Also some new photos
are being taken for CD
projects and promotional uses. Due to limited financing CD projects and the
book of poetry are rolling out
more slowly than expected. Writing continues with the songs Sailing to
Byzantium, Blue quiet love . . .and The Story of the Magic Fish.
continue both in the Metro and at The Pound, I am performing at the
infringement Festival Montreal Fundraiser
at The Pound on Saturday, May 2nd
, 2009 and as the headline show on Open
night at the Pound on June 4th, 2009 with plans
in the works for
the infringement Festival Montreal.
"The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated"
- Mahatma Ghandi (sage, philosopher, President of India)
"I tremble for my species when I reflect God is just"
- Thomas Jefferson (President of the United States)
"Free all living things under God, and you too shall be free"
- Rebecca Banks (poet, songwriter, writer, artist, philosopher)
The following are some thoughts on the violence of the meat industry and modern agribusiness practices. There are some very graphic videos of the meat industry in circulation. The industrialized farming techniques as applied to the growth and slaughter of animals has now become very emotionally/socially violent for the farm animals as well as the actual violence of the slaughterhouse. With agribusiness the animals are literally seen as already cut and wrapped meat product, as objects without regard to their intrinsic value or the value of their social lives. Most have no sex life and are housed for the convenience of the farmer, often losing their natural sociability to the point of emotional stress where they have become depressed, "schizophrenic" with physical health issues. Pigs are housed in small cages without social contact, the stress of the physical conditions could be responsible for the current outbreak of swine flu. Cows give birth in cages and are immediately separated from their mothers with no social contact. Often major health procedures (horn removal, teeth removal, castration etc.) occur without anesthetic. Chickens are used to being in groups of no more than 80 hens where they develop a pecking order for sociability which is lost inside huge warehouse-like facilities where 1,000's of birds are kept causing emotional stress. The chickens are fed antibiotics for quick growth, so that they do not develop physically properly and fall over instead of flying and moving with ease. Sometimes the animals develop health problems because of the stress of the environment but the meat may be processed and sold anyway. Abattoirs have developed very systematic killing techniques. Also, the degradation of the environment through pesticide use and pollution is putting physical stress on farm animals and the biological degradation of the oceans, and the poisoning of the earth is causing trauma for wild animal populations. Often dolphins get caught in tuna fishing nets and there have been beaching of sea mammals, dolphins and whales.
The eating of meat is very much tied to cultural traditions, although it is possible to get protein from other sources, particularly milk, eggs, cheese, grains, nuts and legumes. The biology of the human colon argues that humans are not naturally meat eaters. I suspect the history of killing animals goes back to the early times of the Bible before Jesus when people made ritual sacrifices to appease God in an uncertain world (I do not think God would require ritual sacrifices of animals I believe it was something man assumed in an often caustic and uncertain world). I suspect the animals from these killings were also eaten, perhaps it was such an ordeal to kill a living thing that they turned it into an appeasement ritual in uncertain times. I also think these rituals did not occur every day but on feast days or holy days and the meat from the animal was consumed afterwards. Because of the hostile conditions of human existence a pattern of eating hot cooked meals was a comfort in the hostility of survival against nature and the seasons, leading to the history of cultural and family recipes and meat dishes as the centerpiece of most special occasions. In elite households after the Middle Ages it was not unusual to have several courses of meat dishes in one sitting. In the modern world most families would eat meat at every evening meal. It is as if something that was once a delicacy somehow became a dietary staple. However, animals were usually raised under traditional farming practice with less social stress on the animals, in a more sustainable lifestyle. Agricultural communities existed throughout history until industrialization in the 1870's, family farms in modernity until the 1970's and then the invention of industrial meat industry farming practice.
Somehow the magic of farm animals has been lost, in a traditional farm setting there was a certain social aspect, although not exceedingly lucrative for the farmer, it was a certain lifestyle. Animals are like silent angels, reminiscent of children, there is much negative energy and karma around the new agribusiness practices that although making more monies for the agricultural producer because it is more convenient and cost effective is causing karmic dissonance with the universe. Animals have intrinsic value and intelligence (particularly pigs and sea mammals). If we could just stop the animals from screaming, it is as if they are singing us to sleep. It is possible to feel the suffering of the animals empathically, karmically it is affecting us, spreading dark karma. One theory is that people ingest the violence of the killing of the animal and this in turn contributes to people who eat meat being violent either emotionally or actually combined with the absent or overly constructed social conditions of agribusiness farm animals and the emotional stress it is causing the animals, this karma becomes even more hostile.
Imagine a world where domesticated animals walk free through farmlands, woods and perhaps across your front lawn. Or where more traditional farms keep farm animals for their intrinsic value and wool, milk, cheese and eggs. To make the farm more economically viable you could open a petting zoo or have farm vacations where people come to a bed and breakfast holiday and experience life on a farm or have people come in and work on the farm in exchange for an allotment of the harvest. All peoples and creatures have rights under God.
The Way of Peace,