Killing Animals or Saving Them

(Opinion article)

Is it permissible to kill animals, can it be justified, is it necessary?  Ask these questions to me and I … I will not answer them.  For one simple reason.  I do not understand what “killing animals” means.  By the way, this is not the same as meat-eating.  If the animal died on its own and I did not kill it, then this does not prevent me from eating its meat.  Similarly, if someone else killed it…  Suppose a lion killed an antelope, and a man took away his meat.  Would a man be a murderer in this case?  Of course not.  It is necessary to immediately separate the question of murder and the question of food.  A hunter can shoot for entertainment and not eat meat, but the consequences of his actions are no less significant than if he ate (or maybe more – too much meat and skin does not need a person).  Killing is the cessation of life.  All living things are mortal, in death there is nothing wrong with the essence.  We are more concerned about the “premature”, that is, unexpected death.  We forget that the causes of death can be different themselves, and death is natural not only in the cases when the maximum age is reached.  All this should be considered when evaluating a murder.

Hunting and killing are common in nature everywhere.  It is unnatural to rather abandon it for reasons of principle than to do it.  I see no reason to oppose plant food to animal and Buddhist ethics of not harming animals for hunting and meat-eating.  There is no opposite here.  All efforts to prove how wonderful a person can replace meat with other products are in vain.  The question is not whether you can do without meat.  The question is whether a man in his history could have done without murder.  And other sentient beings in general, and their own kind in particular.  And the answer will be no.  Animals were killed not only for meat, although this alone would be enough.  Indeed, in some regions, the vegetation does not allow even a small group of people to soak throughout the year (and I’m talking about the vegetation of warm edges, and not the far north, which can reasonably be considered an inappropriate place for humans).  In addition to meat, a person used the skin, veins, and most importantly – the bones.  For example, mammoth hunters built homes in Ukraine from mammoth skulls.  Almost all the life support of the “caveman” man depended on the hunt and its success.  Historically, hunting was a must and was irreplaceable.  A modern person who buys everything in a store and who has a huge choice of products all year round does not understand this, since he cannot imagine himself in such a situation.  The forest, it would seem, should be taught to eat vegetable food.  But if you live a little (in a relatively wild forest), you will quickly become a hunter, regardless of your beliefs.  If you want to survive, of course…  For an uncivilized person, there simply is no question of whether to kill an animal or not.

This does not mean, on the other hand, that historical necessity justifies the killing of animals.  No killing at all.  Growing and killing a chicken on a chicken farm is not at all the same as killing a wild bird.  When slaughter is criticized, etc.  – here I can only agree.  No less compassion in me is the very life of animals in bondage.  Perhaps even more than death.  The cruelty of a person, the extermination of animals (while hunting and fishing), and not the fact of the murder, in which there is nothing unacceptable, should be condemned.  It may seem to you that there is no difference – to kill one animal, a thousand or a million.  There is, and huge.  If it were not for the overpopulation of people and not our civilization, the killing of animals would not be a problem.  Man was and would remain one of the predators.  Any biologist knows that predators are not “enemies” of herbivores (or other smaller predators).  Predators bring more benefits to the population of their victims than harm.It’s all known for a long time.

But the extermination of animals is quite another matter than hunting.  And it should be treated differently.

So, I consider some types of animal killing acceptable, others are not.  The point, it turns out, is not in the murder itself, but in the context.  I also do not consider it unacceptable to kill a person.  Which in turn does not justify ANY murder.  Absolutization of actions is peculiar to religion.  Such a way of thinking has survived religion and is inherent in our non-religious contemporaries.  Hindus (more broadly – Buddhists) forbade killing because they believed in karma and soul relocation.  And even in the crime itself they saw something different from us, namely, a violation of fate.  Almost the same thing we find in the Christian Bible.  It says that without the will of God, no hair can fall from a man’s head.  For the same reason, suicide and murder are prohibited.  You cannot interfere with fate / karma / god, that is, to go against the universe.  Death itself did not appear to be evil, the problem was seen in the violation of a higher order.  It’s funny that in this approach there is more logic than modern vegans who condemn any killing of animals indiscriminately.  The argument “do not do to another that you do not want yourself” does not work.  Suiciders prove that it is not so rare that a person wants to kill himself (note also that more often such intentions do not reach action).  It would follow from this that he who does not value his life can calmly kill others.  But we do not think so.

The value of any life is relative.  There can be no absolute value for life.  I am more concerned about the extermination of animals and the destruction of nature, but I see no reason to condemn both meat-eating and every animal’s default killing.  And for me, the direct relationship between the reluctance to kill animals and the reluctance to eat meat is not at all obvious.  One friend of mine does not eat meat for health reasons.  For the same reasons, he does not consume sugar.  Here is his position is consistent and deserves respect.  And this position can be advised, but hardly anyone will impose it.  Vegans, on the other hand, have dangerous prerequisites for declaring all murderers of animals and meat eaters almost criminals.  I remember how one girl (I won’t give names) was outraged when I opened (only for myself) a tin of canned fish at her house.  Such rigorism and irreconcilability bring only harm.

In conclusion, I would like to note an important point, although, perhaps, this issue requires more detailed disclosure.  The refusal of meat and various things made of leather and skins is not for the good of nature (ecology).  The field where wheat or rice is grown takes away land from animals, which is equivalent to their destruction.  And in this territory, no living beings can live anymore.  Read the history of farming.  Pahari killed more sentient beings than hunters.  Including poison (in our time – chemicals).  And so in everything.  The production of artificial materials, such as leatherette, causes harm to nature no less than leather production.  In addition, most of the animals killed today are not wild, but specially bred.  Rather, it should condemn the breeding than murder.  And in any case, the question of eating or not eating meat, wearing or not wearing furs, does not at all concern the preservation of nature.  It has a very distant relationship to ethics.  Killing an animal in itself, in an abstract form, is no problem.  I repeat, like killing a man.  The so-called “humanistic” ideals — unfounded illusions, a set of random stereotypes.  I respect those who do not like to kill with their own hands (and I myself am), but do not turn this into some kind of law and universal principle.

At the end of my article, I would like to remind the words of Leo Tolstoy, who once said, “A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food, therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite…”


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