This article is part of Kechara’s on-going efforts to create a greener, more environmentally aware society. Starting with a local recycling effort within the neighbourhood community, Kechara hopes to make a real difference in the field of environmental conservation, starting from the education of our members.
In the mid-1980s, a famous American film and television actor James Garner was a spokesperson for the Meat Board’s Beef Industry Council (MBBIC). In this capacity, he did a series of commercials proclaiming that “Real men eat real meat”. Ironically, just two years later, Garner’s contract with MBBIC was not renewed. He also suffered a heart attack.
Eating meat is so yummy! Don’t you think so? Many people think eating meat is pleasurable. Grilled beef, mutton curry, bacon, burgers, satay, barbecued pork, grilled fish, bak kut teh (pork ribs cooked in herbs), etc…are you eating all this food to feel good? But have you ever thought about where the meat comes from?
Here’s a glimpse of how your pork and chicken came along to be put into your mouth…
We know bak kut teh and barbecued pork are quite delicious to eat. However, if we read about the conditions at hog factories where pigs are reared for slaughter, it is without a doubt that one must have very bad karma to be reborn a pig. The living conditions in hog factories are very bad in terms of hygiene and living space, where the animals are treated like soul-less pieces of meat. More specifically, Mercyforanimals.org say:
Modern breeding sows are treated like piglet-making machines. Living a continuous cycle of impregnation and birth, the sows each have more than 20 piglets per year. After being impregnated, the sows are confined in small pens or metal gestation crates which are just 2 feet wide. After giving birth and nursing their young for two to three weeks, the piglets are taken away to be fattened, and the sow is re-impregnated.
When the sow is no longer deemed a productive breeder, she is sent to slaughter. Approximately 100 million pigs are raised and slaughtered in the U.S. every year. As babies, they are subjected to painful mutilations without anaesthesia or pain relievers. The piglets’ tails are cut off to minimise tail biting. In addition, notches are taken out of the piglets’ ears for identification.
Chicken is the most highly consumed meat in Malaysia, from fried chicken to curry chicken, Gai Fan (chicken rice) to Nga Choi Gai (chicken served with bean sprouts)…most Malaysians eat chicken every day. Consuming chicken has become so commonplace that children are beginning to stop regarding chickens as animals. Instead, chicken has simply become just another type of food.
In highlighting the horrors that chickens face as they are reared for food, Mercyforanimals.org says:
Today’s meat chickens have been genetically altered to grow twice as fast, and twice as large as their ancestors. Pushed beyond their biological limits, hundreds of millions of chickens die every year before reaching slaughter weight at 6 weeks of age.
Inside the slaughterhouse, fully conscious birds are hung by their feet from metal shackles on a moving rail. The first station on most poultry slaughterhouse assembly lines is the stunning tank, where the birds’ heads are submerged in an electrified bath of water.
Stunning procedures are not monitored, and they are often inadequate. Poultry slaughterhouses commonly set the electrical current lower than what is required to render the birds unconscious because of concerns that too much electricity would damage the carcass and diminish its value. The result is that birds are immobilised but are still capable of feeling pain and they emerge from the stunning tank still conscious.
The stories above also apply to cows, lamb, turkeys and all of the animals that people crave to eat. Children at McDonalds don’t know that their hamburgers are made from ground-up cows! Neither do they know that these cows have had their throats slit by machetes, or their brains bashed in by sledgehammers. Ironic since the original actor to play the part of Ronald McDonald is Jeff Juliano…who is a vegetarian!
Imagine the sound of animals screaming in pain every single day, just for you to have a nice lunch or dinner…hardly seems nice anymore, does it?
So be conscious of what you eat! Be compassionate and go vegetarian, and cut down the number of animals killed just for your appetite. There is a wide range of tasty vegetarian food out there to cater to your taste buds (or you could just practice detachment from them!)…and remember supply and demand! The more people who become vegetarian, the larger this vegetarian range will grow as companies try to capitalise on a growing demand!
James Garner might have found popularity with his slogan, but I think I have one that will soon match it in popularity…
Real Men Eat No Meat!
If you wish to help do your part for the environment, join Kechara’s recycling programme. Held on the second Sunday of every month, from 9am to 12pm, we can be found at the playground outside Kechara House 1 collecting any and all recyclables…newspapers, plastics, metals, even old clothes! For further information, please contact Wan Wai Meng at +6012 215 0968.