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Where Did Your Lunch Come From?

I remember seeing TV news images back in the 1970s of the spring seal hunt off the east coast of Canada. I was horrified and sickened at the sight of men clubbing "white-coat" seal pups to death. I was so disgusted and opposed to it, as were millions of other Canadians, that I participated in Greenpeace protests against the seal hunt. It seemed to be such a clear-cut, black and white issue. I would have a lunch of hamburgers or fried chicken, put on my leather boots or shoes, and then go out and protest the slaughter of animals.

Did you see the irony of what I just wrote?

I honestly didn't realize it then (just as most of today's protestors don't), because, as I said, it all just seemed so right because of those horrible news images - until I happened to personally witness what goes on every day in slaughterhouses (the young lady that I was engaged to at the time was the daughter of a man who owned an abattoir) in every country on earth; the same brutal slaughter of animals, for food and for byproducts such as leather. I stopped protesting the seal hunt after that because I then realized that I would be a hypocrite to continue. Even being a vegetarian (despite my sister's dire warnings that I would become unhealthy if I stopped eating meat, I've been a healthy, never-get-sick, 6 foot / 175 pound vegetarian for over 25 years, although I still use some milk and milk products - while both my meat-eating brother and sister have had a few serious health problems over the years) makes no difference if milk or cheese is consumed. The milk on your corn flakes or the cream in your coffee is made at least partly possible by slaughtering the cow's young calf (i.e. that's what veal is, a slaughtered calf) so that humans, not the calf, can have the milk. Almost no one can protest the slaughter of animals for food without being a hypocrite.

When I see the protestors on TV, as I did on CNN today (April 2005), I can understand their feelings. I too, to this day, still regard the seal hunt to be horrendously brutal - but so is what goes on in slaughterhouses everywhere on earth, including no doubt one not far from where every well-meaning protestor lives, regardless of where in the world they are. But I wonder how many of them realize that they are just as personally responsible for the brutal slaughter of animals?

What has been the result of the government-controlled hunt on the seal population since I protested the seal hunt over 30 years ago? Have the hunters wiped out the seal population? No. Even after the hundreds of thousands of seals taken in the hunts, the seal population has tripled since the 1970s. There are more seals now than ever, and they are eating vast amounts of the seafood that many protestors say that they will not buy from Canadian producers because of the seal hunt. Do you see the irony of that as well? The over-abundance of seals are eating what the protestors say that they won't buy. But they can't boycott something that the seals have eaten, can they. The seal hunt isn't just about fur coats, it's also about preserving the fisheries that many humans depend on for food - including some of those people who naively protest the seal hunt, as I once did.

Clubbing a seal to death is brutal. I couldn't and wouldn't do it. But how many people are aware of how those same seals would "normally" die? They are either brutally eaten, alive, by predators such as killer whales, or they die slow, painful, brutal "natural" deaths from illness or injury.

If you're someone who protests the harvest of animals, think about what you're doing. Take a very careful look at the slaughter of animals that you are personally responsible for before you sit in judgment of others.

"A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast"

The Bible records many examples of the slaughter of animals for food, products or purpose. The Scripture examples never however permit any sort of wanton cruelty or the causing of malicious suffering of animals i.e. "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast" (Proverbs 12:10 KJV).

Passover In Egypt God is the all-powerful Creator of all that exists. God could have clothed Adam and Eve with anything, but He simply clothed them in animal skins, leather or fur. God was the first to slaughter animals for no other purpose than for fur or leather clothing (humans did not become meat eaters until after the Flood - see verses below). If it were wrong to kill animals for fur or leather, God would not have done it. Or would Greenpeace protest and accuse God of doing wrong?

"Unto Adam also and to his wife did The Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them." (Genesis 3:21 KJV)

Jesus Christ said of John the Baptist, "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:11 KJV). And what did very righteous John wear?

"And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins" (Matthew 3:4 KJV)

The holy Tabernacle was enclosed in skins of rams and badgers:

"And thou shalt make a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and a covering above of badgers' skins." (Exodus 26:14 KJV)

Humans began as vegetarians (Genesis 1:29) but later, after the Flood, The Lord declared that it was acceptable to slaughter clean animals (see the Fact Finder question below) for food:

"And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things." (Genesis 9:2-3 KJV)

Until their symbolic purpose (i.e. the Lamb of God, see Passover and The Lamb Of God) was fulfilled, The Lord commanded that animal sacrifices were to be done. Again, if it were wrong to do that, for the time that it was to be done, God would not have commanded it.

"Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it." (Exodus 12:5-8 KJV)

Fact Finder: How does God distinguish between "clean" and "unclean" animals?
See Clean and Unclean

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