What We Can Do About Suffering of Animals & Humans
Posted Dec 08 2008 2:47am
I love animals, most of us do. And I've been thinking more about this lately after reading Kathy Freston's book, Quantum Wellness, and reading her story of how she came to do what she does ... trying to alleviate the suffering of animals.
Then I received an email from the PCRM (Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine) about how the military is doing experiments on animals to try to simulate men that have been blown to smithereens and burnt in combat. They take a goat or a pig and give them some type of a sedative, then they put them on a stretcher, put a clamp on their leg and crack (and break) it. I don't want to get more graphic, but this was the least graphic thing they're doing to these poor animals.
PCRM president Dr. Neal Barnard writes: "The use of human simulators, civilian trauma centers, and other methods
all do a much better job at training medical personnel. What you’ll be
astounded by is that other parts of the military are already using
non-animal trauma training effectively."
After reading this, I thought about that goat because I know what it's like to lose a leg (fully medicated) and I've had enough leg surgeries to know the intense suffering. Cutting bone is excruciatingly painful compared with other surgeries (I've had other less painful ones). We would scream and cry in anguish if surgery like this were done without proper medication to our dog, cat or horse, so what's the difference if it is a goat, a pig or a monkey (the animals being tested like this)? These animals are no different.
I often think about the incidence of diabetes in this country, especially this summer when I noticed several overweight people with large black-and-purple leg ulcers, some in wheelchairs, some waiting for the bus and others in my doctor's office in Washington, DC, where I had leg reconstructive surgery in April. Clearly, many people suffering with diabetes will soon lose a leg, have a heart attack, develop cancer or one of the other life-threatening illnesses associated with the disease. When I see this, I feel sad ... because I know that this suffering, though different from the animals, is similar in that it is totally unnecessary. IT IS VERY MUCH PREVENTABLE, and can be amazingly improved and sometimes healed by following a plant-based diet.
I think a lot about this epidemic of preventable illness caused by people eating all the fast food, junk food, chemicalized non-foods ... and no vegetables at all (no a fruit isn't a vegetable, nor fries!). And many people eat entirely animal protein diets. This way of eating actually has been embraced by most Americans because it has been marketed and sold to us over the last 30 to 40 years so much. People think it's "normal." And many dieticians, nurses and doctors have bought into this, too. There is a fortunate small percentage of Americans who have good, helpful knowledge of whole foods and diets based on whole grains, beans and vegetables and they're thriving health-wise. But the vast majority has become addicted to this morbidly unhealthy way of eating.
Children are the ones who suffer because they don't know better. Try asking the average American kids what vegetables they eat. In the next 10 years, I fear the problems from poor eating are going to increase exponentially, and there will be a lot more human needless suffering. Just as the experiments on animals is needless suffering.
We need to open our eyes and wake up! People also need examples, education and good media attention to counteract the effects of all the advertising that promotes unhealthy eating. We have to work at it. It just won't "happen." Like me, many people won't awaken until they have a life-threatening illness, but that's happening pretty quickly to many people. I imagine a world (soon) where there are ads about food that is really good for you. Whole healthy foods. Whole grains. Beans. Vegetables. Where the advertiser is really concerned for his fellow man's health, because the fellow man is now him, (or her), his daughter, or son.
In this situation, the word 'WE' is important. We don't need to throw up our hands and say, "Woe is me." We just have to accept what is, and take steps today toward changing it, We can start today. We can start by taking small steps, then larger steps. If you eat meat or other animal protein, try cutting your portions in half and add double the fresh vegetables instead. Or cut back on meat five days a week to two, and on those meatless days, have a bean & rice dish. It's the most important thing we can do for ourselves, our children, our animals and our planet Earth. To end the needless suffering. And it truly is needless. We can become part of the solution. To learn how to begin, PCRM offers free weekly online classes, scientific information & clinical trials, examples of people who have healed their diabetes, cancer and other illnesses by eating a plant-based diet. Please become part of the solution — it will change your life.
Note: Any attempt you make at this issue is applauded. It is not an all-or-nothing venture. If you go a quarter or half the way, you're making strides toward less suffering. Did you know that Sloan Kettering has a Meatless Monday at its cafeteria now? How is that for progress? What will you do today?
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