I am a long, long-time vegetarian and a pacifist.
A few days back I came to know that there was a bee infestation in one of our houses. Its inducts are outside, so there is no interference in our day to day existence. Initially I thought to get them smoked out, but later decided against it. The logic was the lack of necessity.
I take a balanced approach towards animals erring against violence. When we moved into Saratoga last year, we had the challenge of how to handle a potential termite infestation. In that case we decided to get the house treated. Eventually inspections found no termite issue, so we did not have to deal with this problem. But what’s important is the forethought which went into it. It was impractical and not acceptable to let a multimillion dollar house get eaten by termites. But a bee colony on the periphery of our house and being there for only a few months is a different ballgame.
On a similar note, one issue which bothers me a lot is America’s addiction to meat. The kind of cruelty against animals which takes place on a daily basis in slaughter houses in middle America will put even the Devil to shame. Most people eat meat two to three times a day turning a blind eye to how the meat gets to them. Anyone interested in working conditions and animal cruelty in slaughter houses should read the book “Fast Food Nation.” There is also a movie made with the same title.
My problem with meat eating is the lack of necessity. In the distant past before agriculture was invented and nature provided enough edible plant products, it was a different thing. But today, we are not hunter/gatherers anymore. Now people have a choice to eat healthy vegetarian food, which is plentiful.
Let me contrast with another case. Say you are Polynesians fleeing religious persecution from Asia. You have two choices, either get killed or take voyage upon the sea, in small boats and to unknown destinations. You may get killed either way, but in the second case it’s only a possibility; in the first case guaranteed. Now, upon the sea, how do you survive? Obviously you’ll eat fish and other seafood. You either eat them or not survive.
On a side-note, some people argue that eating white meat is a smaller sin than eating red meat. If sin is correlated to damaging your body, it probably holds true since red meat does do havoc to your health and especially your heart.
Nature has various food chains for animals based on necessity. A lion has to hunt for it’s prey and cannot show compassion in the act. That being said, when a lion’s stomach is full, it will not even look at a potential prey. Some people say that this food chain keeps the animal population under control.
Meanwhile, humans have crossed the limits of necessity and cause havoc simply because of habit.