In the last few days, there was lot of discussion in social media about the government’s decision to open slaughter houses in the country. Notwithstanding the small benefits of having slaughter houses in the country, I thought, this is a grave decision lacking wisdom and coming with utter disregard given to the concerns and sentiments of the larger population.
Arguments are being put forward justifying slaughter houses in financial and economic context. Well, how much are we really spending on import of meat that justifies setting up of slaughter houses in the country that is deeply religious? Can slaughter houses contribute to reversing the economic situation? I have a serious doubt.
Well some argue that, since we eat lot of meat, setting up large scale meat farms and slaughter houses must be allowed amid choetens, lhakhangs and prayer flags. Certainly, there is something wrong with this kind of thinking. I think we are losing our sense of direction.
On the one hand we have the government targeting to restore thousands of hollowed-out choetens and restore their sanctity for peace, harmony and well being of all sentient beings and on the other hand the same government wants to start mega meat farms and slaughter houses for what? Other than ensuring blood smeared wealth for few promoters, the nation is bound to lose its own priceless age-old Bhutanese Buddhist values like the rest of senseless consumer driven countries of the world.
Let’s not forget that, it is Bhutan which gave the world the alternative development paradigm of Gross National Happiness (GNH) propounded by His Majesty the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. GNH is a development philosophy based on Buddhist principles of moderation and compassion. Where will slaughter houses fit in? Let’s please not follow the path of illusion offered by endless consumerism and let us realize that the rest of the world is looking at us for directions as they become increasingly disillusioned by their unsustainable way of living based on insatiable consumerism. Do we need to follow them by going the same way? Are we also seeing greener grasses on other side of the fence?
What does the mother of all our laws, the Constitution say? It says that, “Buddhism is the spiritual heritage of our country which promotes principles and values of peace, non-violence, compassion and tolerance.” Where does the slaughter house fit in?
People also argue that because we Bhutanese consume lot of meat, slaughtering takes place across the border for Bhutanese consumers. Well, we can also argue that, because meat is made available without restrictions, people tend to keep consuming. And let’s be honest here that urban dwellers with more affluence consume more meat than rural folks. While meat may be a staple for rich, it is still luxury for poor people in the villages.
Rather than allowing in slaughter houses and letting Bhutanese who can afford meat in all their meals become wholly carnivorous, an idea of meat rationing can reduce over consumption of meat. I think we can do this. Excess consumption of red meat is linked to cancer while animal fat are considered really unhealthy. We are not meant to be meat eaters. Look at our teeth, they are meant to chew and grind grains not puncture fatal wounds, tear flesh and break bones like natural carnivorous. Why isn't there institutionalized campaign against excessive meat consumption like we have for alcohol, tobacco and other substances which when consumed in excess becomes health hazards? Perhaps meat could be another root cause for rising NCDs in the country and NCDs are more common among urban dwellers than rural people. Available records confirm the correlation.
And some may be of the view that Bhutanese Buddhist rituals are also heavily laden with non-vegetarian meals. Well, that is right. Today, even the after-death rituals take a party like atmosphere of meat laden buffets. I must confess that, this is all because of us. We can only blame ourselves for this trend. His Holiness, the Je Khenpo had issued repeated decrees on doing away with meat in rituals. We must be ashamed of our conduct by not heeding to His Holiness’s decrees. Can we blame our religion for this?
So, before it is too late, let’s come to our senses and scrap the idea of slaughter houses. The idea of slaughter houses should not have even taken roots in government thinking, in the first place. I am glad that petitions have come against the idea both from outside the country and also from our religious body, the Dratshang Lhentshok. I hate to use this word, but the idea of slaughter houses needs ‘SLAUGHTERING’ in the first place.
PEOPLE MAY ALSO ARGUE THAT, KILLING WILL ONLY CEASE WHEN EATING STOPS BUT, I THINK EATING WILL CERTAINLY REDUCE WHEN THE KILLING STOPS. WE DON’T EAT FIRST AND KILL LATER. WE HAVE TO KILL FIRST TO BE ABLE TO EAT.
May 13, 2015 02:40 pm