The landmark new book titled, Animal Agriculture is Immoral, includes chapters by me, Pramoda Chitrabhanu, Lewis Regenstein, Brandon Burr, Dan Brook, Rabbi David Rosen, Karen Davis, Jason Glasson, Jeffrey Spitz Cohan, Richard Schwartz, Sailesh Rao, Rabbi Dr. Schmuly Yanklowitz, Steve Kaufman, Susan Hargreaves, Victoria Moran, Will Tuttle, Rabbi Yonatan Neril, Hope Bohanec, Duke McLeod, and S.O. Fasrus. It is a Climate Healers publication. My chapter is entitled:
What Would Homo Ahimsa* Do?
Such is humanity at its finest—reaching out, helping, touching, rescuing, bringing hope for an end to extreme suffering and fear of death. At the other end of the human behavior spectrum, we find humanity at its worst in the form of animal agriculture and the extreme abuse of animals in many industries. Instead of rescuing these innocent and defenseless cousins of ours who have never harmed us, instead of touching them with love and respecting their rights to live and be free, they are brutally killed by the billions at the hands of human beings. Those hands that could bring comfort and compassion, as they did for Michael, instead bring terror, torture, suffering and death without mercy.
What is going on here? How can the same species, indeed some of the same individuals, behave in such opposite ways? Clearly, there is a desire in most human beings to be kind and loving. This yearning is, perhaps, best expressed in the Golden Rule--“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is a nearly universally accepted moral value by almost all religions and ethical traditions. Although many of these traditions stop short and apply it only to certain (but not all) human beings, there is no logical, scientific or spiritual justification for limiting it so arbitrarily. But doing so has, for centuries, allowed animal agriculture, slavery, wars, genocide, religious persecution, etc. to proliferate and benefit those in power.
Nevertheless, the Golden Rule still shines like a star, beckoning us toward an ideal to which most, if not all of us, aspire. Certainly, we could not have this as an ideal if we did not believe we could achieve it. Somewhere, deep in our hearts, we long for a chance to express our true and ideal nature all the time toward all sacred life. I believe that time is here now if we will grab the opportunity.
Deep in our souls, we know who we really are and that we are not here on this earth to cause despair, destruction, desecration and death to nature, people and to billions of our fellow earthlings. Animal agriculture, and all that it destroys, shows how far we have fallen from our ideal. Our golden moral compass points us toward a higher consciousness that understands the sacredness and interconnectedness of all life, and we can see, now better than ever before, that, by the law of cause and effect, we ourselves are reaping the same death and suffering that we have sown for others for these many thousands of years.
Animal agriculture is a recent invention of human beings—approximately 10,000 years old. Prior to that, there is anthropological evidence that many human beings lived in small egalitarian, mostly nomadic, bands that did not wage war and did not have weapons of war. Although there were respected elders among the groups, they did not have the authority to force their friends and families into armed conflict. We could say that animal agriculture and war are twins, born together out of the dark shadows of the human psyche.
Ten thousand years later, we live in a world filled with billions of Homo Sapiens, all fully capable of love and compassion. Yet, in spite of our potential for kindness, the world that we have created is one that grows more violent, oppressive, sick and polluted with each passing day. Only Homo Sapiens, and no other living being on earth, is responsible for the devastation caused to our beautiful Earth home and to all living beings who are trying to share this home with us.
Our time is up. We cannot live as Homo Sapiens any longer. That species cannot solve the problems it has created. It is a creature too willing to leave morals and ethics behind, too eager for self-gratification to unfurl its full capacity for love, and too frightened and confused to heal the damage it has done. We have to evolve now. All because of the actions of Homo Sapiens and only Homo Sapiens, the sixth extinction of animal and plant species accelerates, deserts keep forming where once there were life-giving forests, waters continue to fill with lethal trash and poisons, pandemics proliferate, polluted air toxifies the bodies of all who live here, millions of children and families starve due to animal agriculture and millions of innocent farmed and aquatic animals suffer and die every single day from human violence. We have finally run out of time.
This is a spiritual, moral, ethical, and life or death crisis for us and all species. Governments and giant corporations have no interest in repairing the damage that has brought them so much power, control and wealth. It is absolutely up to us to literally elevate our consciousness and realize who we really are--Homo Ahimsa. Only with the ethics of nonviolence and unconditional love for all beings can we rise up and heal the wounds we have caused to ourselves, the Earth and all our fellow earthlings.
It is time for all people to take off the masks that we have worn to show our conformity and our willingness to go along with the status quo, for fear of rejection and not fitting in. It is time to get rid of our masks and see how radiantly beautiful we really are. With our masks off, we take a deep breath and we stare this anthropocentric patriarchy in the face and see, really see, this is not what we want. This does not reflect our true nature, and it is killing us and everyone else. What a liberation it is to know that we do not need to live this way. In fact we ourselves can bring in an entirely new way of living and create peace and freedom for all earthlings. Our hearts and our spirits already know the way. This is something remarkable to celebrate!
Animal agriculture, hierarchical domination and war grew up together and fed upon each other. Because all of these dark forces are completely out of alignment with our true nature of lovingkindness and ahimsa, the suffering has been beyond measure. All the domination of women, animals, nature and people considered “other,” has brought us now to the edge of a cliff, but we still have time to choose. We can give up in the face of what seem to be overwhelming odds. Or we can wait for Big Ag, Big Pharma and the military industrial complex to fix it. Or we can seize this amazing opportunity, this big push, this calling to our souls from all the innocent lives hanging in the balance—and reveal ourselves as the radiant, loving beings we truly are.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “The present chaos is not the end of the world, but the labor pains of a new earth and a new humanity coming into form.” Our new form is Homo Ahimsa—the one who, not only knows the Golden Rule, but lives by it every day. Deep within, we are not killers. We do not salivate at the sight of a cow or a chicken. In quiet moments, with our minds still and calm, we can feel our sweet connection to the dog at our side and the birds singing in the trees. Just as Michael needed his hand held so desperately; in their suffering, the animals who are being tortured and killed by people, long for a simple touch, a touch of hope and healing, a touch that says, you are safe now. We are here, not to harm you, but to free you.
When we think about it, eating plant-based food and living by vegan values is the Golden Rule in action. What would Homo Ahimsa do? At the top of the list would be to live vegan since that is in perfect alignment with ahimsa nonviolence and the Golden Rule. Veganism can be defined as a way of life that excludes using, confining or killing animals for any purpose. It is an ethical principle that leads to living nonviolently and with compassion toward all people, animals, nature and the Earth. It is a commitment to touch gently, rescue, liberate, love and cherish all sacred life. Ahimsa literally means non-harm and is a commitment to nonviolence, truth, lovingkindness, and justice. The shining beacon of the Golden Rule that has been part of cultures for these many centuries finds its pure and whole expression with the arising of vegan Homo Ahimsa consciousness in us all.
Isaac Bashevis Singer famously said, “As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures, there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.” That profound statement carries within it a major key to our rising consciousness and the world of peace we want to create. By simply ending the shedding of “blood of innocent creatures,” we have a chance to create a world of peace, liberty and harmony. And what is really exciting about this is that we don’t have to wait for Big Ag to decide to be nice. We have the power in our own gentle hands. We simply stop buying their products, and their doors will have to close, bringing to a final end the hells on earth that caused so much pain and misery. Imagine that! Let us rejoice that we do indeed have that power.
Gandhi once prayed, while witnessing the sacrificial slaughter of thousands of lambs at the Temple of Kali, “for some great spirit, man or woman, fired with divine pity, who will deliver us from this heinous sin, save the lives of the innocent creatures, and purify the temple.” Let us all be an answer to Gandhi’s prayer. Let us purify the temple of Mother Earth. Let us hold the hands and paws and hooves and fins of those who need to know that we have finally awakened to who we really are. Now we understand that we have the power to stop their suffering and eliminate this vile, diabolical, immoral industry. Let us join together, hand in hand, around the world and rise up to our higher consciousness of lovingkindness, ask forgiveness, and get busy healing the damage Homo Sapiens has done.
Judy McCoy Carman, MA, is the author of Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul and Homo Ahimsa: Who We Really Are and How We’re Going to Save the World; recipient of the 2014 Henry Spira Grassroots Animal Activist Award and founder of the Animal Peace Prayer Flag Project. She is co-founder of Animal Outreach of Kansas, Worldwide Prayer Circle for Animals, Interfaith Vegan Coalition and assists with Vegan Spirituality events. Her website is peacetoallbeings.com.
*Homo Ahimsa first appeared in the book Peace to All Beings, and is the subject of a new book, Homo Ahimsa: Who We Really Are and How We’re Going to Save the World. See a detailed description of our transformation from the predator species, Homo Sapiens into the caretaker species, Homo Ahimsa at Sailesh Rao’s climatehealers.org.
You can order this book at https://upc-online.org/merchandise/book.html#aai