The Crime of Cannibalism: Cycles of Death and Rebirth in the World
To Eat or Not to Eat it?
The Act of Consumption
Cannibalism is the ritualistic practice of one being eating another. It can be defined as one human consuming another or one animal consuming another for food. It is an act of consumption and a force that fuels consumerism of any kind, especially in the animal kingdom and the human food system. In more modern times, it is referred to as a food cycle. In essential terms, the act of cannibalism is the destruction of a living being.
In the animal kingdom, it is predatory behavior where a predator devours a prey. It is brutal and barbaric, and the behavior of less intelligent animals- ones that operate only on basic instinct, survival and without any conscience. Cannibalism is indeed a form of consumption, homicide or murder. Like it or not, this is the truth.
Within the animal kingdom, there are carnivores and herbivores. Believe it or not, man often subsisted as herbivores, as gatherers not simply hunters. Although anthropologically, man has been considered evolved from a hunter-gatherer historical heritage, many cultures survived on little or no animal sustenance especially in times of austerity, migration, drought, disease, over consumption, environmental collapse, seasonal changes and famine.
Human Teeth Resemble Herbivores
Consider for a moment, that we are not natural carnivores. It is fact that the devouring of flesh is essentially not our natural or inherited historical diet. Since most paleontologists and anthropologists agree that Homo Sapiens evolved from apes or primates, although there remains significant gaps and disconnection in tracing, it is fair to observe that apes are traditionally and predominantly frugivores (fruit eaters) Gibbons and Siamangs or herbivores (leaf eaters) such as Orangutans and Gorillas. Of course, this may include the accidental or intentional ingestion of insects on plants. Only the smaller primate, the Chimpanzee is omnivorous, eating meat, fruit and vegetation. The smallest primates are observed to also eat only fruit and vegetation and some insects, however, the largest primates are predominantly herbivores or herbivore and frugivores, eating a mix of leaf and fruit diets. Our closest developmental ancestor, the ape, is essentially not carnivorous. The 'Killer Ape' Theory does not prove to be a valid hypothesis afterall, apes are frugivores and herbivores, not the aggressive hunters as featured in very fictional stories such as Planet of the Apes. That... my friends is pure fantasy. Don't believe everything you read on Wikipedia either, I would not consider that a valid encyclopedia, but a highly publicly biased and edited propaganda.
Approximately 12 million years before Homo Sapien were the Homo Erectus. The earlier species of hominid, Homo Erectus has been identified as a predominant frugivore or fruit eater. Stanley Garn, Professor of Nutrition and Anthropology, and William Leonard, Assistant Professor of Human Biology quote later in our development did we as hominids learn to hunt and eat animal flesh. I put forth that hunting was 'learned' and 'adapted' behavior by much later hominids who observed carnivorous predators in the wild hunting other animals for food and nutrition. Hominids, therefore, are not naturally carnivorous yet learned behaviors adapting some of them into omnivores.
"These people of Upper Pleistocene, and later those of the mesolithic, were our immediate ancestors, no longer hunters exclusively and with whole-grain products and a variable amount of roots, fruits, leafy vegetables and nuts in their diet. We must grant them a mixed diet, with animal fat providing a smaller proportion of their food energy than was probably true for the Neanderthals."
In Homo Sapiens, who possess an enlarged cranium and smaller jaw bones than other carnivores, the short canine teeth are a result of the development of the small jaw. Primates such as the large Gorilla and Gelada Baboons actually possess the largest canine incisor teeth, yet are herbivores, so sharp teeth are not an indicator of carnivorous development. Also, some other herbivores have very well developed incisor teeth which are often mistaken for human teeth in archaeological excavations.
According to the Smithsonian Museum, humans have always had to search for food whether it be first through gathering, scavenging and later by learning to hunt. By 164,000 years ago, they were catching and cooking shell fish, and by 90,000 years they were creating fishing and hunting tools. They not only made stone tools but fish hooks, harpoons, bows and arrows, spears and even sewing needles. Only within the past 12,000 years, apparently thus far, have hominids learned to farm, herd and breed plants and of course, animals. And as man became less migratory and more settled in lands where they grew and bred animals, villages grew into cities. They have altered the world in the name of survival, into a survival that is convenient, albeit selfish and ignorant of the serious ethical and ecological consequences associated with the mass consumption of flesh.
Quoted from an editorial by William Clifford Roberts, M.d., Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Cardiology:
"When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings, who are natural herbivores."
Denial- ignorance is bliss?
If it is not enough to prove to deniers that we are not inherently carnivorous but indeed were frugivores and herbivores, just as the apes, then as a race that toots accountability and responsibility as virtues, we must also face the serious ethical, ecological and health concerns of eating flesh and blood meals.
Killing, mutilating and consuming another being for it's flesh is morally and ethically incorrect, barbaric and the behavior of animals who may be sentient but not intelligent enough to make a choice of conscience and effect the changes choices infer in our society and world. People indeed, CHOOSE to IGNORE their consciences when they consume flesh and blood meals as if it were sophisticated and pleasant to do so. Even though we mass produce living and perceptive beings in unsanitary, crowded, inhumane conditions while often treating them as a simple product of greed driven and blood thirsty hungry, insatiable, consumer capitalism.
No one apparently approves of human exploitation, trafficking or homicide but doing the same things to mammals within our same species is perfectly fine. Is that not ignorance and arrogance of the highest degree? Is it not a total lack of respect for life? No wonder species are becoming extinct at phenomenal rates, yet few are taking responsibility or being accountable for the rest of the life in this world. Mass production farms are no more than killing zoos. Would you like to be caged in a zoo waiting to be seen or eaten?
Not long ago, I attended the Olymel Olympic Meats Co. where I drove a friend, incidentally, on Halloween Day, to a job interview. I parked by the killing floor where the trucks were unloading pigs for slaughter while I waited. To my horror, the animals were screeching and screaming, violently thrusting themselves into the trailer walls for which they were caged and trapped. I was convinced that they could sense and smell their own impending death as well as the blood and death of the animals that died there that day. It was unnerving, gave me anxiety and I was completely nauseated on the verge of vomiting from the spectacle. It was pure terror. How does that bacon taste now?
On another occasion, I watched a short video on cows who were being rescued from slaughters and being protected and retired onto wild life preserves. When one of the cows was being loaded onto the trailer to be transported to the preserve, the cow was literally weeping tears of fear, was agitated and afraid. When they released her onto the preserve, she was hesitant to leave the trailer, but when finally free and among the safety of a rescued herd apparently not in any danger, grazing in an open field, only then did she leap for glee and run around in relief. Watch some of the documentaries on mass production farming and mistreatment of animals, and do tell if you are able to stomach that filet mignon, pork chop, chomp on that chicken leg or munch on that fragile frog leg. Do you have even an inkling of conscience for your fellow mammal or animal? You do, after all, have the logical and ethical option to make an educated and moral choice.
Regardless of human evolution and progress, flesh eating is a choice and no longer are there any intelligent excuses for animal abuse, exploitation mass murder. We are not barbaric savages without self-control or the power of social conscience to change the future for animal treatment and existence in this world. Extinction and consumption are absolutely preventable and it is only those among us, who are the perpetrators of continued suffering of mammals by human beings in modern society.
The true savages may very well be the sociopathic corporate share holders who only care of the bottom line, profiteering at the expense of life and oblivious blood hungry consumerism that lacks any conscience in evolved sentient beings who are supposed to have the ability to think and choose with intelligent consideration and selection. Who is more intelligent, the passive animal victims of blood lusts or the humans that use science and history as a scapegoat for ignorance, responsibility and the criminal extinction of animals through consumption?
What is the Difference?
I often hear people comment in arrogance, when they discover I am a vegetarian, that they simply love the taste, texture and flavor of flesh or meat and could not possibly live without it. In some third world countries, cat, dog, birds, horses and exotic animals such as alligator, lizard, dolphin or snakes are consumed as tasty culinary dishes and delights of a sophisticated palate. So I imagine, people would not have issue if we began, in times of high meat prices and shortages, to start consuming domestic house hold pets. Poodle a la Mode? Snoopy a la Carte? Feline Fricassee?
They are mammals within the species that apparently taste rather good with a side of sauce, too. Some of them are man's best friends, but what the hell, you probably can't give up meat, so Snoopy and Garfield might be a delicious grocery alternative blackened with a dash of marinara and peppercorn. Hmm, with a side glass of a flavorful Chardonnay? Wear your best- a black tie affair? That is the path we are already going down you know. Just because you dress it up, market it, brand it, price it... does not make it the most intelligent or evolved choice, now does it?
It is only one small step away from human cannibalism which is actually still part of our global reality. Some predict, part of our future- ever seen the Cloud Atlas by the makers of the film series, the Matrix? Not so far fetched after all is it? Perhaps you have not read my articles on the decline of farming in North America, or water scarcity and agricultural crisis in Canada. What do you truly think all those prophetic vampire and zombie movies are about anyway? It is all about flesh eating, blood hungry cannibalism. It may be media talking exactly about the day walking cannibals that munch on bloody flesh meals three times per day- breakfast, lunch and supper. Is it talking about you? Wake up call. Reality bites back.
In Buddhism, we call these cycles of death and rebirth fueled by violent karma- Samsara. What you eat and consume, comes to kill, eat and murder you. Think of it like a boomerang, what actions and intentions you inflict upon the world, returns to you whether it be good or bad, kind or violent intention. It is all a nuclear force of energy, and energy holds memory of your intentions, acts, deeds to other beings in this nuclear reality. Push, and it pushes back. Kill and it will kill back. Do unto others, as they do unto you. What goes around, comes around. Get the picture? It really is no big secret.
Or...you can simply ignore and brush off what is read here today and go back to delusional la la land, a Big Mac, a Chili Dog, that bloody rare Steak Tar Tar. I know, it just tastes too good to give up. But then, Hannibal Lecter and Jeffrey Dahmer's kind, those corporate psychopaths are probably planning, in the future of drought, food shortages and climate change, Ken and Barbie BBQ- serving Hominid Homer- medium rare on Havarty or Brie. I am sure you won't care or know the difference, humans might just taste too good to give up, too. It's a fine line between savage and intelligent choice- what choice will you and your family make that will make a statement about your ethics and humanity? The ignorant one? Or the smart evolved intelligent one? It all starts with each and everyone. Teach them well.
Samsara explores the wonders of our world from the mundane to the miraculous, looking into the unfathomable reaches of humanity's spirituality and the human experience.