A few days back, I came across a post on a Facebook page that described how a buffalo in a slaughterhouse in Hongkong knelt down and cried, begging for his life when the workers tried to drag him through the slaughterhouse door. The workers tried hard to push and pull the poor creature, but it would not move an inch.
The story which was posted by WorldTruth.tv and originally published in Weekly World NEWS in 2011, Really touched me and inspired me to write this article. This particular buffalo was lucky. The workers who were on the scene were deeply moved by his emotional reactions and decided to save him. They collected money, bought the bull and handed it over to a monastery for care. Mr. Shiu, a butcher of the slaughterhouse has been quoted as saying “This creature has changed the life of a butcher. When I first saw this so-called ‘stupid’ creature sobbing, I trembled and could not believe myself. It was very strange.” The workers reported that when they told the creature about their decision not to kill him, then the buffalo stood up and readily followed them as though it understood their words.
I am not sure if the above story is true, but even if it is not, it’s not the first time I have heard about animals showing emotions when they seem to sense what is going to happen to them.
My brother-in-law was telling me the other day that years ago in his village, a stray female dog had given birth to four or five puppies behind an old lady’s house. Since the lady hated dogs, she threw all the puppies far down the field where they smashed and died. What she saw the next was unbearable. When the mother of the puppies returned, she cried and restlessly wandered around the house, looking for her little ones. Finally when she found her dead puppies, she brought each one of them up to the backyard and struggled to feed them. Helpless, the dog cried all day and night and that was too painful for anybody with a human heart to observe. Likewise, cows, bulls, buffaloes and almost all other animals show their feelings when they are excited or when they sense a danger. A bird or chicken, when caught on hand, trembles with fear, the cows and bulls shed tears when they know they are going to be killed, or elephants and dolphins mourn the death of their members. If we get inside their shoes and see the world through their eyes, we will certainly realize that many animals are as emotionally sensitive as we are, if not more.
I strongly believe that animals do have feelings and have the right to live like any of us. I am also aware that so much cruelty against innocent animals exists in the world and every day, millions of them are tortured or killed in slaughterhouses or in private farms. Yet, we turn a blind eye to the pain they are subjected to, and celebrate big occasions, be it social or official, at the cost of their innocent lives. One thing that makes me feel good is that now I have become a vegetarian and I am very happy about it. My decision to quit meat has nothing to do with my religious faith though. The fact that so many innocent animals are tortured and killed for food every day was the main factor that motivated me to become a vegetarian on 1st November 2011, coinciding with the Clean Bhutan Day. I am not trying to preach vegetarianism here, but I am just sharing my own views and feelings. I am well convinced how painfully each piece of meat served on our plate is extracted and how much psychological and physical torture the animal could have been subjected to during its entire journey from their farms to the slaughterhouses. I value their lives as much as I value mine. I feel the only difference between animals and humanbeings is that they have a tail and we have a brain. That’s why, we are superior to them in the way we think and act, but it does not mean that we have the full authority to exploit them and rob them of their rights to live. At least for now, as a vegetarian, I feel I have the moral right to sympathize with those innocent animals. I am hopeful that I will be able to continue to remain vegetarian for the rest of my life because I have relapsed before and this is my third attempt. God bless all of us, and may we all co-exist in harmony!