I must have been 7 or 8 years old when I first saw how a pig is killed. It was a bright late morning and the sun was already high up in the horizon. Since I was able to see at that time, I still have the visual memories of the incident. It was our neighbor’s pig and many villagers had gathered at his house as they prepared to slaughter the pig. Many people looked excited to have their share of pork even as the pig was having his last meal which is usually given just before being killed. I was standing not far from where a man armed with a sharp spear was trying to aim right at the heart of the poor creature. Then as the pig was busy munching his food, he shot his spear right through the ribs of the pig and the poor creature collapsed to the ground with long painful shrills and squeals. In the matter of few seconds, the pig was dead and some of the men made fire to burn the pig to remove its hairs. But as they threw the pig into the fire and the smell of burning hairs began to rise up in the air, the pig suddenly woke up and ran into the nearby thickets. The men then ran after the half-burned pig throwing stones and anything they could find on the way. The pig disappeared into the thickets and everybody was worried. But the poor pig was not lucky. The men soon found it trembling in the bush and they finally killed it successfully. This memory still tends to haunt me whenever I think of that incident.
Then sometime in 2014, some men in my wife’s village had bought a buffalo to be slaughtered for the Dashain celebration. Since nobody in the village rears buffaloes, they had to get it from quite a faraway village. On the day of the slaughter, the buffalo was tied to a tree with a short rope to force its head down so that the butcher could strike its neck with his axe. The eyes of the animals were then covered with some branches of trees as its final count-down began. A middle-aged man was ready with his axe to carry out his assignment. But since he was slightly drunk, he missed his shot by an inch when he struck at the animal and cut off the rope instead. The terrified and traumatized animal jumped up and fled for his life. The injured buffalo ran wildly into the forests and disappeared. The men tried to look for the animal by following the blood drops on the way but it could not be found. It was later spotted in the middle of the jungle but as the men tried to get closer, it would hide behind the trees or run away. After several days of futile chase, they had to completely give up their hope and sacrifice the money they had invested in purchasing the animal. A few months later, it was learned that the buffalo had got back to its own owner and would not leave its herd.
To me, such incidents bear testimony to the fact that even animals do have emotions despite their inability to communicate and think rationally. I believe that if they are not emotionally sensitive, they would not flee for their life when they sense a threat or danger. Life is equally precious for everybody in this world and no matter in what realm we are born, we all have the right to live. I think nobody is born as food. I am at least no longer guilty because I am a vegetarian now. Thanks to all the Lamas, advocates of animal rights and friends for making me more humane and sensitive today. May God continue to bless me with more wisdom so that I can survive without meat for the rest of my life. However, I am not trying to impose this philosophy on anybody. Even my own family-members have the freedom to eat meat whenever they like, but my two sons have already become vegetarians saying they don’t like the taste of meat. So we are trying to supplement their diet with dairy products and more varieties of vegetables.