Sunday came, and I had to decide between supporting a friend who is trying to establish a Sunday chess meet at Ridgewood, NJ or supporting an ideal that I passionately believe in---a meatless society and a lifestyle that can be loosely summed up as vegetarianism. I love chess, and it has been the only game in my life. I just love the concentration and problem-solving aspect of the game. But, it is only a board game and a selfish game at that. Winning in chess makes ME, and only ME, happy. My opponent, he's devastated. The others, they don't give a hoot. So, the choice was not as difficult as it seemed. There is no higher ideal in my life than animal welfare.
Yesterday was the second annual Veggie Pride Parade, and approximately 800 people participated. We met at the meat packing district on West 14th street, and marched through Greenwich Village, ending at Union Square. It was heart-warming to see all these people come out for animal welfare which vegetarianism is mostly about. Good health, yes, but vegetarianism is a rejection of animal cruelty most specifically in factory farming. We used to think of a farm as a happy place where good family values are practiced. I guess there still are some small farms where the chickens are free-ranging and so with the cows, but meat and dairy products are the problem. Factory farming, without doubt, is a hideously cruel enterprise where battery cages, veal crates, gestation cages, regular beatings and the humiliation of condemned animals are a daily routine. As has been said many times, if slaughterhouses had windows, we would all be vegetarians.
I can't look at a meat dish and not see it as the remains of a sentient being, one who also wanted to live, one who had a family, one who most likely went through a most terrifying slaughter. To turn these sentient beings into hamburgers, steaks, chops, and stews is just outright murder in my book. Where is our shame? Where is our conscience? Even today, with vegetarianism on the rise, animals can survive easily without humans but most humans can not survive without animals. Humankind needs to shift its dependency on meat to grain. If we were, indeed, gifted to possess a higher intellect, then we have grossly misused it by creating so much cruelty on animals, trashing our planet with our plastics and our noxious transportation systems, and by being the only species on Earth who can plot the murder of another.
Please, give vegetarianism a chance in your life and you would be giving our planet , the animals, and yourself a chance at a better life. Here are some of the photographs I took from yesterday : Veggie Pride 09 Photos