"The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God."
- St. John of Damascus
I was so excited to hear of the launching of the Humane Myth website the other day. Its goal is to dispell the humane myth, which they define as "an idea being propagated by the animal-using industry and some animal protection organizations that it is possible to use and kill animals in a manner that can be fairly described as respectful or compassionate or humane."
I seem to encounter an increasing number of people who feel that purchasing animal products which were derived from animals raised in "free-range," "organic," or "cageless" conditions is somehow better or more humane. In reality, the conditions underlying such labels are often just as poor as in a regular factory farm. Besides that, all roads lead to the slaughterhouse. And I would be surprised to find anyone who could see beauty and kindness behind its walls.
If, as St. John of Damascus stated, "The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God," how should we live? How should we treat the gift of life which God has entrusted in our care? Do we exercise the dominion He intended when we treat animals as a mere commodity and hide their suffering behind closed doors? Would we make different choices if we were the ones who had to do the killing? I believe it was Tolstoy who once said, "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we would all be vegetarian." I couldn't agree with him more.