“When I see bacon, I see a pig, I see a little friend, and that’s why I can’t eat it. Simple as that.” (Paul McCartney)
Courtesy: Alex Hofford
Once a month, the Hong Kong Pig Save Group (https://www.facebook.com/hongkongpigsave/), organized by Miss Samantha Fung, a year three journalism student of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, would stand in silence outside one of the three slaughter houses in Hong Kong holding pro-veganism posters, banners and paintings. They know well that they will not be able to save the pigs on their way to death, yet they intend to draw citizens’ attention to the brutality of meat eating. Actually, Hongkongers are quite like Hong Kong pigs in that the living space of the former is also increasingly narrowed under an oppressive ruling regime.
I have joined the Hong Kong Pig Save’s action twice. Twice did I witness pigs on board of the truck covered with bruises, foaming at the mouth, and groaning and moaning. When I looked into the eyes of the pigs, I could see them pitifully asking for help. Some other members were so touched that they wept, and my eyes also got wet.
On April 30, a loving young man of the Group offered water to the thirsty pigs on board of the truck, but was rudely stopped by the driver, “What the hell are you giving the swine to drink?” “Just distilled water,” replied the young man. ” x%＊@＆ξ※△, how can I tell if it is poisoned or not?!”
This scene reminds one of Anita Krajnc, who offered water to pigs on board of a truck one summer day two years ago. The truck driver asked her the same question, to which Krajnc replied, “Jesus said: If they are thirsty, give them water”. “F—k you, they are not humans!” said the driver and police was called to have Krajnc arrested. Subsequently, Krajnc was charged with criminal mischief, for which she could have been sent to jail. At the beginning of this month, the presiding judge ruled that compassion was not a crime, and Krajnc was acquitted.
Back to Hong Kong. When a pig truck arrives at the slaughter house, the staff would use electric rods to drive the pigs inside. Each one of them carries a number burnt to its skin. The massacre usually takes place at midnight. Many of the pigs are fully conscious when being butchered alive. The slaughter is literally hell, much worse than a Nazi concentration camp.
On March 26, there were thirty of us, who gathered next to the entrance to Tsuen Wan West Slaughter House, holding posters in silence. We did not shout any slogans, nor did we obstruct pig trucks going in and out. But the slaughter house reported to the police. A large group of police officers, in plain clothes as well in uniform, surrounded and questioned us. They claimed that an assembly of three or more persons conducting themselves in a disorderly, or provocative manner likely to cause a person reasonably to fear that the persons so assembled will conduct a breach of the peace could be found guilty of “unlawful assembly”, but added that they were not going to arrest us this time.
On April 30, Alex Hofford, EPA reporter（http://www.news4europe.eu/6351_business/4505294_animal-rights-group-holds-vigil-for-pigs-being-brought-to-slaughter.html）, went to Tsuen Wan West Slaughter House with a view to reporting on the action of the Hong Kong Pig Save Group. Then, in order to observe the situation of the pigs after entering the house, Alex and Samantha went into the yard of the house, bravely climbed over a lot of wooden planks and other odds and ends, and went up an iron staircase.
Samantha Fung, as an illustrator, often says, “If not speaking for suffering animals, my paintings would have no meaning.” Many of Samantha’s paintings and drawings have deeply impressed me. For example, there is a drawing depicting an elegant hand gently covering one of the eyes of a pig, with the handwritten words, “She died for you 1 month ago, for nothing.” In another painting, the images of a diary cow and a bare-breast beautiful woman overlap each other, symbolizing the connection between oppression of diary cattle and sexism.
How did Samantha become a hero fighting for animal rights? It turns out that born with a kind heart, she has always loved nature. More than one year ago, when a friend of hers persuaded her to go vegan for the sake of love for sentient beings, she immediately agreed. Soon afterwards, she came across the documentary, Earthlings. Seeing countless creatures atrociously skinned and butchered by human beings, she made up her mind to depict the sufferings of animals with her lively pen and wake up people’s conscience.
As for myself, I have been a vegan for around twenty years for four reasons as follows:
1. Compassion for animals. Top moral philosopher, Professor Peter Singer, stresses that human beings eating meat makes animals suffer and is therefore a kind of speciesism. The question is not whether animals are able to think and talk, but whether they are able to feel pain. It is immoral to cause unspeakable sufferings to animals for one’s taste bud, just as men are not supposed to deprive women of their well-being simply because women are in general physically weaker than men (cf. Chapman Chen, 2015, https://www.localpresshk.com/2015/04/%E9%A0%82%E7%B4%9A%E5%80%AB%E7%90%86%E5%AD%B8%E5%AE%B6peter-singer%E8%AB%96%E9%A3%9F%E7%B4%A0/)
Pigs, cows, sheep, chickens, ducks, fish, lobsters, crabs, all can be friends with humans, provided that humans do not torture or kill them. Pigs are even more intelligent than beings and they love to be clean. If given a free choice, they will definitely stay away from excretions and excrements. The reason why they usually look dirty and smell terrible is because of unhygienic conditions in poultry farms.
2. Environmental protection. The amount of carbon dioxide produced by animal husbandry is more than that produced by transportations in the whole world, giving rise to escalating global warming (see UN FAO report, 2012). Moreover, most drinking water and grain of the world is not for human consumption but for livestock consumption. But 13 pounds of grain can only make 1 pound of edible meat. So meat-eating indirectly causes tens of millions of fatal starvations globally every year.
3. Health. A number of scientific studies prove that vegetarians in general enjoy better health and a longer life. Their chance of catching various diseases is much lower than that of meat-eaters. For example, a research undertaken by scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2540540), who monitored health and diet records of more than 130,000 people over the course of thirty years, found every three per cent increase in calories from plant protein to reduce risk of death by 10 per cent. The figure rises to 12 per cent for risk of dying from heart disease.
Also, a meta-analysis published online in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, examined 96 articles and compared vegetarian and vegan diets to omnivorous diets. It was found that those following vegetarian and vegan diets had lower weights, total and LDL-cholesterol levels, and glucose levels, compared with those following omnivorous diets. In addition, the vegetarian and vegan groups had lower mortality rates from heart disease and cancer, compared with the omnivorous diet groups (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/293329136_Vegetarian_vegan_diets_and_multiple_health_outcomes_A_systematic_review_with_meta-analysis_of_observational_studies).
So much the more, in order to boost production, modern animal husbandry extensively feeds livestock with various kinds of poisonous chemicals, such as antibiotics, hormones, Clenbuterol, such that the resulting meat is highly detrimental to human health. Mainland China poultry is particularly dangerous.
In addition, the Centre for Food Safety of the Hong Kong Government only collects vegetable samples but not meat samples for testing of pesticide residues. Whereas I think it is absolutely necessary to test meat samples, because pigs, cows, sheep, chickens, etc. have taken a lifetime’s veggie food containing pesticides before being killed for human consumption. The amount of pesticides contained in their bodies must be much higher than that in vegetables!
4. Spirituality. Veganism heightens one’s spirituality. Many scriptures and canons of Taoism, Buddhism, and Christianity urge people to follow a vegetarian diet in place of a meat diet.
Ultra Supreme Emptiness Emperor the Heavenly Lord’s Scripture of Forty-nine Chapters ( Orthodox Taoist Canon 0018 ) says:
The Heavenly Lord said:
In a meat eater’s body, the three palaces are turbid, and the six viscera are defiled, the dark souls (PUG) of the dead bodies (that he ate) are exciting and thriving, and are always willing to guide him to the place of death.
Therefore, you should cut off the root of desires, enter into the pure and tranquil state, do not put any living being into suffering, do not commit anything evil, do not produce any delusions, and do not arouse any evil from your heart.
Ultra Supreme Elder Lord’s Scripture of Precepts ( Orthodox Taoist Canon 0809 ) says:
All living beings, including all kinds of animals, and those as small as insects, worms, and so forth, are containers of the uncreated energy, thus one should not kill any of them.
Emptiness Emperor the Heavenly Lord’s Ten Precept Tractate for the Junior Cultivators ( Orthodox Taoist Canon 0179 ) says:
The third precept: Do not kill any animal for food, instead, we should be benevolent and beneficial to all, including insects and worms.
“All beings tremble before danger, all fear death. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill. All beings fear before danger, life is dear to all. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill.” (Dhammapada, 129-130)
“He should not kill a living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should he incite another to kill. Do not injure any being, either strong or weak, in the world.” (Dhammika Sutta: Dhammika)
“Those who renounce the flavor of meat can taste the flavors of the true Dharmas, truthfully practice the Bhumi(stage)s of Bodhisattva, and attain Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi quickly. They can then make all living beings enter the resting-place of Sravaka (voice-hearer) and pratyeka-buddha (self-enlightened one), and after that make them enter the stage of Tathagata.” (Lankavatara Sutra)
“Mahamati, I see that living beings are in the transmigration of the six paths, being together in births and deaths, they give birth to and foster each others, and cyclically become fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters of each others; They may be men or women, may be the direct line of descent, may be cousins, affinities, uncles, aunts, sons, daughters, grandsons, and other various relatives of each others; They may also be born in other paths (of animal, ghost, god, and so on), whether virtuous or evil, they frequently become the relatives of each others. Because of these relationships, I see that all meats eaten by living beings are of their own relatives. Due to the greed for flavors of meats, the living beings circularly eat each others, then they always have the thoughts of hurting each others. Their painful karmas are always increasing, so they are wandering in cycles of births and deaths and unable to escape.” (Lankavatara Sutra)
The Bible clearly says “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). The exact Hebrew is lo tirtzach, which accurately translates: “Thou shalt not kill.” One of the greatest scholars of Hebrew/English linguistics (in the Twentieth Century)–Dr. Reuben Alcalay—has written in his mammoth book The Complete Hebrew/English Dictionary that “tirtzach” refers to “any kind of killing whatsoever.” The word “lo,” means “thou shalt not”. DON’T KILL! The Bible is clear on this point.
In Genesis (1:29), it is stated by God, “Behold! I have given you every herb-bearing tree, with the fruit of the tree and the tree yielding seed, to you it shall be for meat.” Also in Genesis (9:4) it is stated “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” Further, it is stated in Romans (14:20-21, 23), “Do not destroy God’s creatures for the sake of food. It is not good to either eat meat or drink wine or do anything else to offendeth God’s creatures or make them weak or cause them to stumble. And he that eatith is damned because he eatith not in the faith of God, but verily he eatith only sin.”
More references in the Holy Bible to abstaining from meat are found in Leviticus 3:17, where it is stated “It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.” Also found in Leviticus (7:23), “. . . Ye shall eat no manner of fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat” and “Therefore I said unto the children of Israel–No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood” (17:12). Acts (15:28-29), also refers to avoiding flesh: “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay you no greater burden than these necessary things, that ye abstain from meat offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled and from fornication: from which if you keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.”
Before Jesus Christ appeared in this world, the Prophet Isaiah said, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel (Jesus’ birth name). Butter and honey [no meat mentioned] shall he eat so that man may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.” The Prophet Isaiah also stated (Isaiah 66:3), “He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck.”
Meat-eating is all harm and no good. It compromises health, causes damages to the ecosystem, does harm to animals, and undermines spirituality. Any well-informed, reasonable person will make the right decision.
No doubt, Hong Kong pigs deserve to be saved, but Hongkongers are also caught in a critical situation. Communist China’s re-colonization of Hong Kong is escalating. For example, poisonous vegetables, meat, water and air keep attacking Hong Kong (for instance, in 2014, the Health Department of Hong Kong, in order to defer to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China, lifted the ban on three kinds of highly poisonous pesticides contained in vegetables imported from China), as if China wants to commit ethnic cleansing against Hongkongers. China also continuously floods Hong Kong with poor-quality immigrants in order to change the blood of Hong Kong. Moreover, China manipulates Hong Kong’s finance, property and stock markets, mass media, and infrastructure, so much so that Hong Kong civic freedom is severely narrowed and the poor can hardly find a shelter. Last but not the least, the Chinese Communist Party interferes with elections in Hong Kong and makes use of evil and outdated clauses of the Public Order Ordinance to persecute dissidents.
Therefore, on the one hand, we Hongkongers have to love and protect animals so that God will shower us with blessings and grace; on the other hand, we have to wake up and save themselves. We had better realize “Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong; Local first”, lest that we should become Hong Kong pigs subjected to slaughter. (This conclusion is the writer’s personal view, which bears no relation to Hong Kong Pig Save or Miss Samantha Fung.)