Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Good Shepherd

This past Sunday was the Catholic celebration of "Jesus, the Good Shepherd."  It's interesting that so many of the heroes of the bible were shepherds and how often the consumption of lamb or sacrificed beef is mentioned with respect to God.  Indeed, Abraham was asked to sacrifice his own son as though Isaac were a ram. 

We humans have been given reign over the earth just as God has dominion and responsibility for the universe.  Since we are made in the image of God, we have a special power over and sensitivity to our world.  While Dr. McDougall asserts that human teeth are those of a herbivore and Dr. Esselstyn strongly asserts that meat and dairy consumption are the source of heart disease, it seems clear in scripture that animal husbandry and meat consumption were indeed part of our ancient diet. 

How then do we reconcile that to killing other creatures, using the milk that was meant for their young, and the cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis that results from consuming animal protein? 

The answer?

If we keep animals with care as Jesus is the Good Shepherd.  If we are good shepherds too and look after the needs of the animals and care for their needs, we will be unable to eat them in the quantities that we currently do.  Indeed, Americans consume 1 million chickens per hour!  If we kept chickens in ranges instead of pens, fed them grain and veggies instead of ground up chickens and animal byproducts, made sure they were dead before processing their carcasses, and let them grow in the sunshine, they would be expensive.   Indeed, the reason we associate poultry with special occasions and holidays is because it has traditionally been a very expensive meat to produce.  It should be expensive!  It should be eaten rarely.  Chicken can only be cheap if we factory farm! 

The answer is to eat according to the natural process of growing and harvesting healthy food.  If we need to keep animals so close together that microbes are a significant problem and we need to pump the animals full of antibiotics, then we need to not have them be so close together.  The answer is responsible and humane farming, NOT antibiotics. 

As it turns out, Isaac wasn't sacrificed by his father, Jesus was sacrificed by His.  Is this a call to veganism?  For many monks and lay faithful it is.  For others it is a call to action, awareness, and seeking out humane alternatives to supermarket meat and dairy.  Either way, if we eat like Jesus did, we must eat fewer animal products. 

BTW, My blood pressure is 118/80!  Lowest since I was in High School! 

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