Burgers — hamburgers, fish burgers, turkey burgers, buffalo burgers and burgers of all kinds are a staple of the omnivorous diet. People eat untold numbers of burgers every day in countries around the world. Yet, is there any thought given to the consumption of burgers, those derived from the death, actually murder, of living beings? Since untold numbers of burgers are eaten every day in this world, how many animals, fish and fowl have to be slaughtered to satisfy the appetites of those who crave burgers?
And what about love in relation to burgers? Is there ever any thought given by burger eaters to the murder of the animals they consume? Frankly, it is impossible to talk of love, let alone be loving, and then have a hamburger, fish burger, turkey burger or any kind of flesh-begotten meat.
Tukaram, the Saint of Maharashtra, lived in the 17th Century. He queries, The Lord dwells within every being. Does man not know that He resides in animals too?
Tukaram’s question is a valid one, especially for people who align themselves with spiritual values, values intrinsically rooted in love and compassion. God is life. Human beings are not the only beings to whom God gives life or love. This begs the question, “If we love, how can we kill?”
George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright and Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature 1925, beautifully states:
Animals are my friends…and I don’t eat my friends. This statement is fully expressed in his poem, “We Are the Living Graves of Murdered Beasts.”
We are the living graves of murdered beasts
Slaughtered to satisfy our appetites.
We never pause to wonder at our feasts
If animals, like men, can possibly have rights.
We pray on Sundays that we may have light
To guide our footsteps on the path we tread.
We’re sick of war. We do not want to fight.
The thought of it now fills our hearts with dread,
And yet we gorge ourselves upon the dead.
Like carrion crows we live and feed on meat
Regardless of the suffering and pain
We cause by doing so. If thus we treat
Defenseless animals for sport or gain
How can we hope in this world to attain
the peace we say we are so anxious for.
We pray for it o’er hecatombs of slain
To God, while outraging the moral law.
Thus cruelty begets its offspring, war.
Grim thought isn’t it, this observation from Shaw? Killing and eating our friends? Not a pretty thought, let alone a pleasing sight or commendable behavior. We pray for peace but engage in the slaughter of helpless creatures just for the sake of consuming their rotting, decaying carcass. In doing so, we guarantee, through the law of sowing and reaping, cause and effect, karma, that we will experience the cruelty of war, a just recompense for our own cruelty.
Twentieth Century Saint, Charan Singh, asks, Where is the need of killing birds, fish and animals and making our body a graveyard? The human body, in which the Lord resides and which is the only specie in which He can be realized, should be kept as pure and clean as possible… Animals, birds and so forth have not been created as food for human beings… Plants have souls, insects have souls, birds have souls, the animals have souls and, of course, human beings have souls.
Charan Singh’s comment eradicates the delusional belief that animals, birds, fish and other creatures have no souls and therefore are acceptable to eat. Thus, we cannot use the excuse that other living beings are devoid of a soul simply to justify our murdering and eating them.
Are love and burgers compatible? This article states, “Absolutely not!” If we are loving individuals, if we profess to love and follow a spiritual path, it is axiomatic that we simply cannot talk of love or be loving and then go have a hamburger, fish burger, turkey burger or whatever. Regardless of how one tries to disguise it, there is no love in murder or in eating the slaughtered remains of living creatures. We can try to justify our actions until we’re blue in the face and on our death bed, but the plain and simple reality is that love does not, nor ever will have, anything to do with eating the flesh of living beings.