The Peaceful Vegan Revolution
By Charles Walker

 

CHAPTER FOUR

 

RIDDING THE WORLD OF STARVATION  

ENSURING A GLOBAL ABUNDANCE OF FOOD FOR ALL


 

Currently the average American consumes up to 1000 times as much of the world's resources as someone leading a traditional tribal life, with ongoing tragic results. Millions of tons of African grain is being shipped to Europe and America to supply cattle feed lots rather than feed the people of Africa.

 

There is more than enough food on earth to feed everyone. Not only that, there is many times more than enough. In fact, every person on earth could stuff themselves silly three or four times a day and there would still be mountains of food left over.

 

So why is a single one of our cousins in the so-called third world starving to death? It seems like madness, and of course it is. Over 40,000 children die of hunger and related diseases every day. And no one even bothers to report how many adults die in the same way. But of course, starving children with extended bellies and flies all over their pitiful faces is a lot more ‘sexy’ than a picture of some shrivelled up old man or woman nobody wants anyway.

 

The aid agencies are after your money, and they don’t care which heart- strings they have to pull to get it. I hope I am mistaken, but I have never read a report to feed the hungry, which included a plea to overfed westerners to become Vegetarians, as well as sending money to Africa . Not many people know that at the height of the Ethiopian Famines the government of that country was exporting enormous amounts of food in the form of grain, which the Ethiopian government were forcing its farmers to sell to them cheaply, so that the food could then be sold abroad to raise money to support the government and help it arm itself to maintain control over its own people.

 

The people who starved were those who had been forced off the best land or who were left with land made useless by drought and desertification.

 

And where did all the food go, which should have been shared out to save their lives? Answer: It was shipped to North America and Europe as cheap feed for the millions of domestic farm animals in the West, which make up the Beef, Dairy, Lamb, Chicken, and Egg industries. 80% of the world’s grain is fed to farm animals to produce animal protein which humans positively don’t need, and which is in fact killing them in huge numbers, through heart disease and cancer, most notably Breast Cancer and Colon Cancer

 

30% of the entire land surface of the Earth is used to produce food for Livestock and we still report famine as if it were an Act of God!

 

The African Famines have now been going on regularly for at least 30 years, and are becoming worse and worse even as the aid agencies have collected billions of Dollars in an attempt to prevent them. It is about time they were honest enough to tell the world the truth, however unpleasant it may be, which is that the West is totally responsible for the terrible Famines we now see, and that many African governments are just pawns in our global market place.

 

The artificial lines on the map of Africa were also put there by European colonists, who carved up the country in order to exploit its resources, not least Gold, Diamonds, and exotic timber. If Africa were politically united under one government there would be no starvation, because people would be able to move freely from one part of the country to another as a crisis happens. This is the case in America, and had it not been so in the great depression, millions of inhabitants of Oklahoma would have died of hunger after the cattle farmers turned that state into a dustbowl.

 

So why do we not have a United States of Africa?. Probably because it goes against the commercial interests of a whole army of businessmen in America and Europe.

 

Businessmen they drink my wine

Ploughmen dig my earth

None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.

But you and I we’ve been through that

And this is not our fate

So let us not talk falsely now

The hour is getting late.
 

Bob Dylan (Who is a Vegetarian)

 

Perhaps we should not be quite as complacent as Bob though because the African fate could very easily become our fate. The sad thing about the whole story, is that Africa is intrinsically one of the richest places on earth, and could easily be reinstated as the Garden of Eden.

 

I would like to make it clear that I am not against giving money to charity to feed starving people. I do it myself. Obviously we have to feed people now, instead of waiting until the world is a fairer place. But if we truly care about our starving neighbours, we have to look carefully at whether we are actually causing their problems, or at least adding to them by eating meat and drinking milk.

 

And we most certainly are. In fact the rich western countries are directly responsible for all the starvation happening in the world today, and that means you and me, and our elected representatives, if we are lucky enough to come from one of the highly privileged ‘developed’ countries. Not only are we causing it, but we are deliberately standing by and allowing it to happen by condoning inaction by the Vested interests of the World Agriculture and Financial markets. But there are notable exceptions, which are thankfully becoming more common. Johanna Vesty, a member of one of the worlds largest beef producing families, which owns enormous areas of land in Australia, became a pure Vegetarian, and even posed naked in influential magazines to show how beautiful and healthy an animal –free diet can make you. John Robbins, heir to the multi-million dollar Ice Cream chain, Baskin Robbins, walked away from the family fortune, when he realized how cruel the Dairy Industry was, and wrote three wonderful enlightening books entitled Diet for a New America, Diet for a New World, and The Food Revolution. The charity Earthsave was founded by him and has educated countless people to change their eating habits for the sake of the Earth.

 

Perhaps the most famous rebel of them all was Gautama the Buddha. Brought up a Prince in ultimate luxury and wealth, and surrounded by beautiful women to satisfy his every whim, he did not even know that poverty, old age, disease, and death existed. Then one day something deep inside him realized that all was not real about his cosy little Paradise and he decided to explore beyond the Palace walls.

 

What he found out there shocked him to such an extent, that he vowed there and then to give up his selfish lifestyle and dedicate himself to helping others. It is said that Buddha is still waiting outside the Gates of Heaven, and refuses to pass through as long as a single being is still suffering on earth, human or animal. We must also look outside of the walls of our Palace and make the decision not only to share our wealth with our poorer neighbours, but also to stop stealing their wealth as well.

 

The First Principal of Buddhism is to cause no suffering to any sentient being, meaning any creature with eyes and a beating heart, as well as a highly developed nervous system, which feels pain just as humans do, and in some cases even more keenly. It is therefore ironic that, although Buddhism has become fashionable these days, it is not easy to find a Buddhist who’s compassion extends as far as the animal kingdom, let alone the Dairy industry. So their compassion is very selective, and really just enough to make them eligible to join a spiritual group and pretend they are following Buddha’s teaching.

 

Even the Dalai Lama, who states “My religion is Kindness” did not become a Vegetarian until it was pointed out to him that he did not live in Tibet any more and could therefore not explain away his eating dead animals by saying it is too difficult to grow vegetables in Tibet. That is like an Englishman continuing to wear a fur coat on holiday in Australia . The Dalai Lama subsequently lapsed back into flesh eating, and now says that his body was suffering because he could not adjust to a new diet. Not the actions of an enlightened being, but nevertheless a beautiful and sincere person. So if a world leader who claims to represent Buddha, cannot even support the principal peacemaking practice of his masters teaching, what chance is there of the bulk of humanity caring enough to change their habits?

 

The shock we need to have to wake us up and force us to change our ways is the realization that we may all be dead within the foreseeable future if we carry on as ‘normal’. We need to understand that our way of life is unsustainable. We have done enormous damage to the atmosphere around and upon the earth, which has triggered forms of malignant cancer of the Earth itself, in the form of Ozone depletion and desertification.

 

My honest belief is that humanity is not so stupid as to commit Global suicide just out of bloody mindedness, and within the next ten years we will see enormous efforts to repair and reverse the damage. Even the jolly Butcher with his bloodstained apron in his classic high street shop, with dead bodies hanging in the window, will surprise us all and become a vegetarian, and hopefully we will laugh about the bad old days down the pub over a Vegieburger washed down with real ale or a glass of organic, preservative – free wine. Judging by the phenomenal increase in the amount of vegetarians and neovegetarians in the last thirty years, which is speeding up every year, we will just about make it.

 

It is certainly encouraging that the amount of people changing to a vegetarian and vegan diet in the last thirty years has never once shown signs of slowing down,and there are now 12 million Vegetarians in England eas well as half a million Vegans. This must make Food Reform the most revolutionary movement in history. Political parties come and go, but the real changes in society come from the grass roots and eventually change the whole status quo. The revolutionaries are now voting with their mouths rather than fighting with guns.

 

It is truly ironic that the greatest battle ever fought, with the survival of humankind itself at stake, will be won with the weapons of Love and Compassion.

 

 

A kangaroo boxes a cow to reclaim his land.

In the near distance an Aboriginal Elder tells her grandson about their land’s songlines

and to her right the child’s father looks on; a generation lost to the sorrows of their people.

©1997 - Samantha Wortelhock - BreakAway Art