Most of us don’t think about the fact that we live on a planet where in order for something to live many things have to die. From viruses to plankton, wood to wheat, from whales to humans someone is the prey and someone is the predator.
There are exceptions: bees make honey but don’t harm blossoms in doing so; ewes, cows, nannies (goats), etc. give milk without bloodshed; fish, chickens, turtles and ducks donate eggs, beautiful ovate/round gifts; a myriad of trees and plants generously award us their edible jewels every season!
One of the tenets of Jainism is that all living beings desire life, not death, and thereby no one has the right to take away that life. Jains feel that all beings “render service” to each other; that’s how they circumvent the act of “killing” plants to eat or accidentally crushing insects while walking.
I’m not a Jain nor a member of any religion though I do hold a pantheistic in view. I’ve been a vegetarian almost all my life and even though I have chickens—my “girly girls”—I rarely eat their eggs. My quasi will, my kids will, my friends will. I still appreciate the girls’ magical benefactions.
So rather than blithely devouring a slab of cow, a curl of pig, or—in my case—grains and veggies, let’s revere all beings’ life forces especially if we’re killing them to nurture us. Them being plants, wood, water but especially the animals. Let’s honor their offerings of Self for our nourishment and for their earthly service.
Foremost: allow each animal these three H’s: health, haven, and harmony. Empower them to walk this earth living genuine lives before they come to our mouths.