Dear Bob the Turtle,
I hope you are well. I’ve been thinking about you a lot since I last saw you splashing around with that sexy Sandy in your new aquarium, happy to still be alive and to have gotten all that plastic out of your system. Wow, you’re both such beautiful creatures! I hope you get to experience the feeling of freedom against your shell again in this lifetime, unlike your friends, the real reason I am writing.
Bob, what have we done?
What have I done? What was I thinking?
Was I thinking?
Bob, I’m so sorry about Felicity the cow, Jessie the rabbit, Kelly the fish, Elmer the chicken, David the pig, Theresa the duck, Chris the goose, Nacho the sheep, Sophia the turkey, Jacob the goat – who like you were all such beautiful and amazing creatures, and whom like you I also had the pleasure of meeting, but unfortunately, my meeting them was actually, eating them.
Unlike you, they didn’t make it, Bob, and it’s my fault. I killed them.
Fuck, I have tears rolling down my cheeks as I write this. I can hardly see the words on the screen, and I can hardly stand just the thought of the screams I can’t hear, those of the 339,881 wild fish, 21,434 chickens, 509 pigs, 13,315 farmed fish, 1,012 ducks, 411 rabbits, 241 geese and 105 cows, who in the 11[i] seconds it took to read to this point, spit their last unheard cry for help before we ripped the life out of them.
Just like we ripped you out of the ocean and put you in a glass cage in a seafood restaurant.* Can you feel it, Bob, your mates, so close to you, being prepped for a meal? Ready for the chopping block? Can you feel it, Bob, the 150 billion of your friends every year, the 411 million every day, who unlike you didn’t get rescued?[ii]
Bob, god. I wonder what they’d all be doing now if they were still alive. Grazing in endless seas of grass, swimming in the endless seas of life, scratching the ground for bugs, nibbling on some branches, leaves, sprouts, fruit, or seeds, rooting for something yummy, poking their bills into a fresh lump of cauliflower or lettuce leaves, nuzzling up to their lovers?
Bob, would they still be playing? Would they still be joyfully flopping about or hopping around or swimming or running or flying or nestling their little ones under their feathers? Squeaking or squealing or mooing or quacking or singing?
Bob, what gave us the right?[iii] Why did we think we were so special that we could farm the life out your friends, and the life out of the planet? I recently learned that a major cause of disease in the world is meat eating[iv], and the number one cause of the greenhouse gasses behind climate change[v] is the whole process of creating, encaging, flaying, and finally swallowing your friends into our selfish and arrogant bellies.
Fuck I was sick Bob, so sick, so a year ago I went for a long journey and on my first stop I learned of our mistake, of the “truly insane state of global consciousness that could allow such an abomination to occur.[vi]
I feel sick, again Bob. Here all we people are talking about our various forms of victimization, and yet, in just 11 seconds, 3,055,555 of your friends are killed, and we eat what’s left of the tragic, short and violent lives into which they had been enslaved. [vii]
Sure, we are all victims of something, Bob, I understand, but how can we expect the abuse to stop, the violence, when we are mass consumers of the most heinous forms violence on a daily, collective and institutionalized basis?
The plastic in your bum, Bob, that’s a symptom. The abuse being perpetrated every day, it’s a symptom. Shit, Bob. Did we really think we could kill like 166,581 pigs or 34,363 cows or 7,014,763 chickens an hour on assembly lines all over the world, inject, plasticize and brutally process their dead bodies, and not be abusive as a collective?
I read that Einstein said, “a human being is a part of the whole, called by us the ‘Universe’, and our task must be to free ourselves from the prison [of separation] by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”[viii]
As hard as this may seem to take in, could the violence in the world, the abuse, sexual and otherwise, the intolerance, the wars, the terrible events in Barcelona, Vegas, New York and so forth be so easily committed were we not as a global community ingesting the spilt blood of innocent victims whose lives and bodies we horrifically abused, to get food on our table, and violent death in our bodies?
That’s a question.
I love you. I really, honestly do. And I’m so sorry brother.
And I do have some good news Bob. There are people who really care and are trying to put this right. I was speaking at a conference in Johannesburg with a room full of these people. They have even made amazing, healthy food from plants that tastes and has textures similar to meat so the people used to eating animals won’t notice so much. Wally their founder once saw the inside of a piggery he had helped build. Instead of checking the buildings, he stole some piglets and started his company vowing to stop being part of this violence. He’s a beautiful guy Bob and they are making a real difference. [ix]
And I got to meet Mikayla from Ashers Farm Sanctuary [x] in Pretoria. I spent the day with her and her family. She rescues farm animals from the food industry. Farm animals really have it tough, it’s like they don’t qualify as animals. People say they love animals but continue to be part of the rape and murder of these harmless creatures. But in truth they are just like you. And just like me.
“If they breathe, they live. If they live, they think. If they think, they feel. Just like you and me” Anthony Douglas Williams
I met all her family; Basil the Goat, Libi the Sheep, Alfie and Willow the pigs, Mr T the Big Bull, Shira and Kiya the cows, Delta, Bravo, Tango & Echo the donkeys known as “The Lads” (apparently Donkey skin has medicinal qualities, I know I know. Why don’t they just eat healthy delicious plants and everyone won’t be so sick). And we also received great news while we were there that Babe the Pig will join them after she leapt from a moving truck en route the abattoir in Kwa Zulu Natal and fortunately a compassionate human (known as a vegan) was driving right behind when this happened.
This is me and the handsome, gentle, loving and super sensitive 95kg Alfie. He loves to be scratched under his belly.And Mr T – he’s 750kg of grass eating gentleness – you should hear the story of how he came to be here. Some brave souls put their lives on the line for this guy.Bob, I am SO sorry it took me so long to make this connection my friend. I am so sad and ashamed. I said sorry to Mr T, Willow, Alfie and friends today. Words don’t seem enough for the abuse, pain, suffering and death I have caused.
Willow even let me sleep with her after all I had done. She helped me make peace and I vowed to support her and her friends from now on.I am unaware and silent no more. Help is on hand my brother. I am with you. And I hope more people will be joining us soon. Love and kindness will prevail! Let’s spread the word!
All my love,
Bodhi (which means awareness in Sanskrit something I lacked for so long as John)
*I am grateful Bob was rescued from death, and his life saved, yet there is some irony in ending up in a seafood restaurant, and something to learn about our duplicity as a species.[i] http://thevegancalculator.com/animal-slaughter/