In this thread, Chris has posted an interesting article about vegetarianism. Rather than muddy that good thread with potentially off-topic posts, I'd like to drill down a bit farther into the issue of what kind of responsibility we bear as consumers when we purchase the meat of animals who have been industrially raised in CAFOs and slaughtered for mass consumption.
The discussion in that thread establishes very effectively (in my opinion) that: A person's knowledge that buying meat will be a contributory factor to more animals being killed, or his ignorance of this, will not alter the fact that his purchase of meat does not amount to the akusala kamma of having someone kill animals.
(Thank you Ven. Dhammanando. )
Since that thread was tightly focused, the discussion did not go much into the issue of what other sort of akusala kamma might be associated with the purchase of meat.
I made this comment in that thread comparing two hypothetical situations:
Afterward, I began to feel concerned that this comment itself might be regarded as "praise" for killing, and thus would consistute the akusala kamma of actually killing the organic chickens. While it seems reasonable to me that an argument might be made that [a] is more kusala than [b], I'm not sure I would buy into such an argument.Jechbi wrote:a] you go to an organic chicken farm and select your live chicken to be butchered.
b] you go to the neighborhood retail grocery store and purchase a pre-killed, CAFO-bred chicken from a grocery employee who earns minimum wage.
Frankly, for the householder, I believe an argument could be made that [a] is more kusula than [b] if choosing between these two hypothetical scenarios, all other things being equal.
It does seem that when we buy meat, we participate in killing on some level. The article that Chris posted included this example:
Which means that there are pious Buddhists creating a market for slaughtered eggs (if you buy the notion that the eggs are living beings). Who else would buy the cracked eggs besides pious Buddhists (or other pious vegetarians)? The buyers are themselves creating a market that demands killing. If the buyers stopped buying, the number of beings slaughtered would diminish.Nevertheless, eggs are always regarded as having been fertilized, so to boil or crack an egg is seen as killing a living being. ... This means that, in Sri Lanka at least ... pre-cracked "Buddhist eggs' are sold to the middle-class pious Buddhists.
I realize these issues probably have been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere, but I'm curious now to see a focused discussion regarding the akusala kamma (if any) associated with the mere practice of buying meat.
(Full disclosure: I am not a vegetarian. I purchase meat in the grocery store for myself and my family.)