March 8: Called to Imitate the Good Shepherd

sheeporchard

 

We become what we eat. And we are called to imitate the Good Shepherd. With this in mind, I would like to appeal to you, dear reader, to spare a thought for how your meat, poultry, milk, cheese, butter, eggs, catfood, leather and so forth are produced. Unless you know otherwise, you can be sure they’re intensively farmed, which means produced in an apparatus ordered towards economies of scale and the maximisation of financial profit in which the creatures themselves are regarded as mere numbers. Welfare regulations notwithstanding, cruelty is endemic in such systems from the beginning of life to its end (see, e.g., www.ciwf.org.uk; http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/CAMPAIGNS/slaughter/ALL) . The sentient creatures upon whom we depend so heavily are reduced to mere commodities for our convenience and the gratification of our appetites irrespective of the good. This attitude owes much to the adoption by the early Church of the anthropocentric utilitarianism of the Stoics but sits uneasily with our vocation to stewardship of the Earth and with the unity of all Creation. Life is a seamless garment, the gift of God who is One and whose face is Mercy, yet we presume to divide it and choose which parts we respect. So please, wherever possible, buy organic/free range. Doing so witnesses to our faith in the only terms the market understands. Organic/free range is not perfect, but it’s way better than the other alternatives. Besides, while it might be more expensive financially, since we become what we eat it’s less expensive spiritually.

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Filed under Daily Reflections, Laudato si'

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