We are judged by how we treat our animals


POSTED: Monday, September 21, 2009

I was absolutely delighted to see your excellent coverage of Mala 'Ai Opio organic farms, also known as MA'O Farm (”;Farm nurtures social awareness,”; Star-Bulletin, Sept. 16).

MA'O not only provides high quality organic vegetables for our community, the owners are socially and environmentally progressive, including providing outstanding progressive educational opportunities to students. In fact, MA'O is being honored by the socially progressive, grassroots fundraising organization Hawaii People's Fund in November at its annual dinner (hawaiipeoplesfund.org).

But then, with considerable horror, I read what MA'O was serving at its celebration of the acquisition of 11 new acres of land: meat, meat and more meat, including a whole pig!

The disconnect I experienced between these heroes of organic farming and their approval of slaughter of innocent animals for their celebration was so great I felt absolutely stunned; it was truly revolting.

How can an organic farm not celebrate using creative cooking of its own vegetables by some of our talented vegetarian chefs in the community?

How can the slaughter of innocent animals, especially highly intelligent, social pigs, be seen as anything but a repudiation of the very values of MA'O?

I was so disgusted by this hypocrisy that I turned the page quickly and what did I find: An article on the use of a living national monument, the American bison, for food.

This article never even realized the contradiction between the nobility of these creatures as symbolic of the pre-occupation era and their slaughter — almost to extinction — by insensitive humans.

I am so hurt and ashamed that we humans are so slow to realize how important it is for us to treasure and care for our cousins in the animal kingdom.

When we will understand the critical importance of the words of Mohandas Gandhi: “;The greatness of a nation and its moral progression can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”;


Dr. Joel Fischer is a professor at the University of Hawaii's School of Social Work.