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Nearly everything in life is an opportunity to learn. Often enough, the lessons we learn aren’t always the ones people were wanting us to learn. For example, Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle in an attempt to spark a communist revolt over how workers were treated in the slaughter house industry.

Instead, what he indeed up doing was reforming the Slaughter House industry to run a cleaner, healthier way. I think it also is what led to the formation of the FDA. Hardly the lesson the author intended.

I think much the same has happened for me, and maybe others, when it comes to this debate about animal sacrifice. Those protesting it are arguing that it is inhumane, cruel, and backwards, often getting very moralistic and even vicious in their attempts to teach those who do believe or practice animal sacrifice that they are doing the wrong thing.

Instead, even in just a few articles and a few related stories, what I have learned is that many in the anti-sacrifice camp are a bit hypocritical, a lot morally high-horsed, and rather dogmatic and irrational. According to others, they have become rather classist and racist, but to that I do not know. To them, there is not valid argument for why people should kill animals in private rituals, and that the act of sanctifying the death of the animal is meaningless.

For the latter, I wonder how a group of people who hold to a religious path that teaches everything is sacred, can say that acknowledging the sacred doesn’t matter, when the foundation of nearly all Pagan and Heathen paths is the acknowledgment of the sacred. These same critics apparently are more willing to attack small groups doing their own killing than take on massive industrial complexes that show no compassion in their slaughter of thousands of animals. I guess it’s easier to feel like you’re doing something if you just attack small groups and look like you can win.

Of course, the irony amongst all this is that scientists have started to discover that plants can feel “pain” and “suffering.” So even those who claim that they aren’t being hypocrites about animal killing by being Vegan are, in fact, responsible for even more deaths and suffering than those who kill and eat an animal. After all, to equal one steaks worth of protein, how many beans and other higher protein vegetables to you have to eat? I’m certain you just killed more than one plant in order to get that amount of protein.

There are out there a number of ethical arguments for killing. Beyond the metaphysical aspects I explained in yesterday’s post, there exists the physical and ethical reasons why we kill animals. Survival, need, to keep people alive. When say one boar can feed a village for a week, or a family for months, but one field can only do a fraction of that, it is a more efficient uses of a family or village’s resources to hunt in addition to farming, than mere farming alone. Chances of starvation are much lower by killing and eating animals, preserving human life.

We live in a world of pleanty. Grocery stores will throw out more food than most places used to even grow, or still can grow in places in the world. I think those that argue against animal sacrifice or killing have lived lies most often of plenty. While many pagans are not much above poverty level, even those of us who are desperately poor still can manage to find food all over the place. But there are those who do not live in cities, or who are even worse off than we poor Pagans, who do live closer to a substance lifestyle where the issue of needing resources such as meat is a very real issue, not just a “Religious rite from far long ago that needs to be ditched.”

And as for the fact that it was an ancient practice that we don’t need to do anymore…give me one arguement for why we should leave behind that act, but keep any of the others. Either we bring back the old ways, and honor the Old Gods in their own ways, or we might as well still be Christians or Atheists. If you will not have the fury, and you will not have the fun, then you might as well walk away now. Because (and I’ve heard this accusation thrown around) if those who do practice animal sacrifice aren’t real pagans, when that is what real pagans did, then you who do not do these things certainly are not real pagans as you do not do as the Pagans did.