Eat anything

Walking, I suddenly stopped. In the corner of the garden, three baby tigers were soaked in a giant bottle of wine.

That was nearly a dozen years ago, a Thai Binh city man invited me to his farm for dinner. During the journey of sitting with a group of people in a car rolling to Tien Hai, I was very nervous. It is a special honor for a foreigner to join this group, to go out to eat and play tennis.

The car stopped at the end of the road, a magnificent mansion appeared before my eyes, obviously the owner of the house was extremely rich. He took us around a farm tour.

Having fun introducing the garden with three particularly precious tigers, he did not know I looked at him in awe. A morally outdated guy. He didn't understand the consequences of his actions, worse, didn't care and didn't realize my shock. Only one thing I know for sure he cares about: honor.

A boy of about 14 accompanied me, the son of one of the people who attended the dinner that night. I also witnessed the sight of three tigers soaked in alcohol, immediately feeling that something was not right. My eyes are red. The boy whispered to his father, "Daddy, this is not good for me." The father remained silent, turning away, perhaps he did not know what to say.

I looked at the boy, not sure what to do. And this is the problem. Many times in Vietnamese society, when people encounter something wrong, they will pretend to not see or not speak out in opposition.

I admired the boy, saw something wrong and said. On the other hand, I was relieved to think that he could gradually lose that clarity when being flooded with adults who ignored the wrongs in society. One after another silent before the wrong, it would make me very depressed.

I summed up this because after all these years, bad things keep spreading and changing. What will the future be? I don't know either. But one thing I am sure, continuing to eat nearly every animal will lead us to two choices. One is to realize that it is a bad act, harming oneself, one's offspring, and stopping. The second is that we will take consequences, more and more diseases like corona virus attack to teach us the unexpected lesson.

Human ancestors have chosen food for thousands of years. Animals that were edible, safest, most nutritious and easy to raise, least harmful were brought back to the farm. There is a list of domesticated animals that we can eat. On the one hand it provides direct support to the farmers, on the other hand it proves the rationality with nature and humans over thousands of years. Of course, there are sometimes problems with infected animals or unscrupulous people injecting chemicals into meat.

One of humanity's obsessions, the Ebola pandemic originated from wildlife. More than 28,000 people have contracted the disease and more than 11,000 have died. Mouse meat, a favorite dish of many Vietnamese people, has caused "black death" - one of the most devastating epidemics in human history. In the middle of the 14th century, the plague killed about one-third of Europe's population - an estimated 25 million.

In 2002, SARS - the very dangerous virus - originated from people eating civet or bat. And until now, SARS still exists, hide in the fauna of nature and still have the ability to return to the human world at any time. The corona virus, although its origins are not clear enough, is also expected to come from wild animals that are eaten by humans. I see it seems that there is a law of cause-effect here, nature retaliates for the endless greed of man.

Just need everyone to be less greedy, less want to have everything in nature, beautiful trees, beautiful animals, eat all new things because they want to try or have money so they want it all, like the rich man. The other wants to have Son Son in the house. This world and the beings will be greatly relieved. Ask yourself, eating a wild animal, are you happy, healthy, living longer or more respected? There is no evidence yet for that.

I think the reason why many people, especially in Asia, still enjoy eating dogs, cats, civets, pangolins, bats, porcupines, mice, snakes, monkeys ... is because of the education. There is an erroneous idea here, that human life is more precious than animals, so humans are allowed to eat them whenever; or wild meat is more precious and nutritious than ‘ordinary meat’. Not many people fight to the end or speak up.

But the moral lessons sometimes have not been only in the school books. The next generation imitates the previous generation, the grandparents eat, so do we. And another reason, few people have spoken out to prevent these actions, to help people less ugly.

As the world prepares for the bad thing called corona, many people panic about masks. I know many people who have reduced income because of work stoppage, life upside down. So, to help each other, work together to overcome this dark time, choose the better. First, stop eating rare and precious wildlife.

The catalyst for change will come if you are fed up with unethical actions or deadly forms of illness. Don't wait for the deaths of your own relatives, neighbors, we are really startled to think about our stupid behavior.

Jesse Peterson
(Originally in Vietnamese)