Dear Mark Zuckerberg,
I don’t really know you and you probably have never heard of me. You, the founder of facebook, have become so popular simply through this social network that nearly everyone who uses the internet will know you. There are many stories about you online and sometimes I read one or the other. I liked to read that you, too, have signed the pledge of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, to give a big part of your wealth to charity.
On one of the last days I came across an article about your resolution for the year 2011. The article told that in this year you would only eat meat of animals that you have killed yourself.
Reading about this idea gave me two feelings which are very different from each other. The first one was simply ‘What? How can you do that?’ and the second feeling, maybe a second after the first one was ‘Well, okay, you want to know what you are eating’. It showed that you don’t only want to eat what you buy in the supermarket, probably because the meat there has a history of suffering, cruelty and violence or simply because you want to know what is in the meat that is on your plate. It shows sensitivity and that you want to feel what you eat. I appreciate this wish to be aware of what you are eating.
People like you have inspired millions of people and there are millions of eyes looking at each of your actions to either criticize or praise them. Many of these people follow what you are doing. Have you thought about them when you started your resolution? You now eat vegetarian meals a lot but in between you again and again set out to find an animal to kill, be that fish, chicken, pig, goat or others. Will people start following you in this point, killing the meat they eat? But don’t you think that it will be difficult for the common man to do that? You can do this because you are Mark Zuckerberg, not everybody has the chance to kill the animals they will eat.
With your resolution I understand that you wanted to make a connection between you and your food. I appreciate the idea but at the same time I feel that you, the person who was able to connect 600 million people online, over the internet, are still not able to connect with the animals you eat. I once wrote about a friend who could not eat in a restaurant because they killed the fish in front of the customers’ eyes. I thought you might have the same feeling for animals and would not be able to kill them. I was never a witness of how you killed any of the animals you eat and I have the question on my mind whether you stroked the goat before you killed it. Did you look into its eyes before you did it? If you did, were you not even then able to make a connection with this animal? If you had made a connection, I am sure you would not have been able to kill it.
Maybe you had this idea by looking at the history of the Native Americans who were hunting for their food because they only had this. Maybe you thought of the respect that these people gave to their food and wanted to have this feeling of respect. They had a connection and were thankful for the life that was given to sustain their lives. The reality is that they had nothing else to eat. We are living in the 21st century though, in the facebook-time, when we can go into a supermarket and buy all kinds of grains, vegetables, fruit and more. We don’t need to kill in order to survive. There is plenty of food available without killing any animal. And it is even proven that would people not eat meat, would there not be the extensive meat-production, there could be enough grains to feed the hungry of this world.
I am sure you have heard about researches that show that our human body and system is not made for digesting meat. You probably have also heard scientists telling people that a balanced vegetarian diet is much healthier for the body than eating meat. Even with all the medical and scientific reasons telling us that it is better to be vegetarian, this is not why I am writing to you today. I am not writing to tell you that it is medically not good for you to eat meat. I am writing to ask you about your sensitivity.
For me being vegetarian is a question of sensitivity. It is also not a question of religion, tradition or ideology! It is about sensitivity. Why do we kill animals if we have lots of other food available that can nourish us much better? I am writing to you because I love animals and because I see in your resolution that you also love animals. But even though you love animals and don’t want to eat meat out of mass production and mass killings, you were not able to connect with the animals.
So the next time, when you decide to kill an animal, first stroke it, feel the life in it, look into its eyes and try to understand the language of its eyes. It wants to say you something. It knows that it is going to die, what does it tell you with its eyes? It may not be able to talk to you in your language but its eyes will tell you that it doesn’t want to die. I am sure you will not be able to kill this animal.
I would be happy if you could make a resolution to be vegetarian, not only for one year but for your whole life. With love and compassion for animals, you can set an example for the whole world. We don’t need to kill in order to eat, mother earth gives us enough food.