Although the vegetarian and vegan diets have become somehow popular in the last few decades, not everyone can become a vegan or a vegetarian and change his lifestyle. Is it therefore possible to eat meat and yet avoid contributing to the massive slaughterhouse culture of today where poor animals are mercifully killed simply for the gratification of someone’s tongue? Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement explains how this is actually possible.
Tamala Krsna: Cow is going to die naturally, anyway.
Prabhupada: Yes. Then, if you want flesh, take that dead body and eat.
Tamala Krsna: Why don't they see this, that just by killing a cow you don't get more cows. They're going to die anyway.
Prabhupada: Yes. Everyone is going to die, but they are so voracious, they do not wait up to the death, and they have theorized that "Dead animal is dangerous to health. Now kill while it is in life."
Harikesa: Yes, they think like that.
Prabhupada: Yes, but... They have got so many nonsense philosophy. But if that philosophy is supported, when you kill the animal, he becomes dead. (laughter)
Sudama: Yes, they call it "fresh meat."
Prabhupada: Just see. "Fresh dead." Just see. The rascals are so fools that unless you make him dead, you cannot eat. So why do you theorize that a dead animal is not good?
Harikesa: Well, 'cause he had to die from some cause, and that cause is...
Prabhupada: Cause, all right. It is also cause. You are killing, that's all.
Harikesa: The knife is clean, whereas the germs are...
Prabhupada: That's all right. Formerly the Hindus, they used to purchase meat and cook it in Ganges water. (laughter)
Tamala Krsna: Oh, boy.
Harikesa: Purify it.
Prabhupada: They thought, "Now it is..." And you will still find in Calcutta, "Hindu butcher." That Hindu butcher is pure. You have been in Calcutta? So they are going on.
Tamala Krsna: The Jews have that, "Kosher butcher."
Prabhupada: "Mother's prasadam." The rascals say, "It is mother's prasadam."
Tamala Krsna: Durga, Kali-prasadam.
Prabhupada: Yes. The Ramakrishna Mission, they take mother's prasadam. And they call...
Tamala Krsna: And you will also be mother's prasadam.
Sudama: Even they kill fresh, Srila Prabhupada, sometimes they will kill a cow who has some disease in liver, and then they will eat and they will all die...
Prabhupada: Well, they manufacture so many ways. That does not mean we have to support it. We accept that these are animals, that's all.
Morning Walks -- January 22-23, 1976, Mayapura
Pusta Krsna: What we've been doing with the dead cows is burying them, there's no..., everything's wasted. Srila Prabhupada is proposing that why not the butcher take, we give free, he simply returns us the skin of the cow, and with the cow hide we properly tan it, we can make mrdanga heads for the khol, and shoes, straps, whatever may be needed. The idea being that in the Western countries especially, people are accustomed to eating animals, animal flesh. So we have no objection.
Prabhupada: Beef, especially beef.
Pusta Krsna: Especially cows and beef. So we have no objection, but they should at least wait until it dies naturally. What is the harm? They still get the same thing, and one devotee, Kirtanananda, I think, was saying that when they slaughter an animal even in the slaughterhouse, it has to sit some time, some number of days before they distribute it. So I proposed that the Westerners, they consider that this is superstitious, this protection of the cow. Prabhupada says Why superstitious? The cow is providing milk. Every child knows that he's getting milk from the cow, the cow is mother. So why in the old age we should slaughter mother? Is this a good argument that like, for example, they say, in India, how so many people are starving, why don't they eat the cows? So Prabhupada proposed that "If you're starving, does it mean that you eat your mother and father?"
Prabhupada: If you want to eat, let the father and mother die, then eat. (laughter) Who has objection?
Pusta Krsna: It's so reasonable. At least, Prabhupada says, for the saner section, they will accept.
Hari-sauri: The thing is, people are mad after meat.
Pusta Krsna: But they still get it.
Prabhupada: But he'll get meat.
Hari-sauri: But then their argument is that if we don't have big, big slaughterhouses, then there won't be enough supply.
Prabhupada: No why should...? After all, the animal is going to die. It is not for..., he's permanently. Why should you kill?
Pusta Krsna: But they kill the animal first in the slaughterhouse and then do whatever they have to do.
Dhrstadyumna: But we are killing when they are young, when their meat is fresh. When the body is old, the meat is...
Prabhupada: That you have to change. Fresh or dead, you're eating flesh, that's all. You wait till the death.
Dhrstadyumna: But the old flesh is not...
Prabhupada: Anyway, you do not..., you do whatever you like. So at least you can take free of charges a dead cow from us, and you can give us only the skin, and you eat.
Dhrstadyumna: This should be the system.
Pusta Krsna: It's so reasonable.
Prabhupada: Yes. We don't want anything from you; you take it, the whole flesh. You take free. You simply give us the skin, we can utilize it.
Pusta Krsna: Even if people would do this, it would be such an advancement.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Because a class of men will demand to eat the flesh. You cannot stop it. So we are giving free: you eat. And from economic point of view, we require the skin for our mrdanga making. So give us the skin. That's all.
Pusta Krsna: Prabhupada says the butcher, even, he can sell the meat cheaply, make profit. He's getting it free of charge.
Hari-sauri: Maybe some time in the future this could happen when Krsna consciousness becomes very powerful influence in the country, but unless we could actually close the slaughterhouse...
Prabhupada: No, but now by imploring, we are requesting him that "You can take this cow and sell in your shop, butcher shop, you give us the skin. And you can tell the customer that it is as good, it is cheaper. So whatever money you get, that is your profit. You haven't got to invest anything."
Dhrstadyumna: Do you propose that we should do this now, Srila Prabhupada?
Prabhupada: (laughs) No, no, this is... Think over.
Hari-sauri: Yes, the proposition is very good, that's a fact.
Prabhupada: First of all, you try one butcher, that "Why not make this advantage?" How does he react, see.
Dhrstadyumna: Yes, that he will not pay anything...
Prabhupada: He's not going to pay us. You simply take it and sell it.
Pusta Krsna: They sell meat..., for one pound of meat, they can get sometimes two dollars, three dollars, four dollars. So much money...
Dhrstadyumna: But the government has inspectors, a team of inspectors. No meat can be sold unless it is inspected, and then they want to examine the conditions.
Prabhupada: So let them inspect. What is the wrong there? It should be open. If the inspection, there is nothing wrong, then they can do this business.
Hari-sauri: Generally, though, their inspection is when the animal is alive, they check to see that he has no disease. Then they can be killed. But if an animal dies naturally, then generally it is to be supposed that it dies from some malfunction within the body, that there may be some diseases or whatever. So then...
Prabhupada: That is artificial.
Hari-sauri: But that is their rules and regulations they have.
Prabhupada: They'll change. When they, by chemical analysis, they don't find any fault, then they can change. From economic point of view, why this body should be wasted? Let it be utilized. Those that are eating, let them eat. And economic point of view, we save the skin. We require it for our purpose. That is the agreement. After all, we require the skin for our khol making.
Dhrstadyumna: For the farm straps?
Pusta Krsna: Shoes, slippers, so many things. I think Kirtanananda Swami has done that with some of the cows. They have taken the hide for making things, straps.
Hari-sauri: They're not doing it now, though.
Prabhupada: But we should not do it ourselves.
Dhrstadyumna: Yes, that's for the mucis.
Prabhupada: That is not our business.
Dhrstadyumna: Give it to the butcher. He will get the skin and give it to us.
Prabhupada: Not that everything we have to do. No. That will deteriorate. Those who are doing, let it be done by them.
Hari-sauri: It seems like it will be a long time before we can implement something like that.
Prabhupada: I am proposing, think over it. Because it is a fact that in spite our vigorous propaganda, we cannot stop meat-eating. That is not possible. People will eat. So those who are eating, let us make some arrangement that "You take it free of charges." From economic point of view, they get it free. They can make good profit. And we are interested with the skin. So why not make some arrangement? It is practical.
Hari-sauri: That's very good.
Prabhupada: Instead of the thing being wasted for nothing, let us devise some means, that you are eating, you can eat. And we want the skin, let us give him. What is the wrong there?
Pusta Krsna: Perfect economics.
Prabhupada: Yes. We require the skin, that's a fact. And you want to eat, all right, eat.
Pusta Krsna: Could such a thing be done today in India also?
Prabhupada: No, why it will be done? Everywhere it should be. That is the... Who does not eat meat? First of all, you try this. From economic point of view, why one thing should be wasted?
Dhrstadyumna: Practical preaching.
Hari-sauri: We can't stop meat-eating, but we can stop the unnecessary slaughter of animals.
Pusta Krsna: That would be a great step forward.
Prabhupada: So our business is to stop slaughter. Meat-eating we cannot stop. Certain persons, they must eat. They are fourth-class, and then fifth-class men. There are four classifications—brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra and candala. Candalas, they will remain, and they are eating. Let them eat meat. That is the system in India still. It is not that in India nobody's eating meat. The cobbler class, they eat; the candala class, they eat.
Pusta Krsna: Even cows, cow flesh.
Prabhupada: Dead. This cow killing has been introduced by these Britishers.
Hari-sauri: Even they're exporting beef from India.
Prabhupada: Yes. They can do anything, take the dead cows. I do not know if there is any chemical composition change. They are eating so many dead animals. Take for fish. The fish is never killed alive, because as soon as you take it out from water, it is dead, after few minutes.
Pusta Krsna: And they don't consider whether it's a young fish or an old fish.
Dhrstadyumna: If that was the system, people will not get sick. They will not get sick from eating old animals.
Prabhupada: No, no. This is all wrong conception.
Dhrstadyumna: They will say..., simply think the taste there is too tough, the skin may be older.
Prabhupada: They are eating so many rotten things.
Dhrstadyumna: Yes. And they are burning it, cooking it.
Prabhupada: Lobster, it is simply pus. They eat. I've seen it. From whiteness it has become yellow. Puslike. They eat it, what is called that soup? Lobster soup?
Pusta Krsna: Clam chowder? So many things.
Prabhupada: But they like very much that lobster soup. In the plane, one Englishman was doing "What is this? I asked after lobster soup."
Pusta Krsna: In England? Oysters?
Prabhupada: No, lobsters.
Pusta Krsna: With the big pinchers.
Hari-sauri: They get the lobsters sometimes alive, and they throw them in boiling water, and they can hear them screaming. But now they're speculating whether it's actually the lobsters screaming because it's being boiled alive or whether it's just air that's coming out from its body and making a squeaking noise.
Prabhupada: No, that is, apart from that, they import lobster from India, Cochin. They are exporting lobster alive. I have seen. The same ship, they load it with lobster fat, and black creepers, and cashews, they exported. The big, big business firms are exporting. So these lobster, although they are kept in ice and so on, so on, they become decomposed. I've seen in the port, that Commonwealth Pier. There is store of lobster, and the lobster has become yellow and almost melted by decomposing. They are selling that.
Hari-sauri: When it starts to fall apart, that's when they consider it's the best.
Hari-sauri: When it starts to fall apart, that's when they think it's the best. I think I mentioned before, in England, the gentry, the British gentry, when they used to go hunting, shooting pheasants and partridges, afterwards they would get the dead birds and hang them in a shed outside, and then after some days, when all the skin and feathers were literally falling off, that's when they would eat it. That's when it was considered rich.
Prabhupada: There are so many kadarya things. In Burma, they have got a system, Burmese family. In the door, there is a pot, a big pot. So whatever animal dies, put it in there and cover it. So in this way, after some years, they're decomposed, and it becomes liquid, and then it is so decomposed that if you open it, within three miles they smell. So that is mature. Then they take out the liquid and keep it in bottles. That is called naphi. And they stock it, and when there is some feast at home they'll give little that naphi, and they'll relish it.
Pusta Krsna: Barbers?
Pusta Krsna: That's the most...
Prabhupada: And when you fry luci, all the other tenants will come "What you are cooking?" This is practical because we opened..., my Guru Maharaja opened a branch in Burma in an apartment. So that Gauranga who was my servant in family life, he was there. He said like this, that "When I fry puri, the ghee smell is there, so many people will come from other apartments, (whispers) "Oh, what you are cooking? What you are cooking?" And the naphi, they relish it in feast. So it is a question of taste.
Pusta Krsna: That's the ultimate.
Dhrstadyumna: I remember as a child in Hong Kong, in the village they would keep big glass jars of snakes, they would put the snakes in jars. And after they were many times soaking in liquid, then they would eat it.
Hari-sauri: Pickled snakes.
Dhrstadyumna: Yes, keep it in a jar in liquid.
Prabhupada: They put in the jar alive?
Dhrstadyumna: No, they catch it, kill it, put it in the jar.
Hari-sauri: It's like a pickle, they pickle it. And when they want to eat it, they take.
Prabhupada: So there is poison in the mouth, they cut it?
Dhrstadyumna: They cut off the head, flesh.
Prabhupada: Snake they eat. Even in India there is a class, they eat snake. Chinese, they eat. They are Chinese?