He ordered the kids to pile into the back of the truck and tied a chain around the stubborn beast’s neck. Yet she continued to resist until the chain snapped, the truck lurched forward and the kids toppled into a pile.
For Will Tuttle, the animal’s plight stirred up feelings of anguish that remain with him to this day:
“As I saw her standing there, mute, and yet expressing herself so profoundly, I wished we could just leave her alone and let her live. Still, I believed she was our food—this was her only purpose. The tension between seeing her as a being and seeing her as meat was intense.”
The cow, of course, never had a chance. The kids witnessed her being shot and sent to the butcher.
Will, who went on to earn a PhD from UC Berkeley, has written a magical book about his vegan philosophy. His journey — from being an all-American boy who “had lost [his] feelings” to living for a time as a Zen monk and authoring this book— is undoubtedly the story of a great transformation.
The World Peace Diet illuminates many of uncomfortable realities arising from our addiction to eating animal-based foods. Its every page reveals the ease of an author who has spent his life in deep thought and contemplation.
Speaking directly to meat eaters, he writes:
“As omnivores, we may resent vegans for reminding us of the suffering we cause, for we’d rather be comfortable and keep all the ugliness hidden, but our comfort has nothing to do with justice or inner peace.”
Encouraging us to break the chains of domination and unawareness, he continues:
“By harming and exploiting billions of animals, we confine ourselves spiritually, morally, emotionally, and cognitively, and blind ourselves to the poignant, heart-touching beauty of nature, animals, and each other.”
How can we be healed from this blindness? Tuttle answers:
“To be free, we must practice freeing others… The animals and other voiceless beings, the starving humans and future generations, are pleading with us to see: it’s on our plate.”
Such a compelling, well-thought-out world view will haunt me in the days ahead.