Meat, Eggs, and Dairy as Metaphors of our Predicament

By Dr. Will Tuttle

Loon by visionary artist Madeleine Tuttle

It’s fascinating to look at animal-sourced foods and products as metaphors of our current situation. The animals whom we imprison in our mechanized herding operations, large and small, are reduced to commodities and to the profits and power that we can take by exploiting them.

Meat is the once-living flesh of these animals, the intelligent, amazingly coordinated muscles enabling them to run, swim, fly, mate, and articulate themselves through their lives and through the purposes they are born to fulfill as members of families and ecological webs of living meaning. From infancy, we are taught the narratives that steal their bodies, their purposes, and their sovereignty, and that destroy their lives so we can eat their muscles, tissues, and organs. The narratives propel us. The narratives we learn at daily meals become our flesh, and we find that as we imprison them for meat, our flesh becomes diseased. At a deeper level, we ourselves become meat to be consumed by industrial forces that consume the flesh of our purposes, and that enrich and fatten themselves with the muscles of our time, creativity, effort, and energy.

Eggs are the menstrual discharges of animals, the virtually infinite potential that can be fertilized to bring forth new life celebrating on this abundant Earth. From infancy we are taught the narratives that imprison helpless females and steal their creative potential, reducing them and their eggs to mere commodities, and ultimately reducing our creative capacities in the process. Like imprisoned hens, our creativity is stolen from us to be used by the institutions of wealth and dominance to distract and disempower us as we serve and promote the herding culture into which we’re born, like hens, and which exploits human people nearly as effectively as it exploits animal people.

Dairy products are the maternal lactations of young mothers and represent and constitute the loving care that nourishes babies in their critical first months of life. We are all compelled to eat the narratives that propel the sexual abuse of young females (and males for sperm), stealing their vulnerable offspring, and destroying the primary sacred social bond that runs through all of nature: that of the mother for her child. Like mother cows, our children are stolen from us by systems of violence, and we are milked relentlessly by the hard hands of an enforced economic system that reduces everything to commodifiable products.

Leather, wool, down, and fur are the protective coverings of animals that we steal from them. In so doing, we find our own protections increasingly destroyed, and we are reduced to being naked and vulnerable in the face of heartless economic, political, educational, and military systems of oppression.

The many ways we exploit animals represent, ironically, the many ways we are often exploited by the same herding apparatus that herds and imprisons animals and herds and imprisons us. As we waken from this harmful cultural trance and question the herding narratives we’ve internalized–and that exploit and destroy the bodies, creativity, and interconnected lives of animals and ecosystems–we gain the capacity to become healers and liberators, and to inspire a benevolent revolution of kindness and respect for all forms of life.

The way forward is through the ancient wisdom: to give to others what we’d like for ourselves. Stealing and destroying the flesh, eggs, mammary secretions, and skins of billions of animals is not just metaphoric; it is also concrete, causing immense unnecessary misery, pain, and suffering. Our suffering is also concrete. Our flesh (lives and energy), eggs (creativity), mammary secretions (feminine caring and children), and skin (protection) are stolen as we steal them from helpless animals. Fortunately, ever-increasing numbers of us are realizing these connections and together we are creating a world where animals, ecosystems, creativity, mothering, freedom, and caring are respected rather than being exploited. A plant-based world of abundance is available and ever-beckoning, if we can escape the fears that keep us trapped in the industrial-strength tribal ignorance, violence, and superstition that define our situation today.

Every day we are making progress. Every day, each one of us can contribute more, learn more, love more, heal more, awaken more, and liberate more. This is using our own flesh, eggs, and milk (bodies, creativity, and caring) wisely. This is our sacred obligation and the source of our effectiveness. longevity, and joy.

16 Responses to Meat, Eggs, and Dairy as Metaphors of our Predicament

  • Phoebe says:

    A sobering, useful perspective. Thank you

  • Sharon says:

    Dear Will & Madeleine,
    I am honoured and blessed to have found you the beautiful work you are doing.Your deeply loving care and compassion for people, all animals, and our beloved planet has touched me deeply. To know and experience this oneness is a blessing. I was a vegetarian for over 20 years before I woke up to the great harm being done to so many beloved animals and our ecosystems and people, also. I wished I’d known this when I was a little girl. I was aware at about age 12 that when I caught a fish where my grandfather took my family fishing, all I could do was look at this beautiful being and quickly put him back to where he belonged. I didn’t want to hurt him. Unfortunately that experience didn’t turn me into a vegan as I was too young to really get the whole picture and no one around me was educated in this amazing way of being. But I’m happy to say that I quickly became a vegan a few years ago. There was no struggle, no slowly changing from vegetarian to vegan. Something within me clicked and I changed overnight. I know I could never go back. Once I’d experienced this oneness with all life I felt different. It’s like I’ve expanded my consciousness and feel great heartache everytime I hear anything about any harm being done, I immediately pray for our beloved precious friends. Bless you both for all you do for the whole. You are both great heroes to me. Much love, Sharon❤️❤️

  • Gracia Fay says:

    I can relate to this, Will. Thank you. You may remember my essay in PT 49 and reprinted in Taking the Adventure: once while nursing my first baby in the middle of the night, utterly exhausted, I encountered the Divine Mother pouring out love and nurturance through me to my baby, and to every being who ever lived.. It was unbelievably empowering. I knew Her first-hand. That was 45 years ago, but even today it helps me feel compassion for Mr. Trump, creating for himself the terrifying hell he is creating for so many others, and to sense the horror of the evil systems (examples of Original Sin) that kidnaps babies away from their mothers, whether two-legged, four-legged or feathered. Kyrie, eleison . . .

  • Jack McMillan says:

    Excellent, and deeply wise, Will. Thank you. I will share it on my FB page and wherever else I can. These are the messages the world is pining for, in these deeply troubling times. We are in the midst of a collective existential crisis. Confusion is leading the way, as ppl search for answers to comprehend what has gone wrong, and how to make sense of it all. This path of confusion, of blindness, portends of increasing chaos and anarchy in society. And people sense it.
    But we have the answer, and the way back to our senses, and you speak of it so eloquently, yet so directly and simply. Thank you again.
    Take care.

    PS: Oh, I love Madeleine’s Zebra here. Think I’ll go to your site and see if can purchase a print.

  • Jo Schechinger says:

    wonderful much needed these days.

  • Kathy Fullmer says:

    ….must share this, much truth here. Freedom from the herding culture is well worth the effort, nonconformity is a small price to pay!

  • Randyl Rupar says:

    Awesome wisdom Will…
    Mahalo for the inspiration!

  • Mango Wodzak says:

    Well written Will! I’m always telling people that if we ask for the world to respect us, then the minimum we should be doing is to return the favour and respect the word..

  • Daya Johnson says:

    I love your analogies and I have a thought of my own about the protective skin of the animals and how it relates actually to how the earth protect skin is becoming bear and how vulnerable we are to global warming because we have destroyed the earths atmosphere. I love getting your emails and your insights be well and keep opening up doors for all of us to grow and learn and feel connected usually Daya Johnson

  • Daya Johnson says:

    I loved your analogies and also had another analogy about our planets protective skin being destroyed by us Because of our disconnected lifestyles and practices.

  • Jerome Kellner says:

    So uplifting, soothing, sanguine this message from Dr. Will Tuttle, as always. Thank you, you always inspire me to not only carry on, but do even greater things to heal and transform our planet.

  • Sofia says:

    Dr. Tuttle,
    This is so very well stated. You tell it as it is, without sugar coating the results of cruelty and lack of sensitivity, while you still retain love and caring for those who have integrated this cruelty in their lives. My love and admiration for to you and Madeleine for your examples.

  • Linda Marlow says:

    I keep thinking that it may be as simple as making the wrong decision all those years ago, when someone decided to kill an animal for food rather than looking elsewhere, if possible. Now we are hopefully redressing the balance and going the way of compassion and wisdom. I so hope so. Great article, thank you.

  • Tanya says:

    That’s a good perspective to look at animal abuse by humans. Very much in line with Karma teachings and Microbiotic philosophies.
    I strongly believe too that the impact on us from the outside world and our actions in it is indeed very symbolic We get back what we send out. We harvest what we sow. So far it’s been mainly destruction, abuse, death and utilization of Nature and its resources, animals and so on. And we get it back onto ourselves.

  • Alexi Holford says:

    I completely believe that how we treat animals comes back to us the same way, whether healthy or harmful. I love the awareness of flesh as bodies, eggs as creativity, and milk as caring. Thank you for this wonderful article and your ongoing work, Will. And Madeline’s paintings are so wonderful and complement this article perfectly.

  • Absolutely beautiful.
    This grand-surmise metaphor had occurred to me too.
    Most of my friends are muscle-munching clueless clinger/graspers, but they love my animal-safe sanctuary near Austin Texas.
    Thanks for this seminal article.
    Have you read “Half Earth” by E. O. Wilson yet?
    You and he have much in common.

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