Borderline Livelihood in the Meat Industry

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Invokingvajras
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Borderline Livelihood in the Meat Industry

Post by Invokingvajras » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:32 pm

Hi all,

I'd like to get some input from my fellow Buddhists about an issue I've been facing regarding right livelihood. I've recently found myself unemployed, mostly due to harassment about my gender identity and am currently looking for a new career path. I was offered a position as a campaign member to stop the treatment of factory farm animals with antibiotics. I've included a link to the information at the bottom of the post.

Fact is, I feel like this hits really close to home as I take the idea of right livelihood and ethics fairly seriously, especially as it relates to the first precept. Ultimately I may otherwise have to settle looking for restaurant gigs until I can afford to go back to school for something useful (Religious Studies clearly doesn't cut it). Thoughts?

http://www.ospirg.org/issues/orp/stop-o ... tory-farms
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Fortyeightvows
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Re: Borderline Livelihood in the Meat Industry

Post by Fortyeightvows » Fri Apr 28, 2017 1:27 am

That's a tough one. But since you asked for input, I'd say ask ‘which is most beneficial’ for divination.
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Borderline Livelihood in the Meat Industry

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Apr 28, 2017 1:29 am

I'm not entirely clear on what you think is the ethical problem here Dharma-wise, can you elaborate?

It's quite a stretch to say that working for either Ospirg or at a restaurant is "livelihood in the meat industry". Not saying it's wrong out of hand, but it takes some pretty wishy-washy reasoning on the first precept to get there. The OSPIRG gig looks great IMO. :shrug:
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Invokingvajras
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Re: Borderline Livelihood in the Meat Industry

Post by Invokingvajras » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:41 am

I guess part of the problem seems to be political, since the claims made by the organization are controversial and not accepted universally. I'm admittedly not an expert on the subject.

I would also like to avoid getting involved in the promotion of factory farming. Regulations that implement reduction of antibiotic use don't seem to address the overall issue of unsustainable farming practices, including confinement of animals, which still makes them vulnerable to pathogens that affect humans as well. It really seems like a step to promote human medicine, but in the long run doesn't do much to alleviate the suffering of beings being farmed. Unless there's something I'm not seeing.
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Re: Borderline Livelihood in the Meat Industry

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:48 am

Invokingvajras wrote:I guess part of the problem seems to be political, since the claims made by the organization are controversial and not accepted universally. I'm admittedly not an expert on the subject.
I would also like to avoid getting involved in the promotion of factory farming. Regulations that implement reduction of antibiotic use don't seem to address the overall issue of unsustainable farming practices, including confinement of animals, which still makes them vulnerable to pathogens that affect humans as well. It really seems like a step to promote human medicine, but in the long run doesn't do much to alleviate the suffering of beings being farmed. Unless there's something I'm not seeing.
Then at the most you are accumulating a small amount of merit, hard to spin doing a little bit of good as somehow supporting factory farming, things are rarely that ideal.

Beyond that, in terms of Buddhist ethics you are getting into some pretty nebulous territory, in a basic sense it's about your intention to avoid harming, hopefully to benefit beings, and acting based on that. I don't see how either of those jobs violates that.

It'd be different IMO if you were going to work for a big weapons contractor, a butcher or or something, but from my perspective neither the OSPIRG work nor restaurant work seem like wrong livelihood.

Also if you want to be actively involved in doing good stuff and have the time, these days it's pretty easy to find volunteer gigs, lots of professionals with big workloads that don't mind some slack being taken up, etc.
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Re: Borderline Livelihood in the Meat Industry

Post by Fortyeightvows » Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:49 am

I know that often when religious people take jobs jobs that may not be so pure, they will do alot of things to create merit and will put some of that money they earn into good things. This can ease one's anxiety about their job and offset any potential negative effects.
In terms of the four powers,it'd be like applying the remedy as you go on.

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Re: Borderline Livelihood in the Meat Industry

Post by Invokingvajras » Tue May 02, 2017 2:29 am

Thanks all, for the input. I'll give it a shot and see how it goes.
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