Animal World
 
A Tribute to Our Amazing Friends: Farm Animals      
We hear about the pigs who know their names, play video games, and adjust the air conditioner on and off to be comfortable. We heard about the chicken that solves math problems, or the sheep who can recognize photos of the faces of 50 fellow sheep.

And the intuitive or telepathic ability of animals is also often highly developed, more than many of us.

Halo, wonderful viewers, and welcome to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. On today's program we pay tribute to our planet’s delightful, intelligent farm animals, the goats, cows, pigs, sheep, ducks, geese, horses, turkeys and others who bring joy, beauty and serenity to our lives. When we see a magnificent horse prancing across a field, or watch a herd of gentle cows grazing quietly in a pasture, we feel a sense of peace and happiness.

And when we hear a hen clucking to her chicks or sit beside a pig enjoying her dinner of fresh apples, we feel contentment in our hearts. These humble, gentle beings add a special dimension to our existence. When we think of a farm, some of the first animals that come to mind are cows, whom 18th century English author Thomas de Quincey described as, “amongst the gentlest of breathing creatures,” adding, “I am not ashamed to profess a deep love for these quiet creatures”.

In certain parts of the world, such as India, cows are revered. In fact, in the vast majority of Indians states their lives are protected by law. Ancient Indian sages regarded the cow as the mother of the universe, as she gives much while asking nothing in return. Cows are emotionally complex, intelligent beings that form deep bonds with their loved ones.

Another splendid animal found on many farms is the friendly, enthusiastic pig. Pigs are clever and learn new things quickly. They have been known to save the lives of humans, such as Priscilla the pig in the US who rescued a boy who was drowning in a lake.

Pigs are incredibly intelligent animals. Pigs’ ability to problem-solve is just absolutely incredible and it’s actually one of the things that I learn at Edgar's Mission; with so many animals here it gives me an opportunity to learn about them and their intelligence.

Pigs are very friendly animals; they are like dogs. They love to have their tummy scratched and they talk a lot. They have incredible hearing and they have an incredible sense of smell.

Goats, with their bright, sociable, cheerful natures, bring a sense of liveliness to a farm and also possess great natural curiosity and smarts. If left alone, goats will sometimes go to great lengths to find a companion, as was the case with a handsome black goat named Lucky.

Lonely Lucky began to jump and escape over his caregiver’s fence, no matter how high it was made. They eventually tied him to a steel cable. But the determined little goat even chewed through the cable and escaped again! Not knowing what to do, the caregiver turned to The Sanctuary, a 13-hectare animal refuge in New Zealand.

So they asked if we would take him, and at that point, I wanted some company for Nellie (the goat), so I said, “Yes, we’ll take him,” and he came here. He took one look at Nellie fell head over heels in love and even though we have very short fences, he’s never even once tried to jump the fence.

We don’t have any trouble; we don’t tie him, we don’t chain them, he lives free with Nellie, but because he is so happy and he has another goat, which is all he ever wanted, he doesn’t need to escape. He doesn’t need to go away. So he has a happy life.

It was a humble donkey that carried Jesus on both his first and last public journeys and as a result this gentle being is often considered holy. Tender and loyal, donkeys, who can live up to 50 years, are the quiet guardians of other farm animals. They also form lifelong connections with their partners.

They do, and they will remain bonded for the rest of their days. If a donkey is taken ill he is housed with the other donkey in the sick box where they are left together until the ill one recovers. And should one die we let the other donkey grieve for the other one and give him time to grieve, as that is important as well.

Donkeys are also truly grateful when a kind human adopts them into a forever, loving home.

But when I look around, I see how happy the animals that have been with us for a long time are now; being certain they will be Okay and I will never, ever give them away again. They have this great sense of contentment. And as for those animals that have only stayed here a short time, I just remember Holly.

Holly is one of the female donkeys, and for several weeks she asked me every morning how long she could stay here for, because she just couldn’t believe her luck. And that...well, that’s such a great pleasure. I’m so grateful for everything that I can do for these animals.

When we return, we’ll learn about other special animals that often live on farms. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Welcome back to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants, as we continue our tribute to farm animals. A farmyard simply would not be complete without a flock of colorful chickens, clucking happily together as they forage through the grass for food. These little beings have a complex social organization, can remember the faces of more than 100 other chickens, and possess a sophisticated communication system involving more than 30 types of vocalizations.

When (roosters) find something that is delicious to eat, they will call their favorite hen, crooning to her in a special voice reserved for just this occasion. The female in turn does the same to draw the attention of her chicks to a particular food item. You can see a rooster picking up a choice morsel, then putting it down again, and repeating this until the hen, duly called, takes it from him.

And so chickens, you know, they’re very alert, they’re very alive.

And so many, many people are getting to know chickens as fellow beings now. If you know chickens, you will know how delightful they are. They are so much fun to be with. Now they have a very complex language. I have become very good at their sounds, what they use to communicate to each other. You see the mother hen, she clicks, clucks all the time to stay in touch with her baby. The baby peeps back and they stay in constant vocal touch.

They are so bright! When I’m tired after my journeys of teaching and traveling and I come back, I sit here with the chickens and they brighten you up! And of course the rooster announces that he is here and he is taking care of things.

Turkeys are very dignified birds with distinct personalities. They are highly social and emotional beings and will eagerly approach a human friend.

I’ve actually been able to spend a lot of time with turkeys myself. I worked on an animal sanctuary in New York (USA) and the turkeys were my favorite animals there. I would go into the barn with them and they would all come up. And what was exciting about them is they’re very curious and inquisitive animals. And they reminded me a lot of cats.

They would just come up and look at you, and you can just tell the intelligence that they had. Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be our (USA’s) national bird because they were so regal and beautiful and intelligent animals.

He is a magnificent bird and we are so lucky to have him in our lives. He is probably about four or five years old now. Tony came into our life about three years ago now at Christmastime we had a livestock market and there, in a milk crate, a tiny milk crate, all squashed up was Tony with a sign on the crate that said, "Christmas Turkey.” I thought it was absolutely terrible to see such a magnificent bird reduced to such a degrading and demeaning thing.

So we bought Tony and that was his lucky day, because he was never, ever going to be a turkey for anyone’s Christmas dinner. He’s been a wonderful ambassador for turkeys here at the farm. People get a chance to meet him and see his magnificence and actually realize they are such a honorable, noble bird.

Why do we enjoy being around farm animals so much? Perhaps it’s because, on some level, we realize they are just like us.

The only difference between a human and an animal is the same as the difference between a pig and a cow or chicken and a starling. They’re different species. We are animals as well, biologically speaking. We are defined as animals. We’re in the animal kingdom. We need to recognize and celebrate the diversity of life and recognize that all species have their own values. And we also mustn’t just look at the species, but at individuals. It’s individuals who have sentiments and feelings.

Supreme Master Ching Hai teaches that humankind should respect all life and that each living being is precious and has an innate Noble Quality. She shares her insights on the nobility of animals as follows.

Pigs, elephants, and some birds also have around 30% Noble Quality, or NQ. And would you believe that cows have 40% NQ, 40% Noble Quality? In contrast, most humans either have on average 3% or mostly up to just 10 % NQ. Of course, there are exceptional individuals who have more than that. So you can see, now, when we eat the meat of cows or pigs, we are the violent losers and they are the peaceful, elevated ones who choose not to take part in such a lowly game of bloodshed.

So, regardless of what role each soul is partaking in -- animal or human, or even plant or mineral -- we should love and respect and care for all. Just like in a family, we have siblings of different ages. Animals are likewise our brothers and sisters. We each have different personalities and qualities, but we are all valued by our parents, and by the Creator.

Every being has some qualities that make them simply wondrous, perfect for their unique existence and function. If we looked at animals in this way, we would feel so happy appreciating God’s every creature. I hope we all do.

We thank Heaven for all the wonderful pigs, chickens, sheep, cows and other farm animals who brighten our days and grace our shared planet. May all animals, wherever they may be, live long, happy lives in tranquility. Thank you for joining us today on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Up next is Enlightening Entertainment after Noteworthy News. May we each make a new animal friend today!

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