Reverence for life is a concept promoted periodically, in various ways - Mahatma Ghandi, in his non- violence; Albert Schweitzer, who coined the phrase; and the Hindus, in their treatment of cows and monkeys as sacred. Vegetarians in general espouse this philosophy in some manner, as why else give up meat and suffer the almost invariable nutritional deficiencies that result? We, the Zetas, have described ourselves as vegetarians, and have stated how we deplore the abusive way humans domesticate animals destined for slaughter. What should a conscientious human do, then, to put a reverence for life into practice? Done to an extreme, a reverence for life means starving oneself, as even plants have some sensibilities. What to do?
All this should be balanced with some common sense. If one starts at the bottom of the food chain, with algae and plants, and then moves up through the insect and worm world, one need scarcely apologize, especially if death is dealt quickly and cleanly. Even an insect can die a cruel death if one sticks a pin in it and lets it struggle until death overtakes it. Crush them quickly and cleanly. Following are fish and foul, who have the instinct to escape but truly don't ponder their possible outcomes. Here also, death should come quickly and cleanly. In a reverence for life philosophy, sensate mammals such as horses and dogs should be spared when possible, but if necessary for food should be killed without forewarning of their impending fate, as they experience agony.
A reverence for life philosophy goes beyond whom should eat whom. It also involves practices of medicine, behavior toward wounded animals, treatment of other humans, and whether one keeps pets or not and under what circumstances. In sum, it involves putting oneself in the shoes of the creature in question, and treating it accordingly. Do unto others, even if not human as the self.
Source: ZetaTalk: Reverence for Life