Day 29: This pamphlet makes me happy, well, hopeful. Let me explain. First, I’ll preface this by stating I’m not writing with the intent to offend those of faith; having said that, I feel compelled to explain my joy –and confusion–after reading this literature (a publication by the Christian Vegetarian Association; ChristianVeg.org).
Where did I find it? At the Spiral Cafe in Aledo, TX. It’s a wonderfully funky, retro, vegan diner my friend, D, introduced me to during my visit in January. You know, where I downed my first ginger shot that D generously replicated at home throughout my stay ’cause they made me feel so good.
Anyhoo, I was struck by the title as it reminded me of the “WWJD” bumper stickers, and the cover art, a painting called Peace by William Strutt, who was inspired by Isaiah 11 (in the Bible, just so we’re all clear). Indeed, the piece beautifully evokes that feeling. OK, so what does Isaiah have to say?
“6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”
Well, that’s easy enough to understand (I’ll google “cockatrice” later; rooster?). He (the Lord) made all animals–human and non-human–so that they would live together in peace, and care for the “holy” earth as deemed by Him, too. Hey, that’s great. I can get behind that (yes, as an agnostic). Let’s hear what these peace-loving Christian vegans have to add (I say vegan, as the authors clearly espouse a diet free from all animal products, as the “substitutions” list and recipes show):
“As Christians, we are called to serve God, which means that we must be mindful of how our choices affect God’s Creation. The Bible relates that God gave humanity ‘dominion’ over Creation (Genesis 1:26), and we see this as a sacred responsibility, not a license to ruin the environment and torment God’s creatures. Indeed, many of the world’s problems are due to human heartlessness and self-indulgence. Moving toward a plant-based diet is a responsible, effective, and faithful way to serve God and to protect God’s Creation.” (2)
Wow, these guys don’t pull punches. “Human heartlessness” and “self-indulgence?” They seem hell-bent on this whole “peace” thing, even extreme (as I’ve been called or thought of) with such harsh language. And just how are we ruining the environment and tormenting our fellow animals?
“The typical meat eater’s diet can require up to 14 times more water and 20 times more energy than that of a vegetarian. Indeed, current use of land, water, and energy is not sustainable…A 2006 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations found that animal agriculture is a leading cause of climate change and air pollution; land, soil, and water degradation; and biodiversity loss.” (2)
Yikes. They spout the same information that I’ve heard and learned from secular vegan organizations and countless science-backed studies through the years. (I had no idea this organization existed before spotting this pamphlet.) Right, onto the “torment” part (I can’t look):
“…nearly ten billion land animals are slaughtered each year, over a million every hour, and the number of aquatic animals killed for food is far greater. These animals suffer greatly from stressful crowding, barren environments that frustrate their instinctive drives, mutilations and amputations without pain relief (including debeaking, dehorning, tail docking, and castration), and other painful procedures…finally, slaughter typically involves terror and, often, great pain…animals too sick to walk are painfully dragged to slaughter rather than humanely euthanized.” (Bernard Rollin, Ph.D., Farm Animal Welfare; Gail Eisnitz, Slaughterhouse–I’ve read her book) (3-4)
Is it over? I can only take so much of that stuff. And what’s the farming industry’s take on this treatment? Hog Farm Management magazine’s advice: “Forget the pig is an animal. Treat him just like a machine in a factory.” (4)
How can this be? I mean, 99% of Americans are meat eaters, so that must include most American Christians. It would seem you’ve got some explaining to do. Not to me, though I welcome feedback. No, I mean to Him. Your Lord and Savior.
“Animals are God’s creatures, not human property, nor utilities, nor resources, nor commodities, but precious beings in God’s sight.” Rev. Andrew Linzey