Vegetarianism and Animal's Rights
Jan. 11th, 2005 @ 06:38 pm
Someone asked, regarding the Order's stance on Vegetarianism and Animal Rights:
Someone asked:I am still a little unsure where we stand on the question of vegetarians, though. For my part, I feel that some animals eat meat, and that from a rabbit's point of view, I am no different to a fox or a weasel. However, being humane, I would never kill an animal for sport, nor would I treat one inhumanely.
"All human beings, the earth itself, and all creatures that live, are endowed with dignity and the right to live in liberty and peace, in accord with natural law.
-Obligation III, article iii.
Protect the helpless at all costs; None are noble who let strength stand idle while the helpless suffer. Kindness to humans and to living creatures is a great mark of Nobility, and a mark of Holiness.
-Obligation III Paraphrase
You are quite right that some animals eat meat, and so do humans. This is part of natural law- but as you pointed out, killing animals for sport is contrary to their natural dignity, and so is treating them inhumanely.
The meat industries are often guilty of inhumane treatment of animals, and I am morally opposed to this. I agree with you that even if animals are to be raised for food, they need to be accorded every comfort and dignity that they can be, and be given as full a life as possible, before they are slaughtered. I am personally against Factory Farms, and favor a return to free range farming and ranching, and stricter penalties for abusing animals; less hormone use and more oversight of animal living conditions.
One of the problems in the West is that we eat too much meat. Humans may require certain amounts of animal products in their diet to survive- plants alone cannot provide us with all we need- but we do not need to eat the amount of meat we do. Even products like milk and eggs are enough to give us the B12 we need, without ever needing to eat actual meat.
But still, eating meat, predation, all these things are part of natural law, for humans, as well as other predators. What we have to keep in mind is balance and dignity. But this is something people (especially industries) seldom keep in mind.
Humans have a moral obligation to be prudent with the resources afforded to them by the Holy and Sacred power of our Environmenet. To abuse the environment, take from it without prudence, or destroy it, is a grave error, and against all five articles of Obligation I.
"Natural Law", to us, is a simple matter of what supports life in balance- Lions and Bears, for instance, cannot be allowed to live wild in human communities; but we should also not destroy their every single natural habitat. Natural Law states that we need to keep ourselves alive and healthy, taking of resources needed for that, but ALSO that we should help other creatures do the same, actively or passively.
I am personally against Factory Farms, and favor a return to free range farming and ranching, and stricter penalties for abusing animals; less hormone use and more oversight of animal living conditions.
I'm glad to see that, as I feel exactly the same way. Part of the reason that I became a vegetarian two years ago. :) Just because humans eat meat doesn't mean that they should cause an animal pain and misery for its whole life.
Peace to you.
|Date:||January 12th, 2005 03:50 am (UTC)|| |
Vegetarianism and the environment
I recal part of the code to be to protect the earth, yes?
That being the case, consider the environemental impact of meat as a dietary staple, in the west in particular. Without even touching on the problems of overfishing in countless areas, damage to rivers, lakes and water supplies from the toxicity of animal waste; there is the largest issue of cattle, and the lad that is deforested and laid bare in order to house millions of cattle.
"Seventy percent of all U.S. grain -- and one third of the world's total grain harvest -- is fed to cattle and other livestock. At the same time, between 40 and 60 million people die each year from hunger and diseases related to hunger. As many as one billion suffer from chronic hunger and malnourishment." (above statement from Beyond Beef)
The site listed above provides a wealth of information about the impact of beef in particular on the environment, world health, poverty and hunger. Information on other meat and fishing industries is readily available as well. I encourage anyone contemplating vegetarianism from a moral perspective to research these aspects as well as a direct ethical question of cruelty to animals.
If preservation of the earth and her resources is considered to be a moral imperative on a personal level, I don't see how one can possibly NOT be vegetarian, or not refuse to fuel the machine of meat production as it lays waste the earth.
Re: Vegetarianism and the environment
Thank you for your reply, and the Holy Mother bless you, too.
The Order does not see vegetarianism or veganism to be necessary lifestyles for those who wish to preserve our environment. However, we do salute and honor our Knights and Cup-Bearers who choose these paths for themselves, and for other compassionate reasons. It is a good sacrifice, and will help you and others greatly, no doubt.
There are, of course, two sides to every statistical story- no single website is enough to justify a campaign or revolution on. A consideration of all facts is required to see a balanced view.
The Following is fromhttp://www.mercola.com/2000/apr/2/vegetarian_myths.htm
"...Some have argued that cows and sheep require pasturage that could be better used to raise grains to feed starving millions in Third World countries. Additionally, claims are made that raising livestock requires more water than raising plant foods. Both arguments are illogical and simplistic.
The pasturage argument ignores the fact that a large portion of our Earth's dry land is unsuited to cultivation. The open range and desert and mountainous areas yield their fruits to grazing animals (1).
Unfortunately, the bulk of commercial livestock are not range fed, but stall fed. They do not ingest grasses and shrubs (like they should), but are fed an unnatural array of grains and soybeans. It is true that these foods could be fed to humans. The argument here, then, is not that eating meat depletes the Earth's resources, but that commercial farming methods do.
Such methods also subject livestock to deplorable living conditions where infections, antibiotics, steroids and synthetic hormones are common. These all lead to an unhealthy animal and, by extension, an unhealthy food product. Organically raised livestock, then, is a healthier and more humane choice (see myth #15
for more on this topic).
As for the claims that raising livestock requires more water than raising plant foods, water that livestock drink would be drunk by them anyway, even if they were not being raised for food. Additionally, the urine of grazing animals, which mostly comprises water, is rich in nitrogen which helps replenish the soil. Much of the water used in commercial livestock farming, however, is used up in growing the various grains and soybeans fed to the animals. If a concerted effort were made to return to the ecologically sound "mixed farm," (described below), then such huge expenditures of water would be unnecessary.
Re: Vegetarianism and the environment
A far more serious threat to humanity, and the Earth, is the monoculture of grains and legumes, advocated by some vegetarian groups, which depletes the soil and requires the heavy use of artificial fertilisers and dangerous pesticides; pesticides that must first be tested on animals for safety (2). The solution? Astute writers on this dilemma have pointed out:
The educated consumer and the enlightened farmer together can bring about a return of the mixed farm, where cultivation of fruits, vegetables and grains is combined with the raising of livestock and fowl in a manner that is efficient, economical and environmentally friendly.
For example, chickens running free in garden areas eat insect pests, while providing high-quality eggs; sheep grazing in orchards obviate the need for herbicides; and cows grazing in woodlands and other marginal areas provide rich, pure milk, making these lands economically viable for the farmer. It is not animal cultivation that leads to hunger and famine, but unwise agricultural practices and monopolistic distribution systems. (3)
The "mixed farm" is also healthier for the soil, which will yield more crops if managed according to traditional guidelines. British organic farmer and dairyman Mark Purdey has accurately pointed out that a crop field on a mixed farm will yield up to five harvests a year, while a "mono-cropped" one will only yield one or two (4). Which farm is producing more food for the world's peoples? Purdey well sums up the ecological horrors of "battery farming" by saying:
Our agricultural establishments could do very well to outlaw the business- besotted farmers running intensive livestock units, battery systems and beef-burger bureaucracies; with all their wastages, deplorable cruelty, anti-ozone slurry systems; drug/chemical induced immunotoxicity resulting in B.S.E. [see myth # 13] amd salmoella, rain forest eradication, etc. Our future direction must strike the happy, healthy medium of mixed farms, resurrecting the old traditional extensive system as a basic framework, then bolstering up productivity to present day demands by incorporating a more updated application of biological science into farming systems. (5)
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Peace to you, and to all.
|Date:||January 12th, 2005 02:48 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: Vegetarianism and the environment
from my experience as a farm girl, i would have to agree with the article you posted. not to mention, that i am not aware if there is a good way to really organically feed the soil without certain animal manuers. horse, cow, sheep and chicken poop adds many important nutrients to the soil beyond NPK.
the small "mixed" farms take advantage of this. in kansas it is traditional to place cattle on winter wheat and to suppliment thier diet with hay and grain. in the spring, after burning pasture, they are put out to graze.
there are ways that living in an urban area you can support small local farmers. farmers market most people can find, but also try CSA (i hope i have the acronym right) where you pay and then once a week pick up a bag of veggies. for meat, go to your county fair livestock auction. the animals are going to be sent to slaughter, you can bid on animals, and you are supporting a local farm kid and the 4-H and FFA programs. not to mention that you will get quality meat at a very good price!
All things in balance. Extremes of any sort cause harm, even if it is not immediately evident to us. Balance is the key.