Recent campaigns for greater fuel efficiency
have been based on the questions, "What would Jesus drive?" and "What
would Moses drive?" Because people consider Jesus and Moses as idyllic people
with the very best intent for humanity, it's useful to think about how we should
conduct our lives based on how they conducted theirs. Hence, it might be helpful
to consider "What would Moses eat today?" since many Americans are plagued
with terrible diets and eating habits.
Here are some reasons for believing
that Moses would have a plant-based diet:
- Moses was chosen for leadership
because of his compassionate treatment of the animals in his care when he was
a shepherd. However, today farmed animals are raised on "factory farms"
where they live in cramped, confined spaces, and are often mutilated, and denied
fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and any enjoyment of life, before they are slaughtered
- Moses was very concerned about the health and well-being of
the Israelites. Countless nutritional studies have linked animal-based diets to
heart disease, stroke, many forms of cancer, and other chronic degenerative diseases.
frequently faced complaints because of insufficient drinking water. An animal-based
diet today requires about 14 times the amount of water, primarily for irrigating
crops for livestock, than a plant-based diet does.
- Moses transmitted laws
mandating proper treatment of the environment and prohibiting the destruction
of fruit-bearing trees, even in wartime. Animal-centered diets contribute substantially
to soil erosion and depletion, air and water pollution, overuse of chemical fertilizers
and pesticides, the destruction of tropical rain forests and other habitats, global
warming, and other environmental damage.
- Moses was very concerned about
the welfare of each person, including the stranger. Animal-centered diets currently
involve over 70% of the grain grown in the United States being fed to animals
destined for slaughter while a billion of the world's people are underfed and
malnourished, and an estimated 20 million people worldwide die because of hunger
and its effects each year. It takes up to 16 pounds of grain in a feedlot to produce
one pound of beef.
- Moses saw how the miraculously provided manna sustained
the Israelites in good health during their 40 years in the wilderness. Today people
can similarly thrive on tasty, nutritious non-animal foods.
of important Jewish mandates conveyed by Moses, to preserve human health, attend
to the welfare of animals, protect the environment, conserve resources, help feed
hungry people, contrasted with the harm that animal-centered diets do in each
of these areas, I believe that Moses would be a vegan today. Jews (and others)
who take Moses's life and Jewish teachings seriously should consider eliminating
or sharply reducing their consumption of animal products.
One could say
"dayenu" (it would be enough) after any argument above, because each
one points to a serious conflict between Jewish values and current practice that
should impel Jews to move toward a plant-based diet. Combined, they make a compelling
case for the Jewish community to address these issues.
MAD COW DISEASE/MAD PEOPLE DISEASE
As you point out, in your thoughtful
editorial, "Canada's mad cow," the Canadian incident spotlights how
our lack of records, and inability to readily acquire them, is a serious gap in
our ability to protect ourselves from an outbreak of "mad cow disease."
However, I believe that far greater threats are associated with what, with some
writer's license, I call "Mad People's Disease" (MPD).
many intelligent people to be greatly concerned about eating meat after one "mad
cow" is found in Canada, while they ignore the many scientific studies that
link heart disease, stroke, many types of cancer, and other chronic degenerative
diseases, as well as various digestive problems to animal-based diets
MPD enables otherwise compassionate people to ignore the fact that ten billion
animals in the U.S. alone are raised for food annually under cruel conditions,
in crowded, confined spaces, where they are denied fresh air, exercise, and any
MPD enables people normally concerned about the well
being of their fellow human beings to disregard the fact that 70 percent of the
grain grown in the United States and over one-third of the grain grown worldwide
is fed to animals destined for slaughter, as an estimated twenty million of the
world's people die annually because of hunger and its effects.
people who are concerned with the sustainability of the planet to ignore the significant
contributions of animal-based agriculture to air, water, and land pollution, species
extinction, destruction of tropical rain forests and other precious habitats,
shortages of water and other resources, global climate change, and many other
I urge the Advance to do a tremendous public service by using
your excellent reporters and editors to help make Staten Islanders aware of the
urgency of a switch toward plant-based diets for our personal health and that
of our imperiled planet, and thereby to help reduce "Mad People Disease."
The unprecedented heat wave afflicting much of Europe, as covered
in many of your recent articles, should be a wake up call for all of humanity!
The warmest decade in recorded history was the1990s, and the present decade may
be even warmer., as 2001 and 2002 were the second and third warmest years in recorded
There is a growing scientific consensus that global climate
change is real and that human activities are a major contributor. The Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a U. N. administered body composed of leading
climate scientists from more than 100 nations, has projected that the world's
average temperature will increase from 2.5 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the next
hundred years. Since an increase of only about one degree Fahrenheit in the past
100 years has resulted in record breaking temperatures, droughts, increasing frequency
and severity of storms, melting of glaciers and polar ice caps, bleaching of coral
reefs, and many other indicators of global warming, it is essential that steps
to combat global climate change become a societal imperative. Our religious institutions,
for example, should make the healing and repair of our imperiled planet a central
Reducing greenhouse emissions can improve our economy, as the reductions
can be based on such strategies as improving energy efficiency, shifting to renewable
energy sources, improving mass transit, preserving and planting forests, and encouraging
people to shift to plant-based diets (feeding almost 50 billion farmed animals
as well as 6.3 billion people, contributes substantially to global warming). Such
approaches have the added benefits of reducing air and water pollution, creating
jobs, and reducing expenditures for energy. Hence, we have little to lose and
very much to gain by adopting these
I wish to commend you for Sharon Lerner's comprehensive
article, "Risky Chickens," which indicates that 70 percent of all the
antibiotics produced in the U.S. are routinely fed to farmed animals to fatten
them up quicker, and this has resulted in rising antibiotic resistance to many
human diseases. This is just one of many reasons why concerned people should seriously
consider switching to plant-based diets. Please consider:
about health? Animal-based diets have been strongly linked to many degenerative
diseases, including heart problems, strokes, and various types of cancer.
2) Concerned about the proper treatment of animals? Almost 10 billion farmed
animals are killed for their flesh annually in the United States after suffering
horribly in confined spaces where they are denied fresh air, exercise, or any
fulfillment of their basic needs.
3) Concerned about the environment?
The production of meat is a major contributor to soil depletion and erosion, extensive
pesticide use, air and water pollution, and the rapid destruction of tropical
rain forests and other ecosystems.
4) Concerned about global warming? The
production of animal products contributes substantially to the 4 major greenhouse
5) Concerned about world hunger? Over 70% of the grain grown in
the United States is fed to animals destined for slaughter, while an estimated
20 million people die annually due to hunger and its effects. The U. S. is also
the world's a major importer of beef and fish, and these imports are generally
from countries where people are starving.
6) Concerned about resource
scarcities? A meat-based diet requires up to 20 times more land and 14 times more
water and energy than a vegetarian diet. Non-vegetarian diets also require vast
amounts of pesticides, chemical fertilizer, and other resources.
about peace? Flesh-centered diets, by wasting land and other valuable resources,
help to perpetuate the widespread hunger and poverty that frequently lead to instability
8) Concerned about religious values? Vegetarian diets are most
consistent with religious mandates to act with compassion toward animals, preserve
human health, help hungry people, protect the environment, conserve resources,
and pursue peace and nonviolence
9) Concerned about convenient, tasty meals?
There are many delicious vegetarian dishes that don't involve extensive preparation
or the fat, cholesterol, hormones, and antibiotics associated with meat.
So, for our health, for defenseless animals, for millions of starving people,
for our earth and its resources, and for a more peaceful, just, and harmonious
world, let's go vegetarian.
CHALLENGING RELIGIOUS PEOPLE
WHO EAT MEAT
I wish to commend you for featuring Jim
Mason's comprehensive and thoughtful cover article, "Eden Restored: Will
religions embrace animal rights and vegetarianism?" As his article illustrates,
there has been an explosion of vegetarian-related activity in religious communities
recently. This is not surprising when one considers the many contradictions between
basic religious teachings and the realities of modern livestock agriculture and
the consumption of meat:
1) While religion stresses compassion for animals,
animals are raised for food today on "factory farms" under cruel conditions,
where they are denied fresh air, space to move easily, and any emotional stimulation.
2) While religion teaches that people be very careful about preserving
their health and their lives, animal-centered diets have been linked to heart
disease, several forms of cancer, strokes, and other degenerative diseases.
3) While religion emphasizes sharing with hungry people, 70% of the grain
in the United States is fed to animals destined for slaughter, as an estimated
20 million people die annually because of hunger and its effects.
religion teaches that "the earth is the Lord's" and that people are
to be partners with G-d in preserving the world and seeing that the earth's resources
are properly used, animal-based diets require the wasteful use of food, land,
water, energy, and other resources, and contributes substantially to soil erosion
and depletion, air and water pollution, the destruction of tropical rain forests
and other habitats, and potential global warming.
I believe that we should
respectfully ask people who take religious values seriously: in view of strong
religious mandates to be compassionate to animals, preserve health, help feed
hungry people, protect the environment, conserve resources, and seek and pursue
peace, and the very negative effects animal-centered diets have in each of these
areas, shouldn't you seriously consider switching to a vegetarian diet?
WHY JEWS SHOULD BE VEGETARIANS
I was pleased to see the articles on "Religion
and Vegetarianism" in the February/March issue. I believe that vegetarians
should try to start respectful dialogues in religious communities about our diets,
because there are major inconsistencies between basic religious values and the
realities of modern livestock agriculture and the consumption of meat. The following
points are presented based on Jewish teachings, but they can easily be adapted
to other religious perspectives:
1) While Judaism mandates that people
be very careful about preserving their health and their lives, animal-centered
diets have been linked to heart disease, several forms of cancer, stroke, and
other degenerative diseases.
2) While Judaism stresses that people are
to share their bread with hungry people, 70% of the grain grown in the United
States is fed to animals destined for slaughter, as 20 million people die annually
because of hunger and its effects.
3) While Judaism teaches that "the
earth is the Lord`s" and that people are to be partners with G-d in preserving
the world and seeing that the earth`s resources are properly used, animal-based
diets require the wasteful use of food, land, water, energy, and other resources,
and contribute substantially to soil erosion and depletion, air and water pollution,
the destruction of tropical rain forests and other habitats, and potential global
4) While Judaism emphasizes compassion for animals, animals are
raised for food today under cruel conditions, in crowded cells, where they are
denied fresh air, exercise, and any emotional stimulation.
5) While Judaism
stresses that people must seek and pursue peace and that violence results from
unjust conditions, animal-centered diets, by wasting valuable resources, help
to perpetuate the widespread hunger and poverty that eventually lead to instability
In summary, in view of strong Jewish mandates to preserve health,
help feed the hungry, protect the environment, conserve resources, be compassionate
to animals, and seek and pursue peace, and the very negative effects animal-centered
diets have in each of these areas, I hope that Jews and others who take religious
values seriously will seriously consider switching to vegetarian diets?
to Schwartz Collection