Narasimha, the fourth avatar of Lord Vishnu, was born from a powerful and tumultuous blaze of fire in a beautiful golden twilight, before making his way to the earthly realms.
He was sent by Krishna to liberate the oppressed and punish the evil king, Hiranyakashipu. The mere sight of Narasimha, who was half lion and half man, filled Hiranyakashipu with terror and dread. Narasimha then proceeded to tear into the king’s chest, bring his years of tyranny and cruelty to an end.
Having accomplished his mission, Narasimha then transformed into a gentle and compassionate being, kindness emanating from his aura. He graced the earth with a renewed sense of hope and fearlessness. With heavenly music filling the air and a sight of mercy, he granted people with his divine blessings and protection.
His legend and deeds soon spread far and wide, and ever since, people have praised and celebrated him for his infinite strength and compassion. His presence is still venerated today, for the invaluable contribution he made to protect the innocent and punish the wicked.
Narasimha continues to serve as an example to all of us, to demonstrate courage and strength in the face of oppression and suffering. Through his remarkable journey, we’ve been reminded that justice always triumphs, no matter how dark and difficult the times be.
The practice of killing and eating animals for sustenance has been a part of human existence for thousands of years. Despite this fact, many people today still choose to consume meat and animal products even when presented with alternative options. Much of this decision to maintain a diet of animal products is justified with religious arguments, suggesting that eating meat is acceptable because it is sanctioned by religious beliefs and doctrines. This paper will look at the implications of these arguments and demonstrate that the justification of meat eating based on religion is inaccurate, deeply ignorant and inherently unethical.
Religion and Meat Eating: Different Sects of Belief
The acceptance of meat eating with regards to religious belief varies widely across different sects. Some religions view meat as a necessary part of a spiritual practice, while others have adopted more moderate stances, tolerating the consumption if it within certain limits. Not all religions consider meat to be a ‘moral’ food, with there being significant variance even within Christianity, for example. Among the various sects of Christianity, there is a complex hierarchy of beliefs and practices related to diet, but there is near-universal agreement that ‘meat’, or sacrifice animals, are improper.
Given the complexity of such beliefs and the range of different sects, it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions about how different faiths perceive the consumption of meat. However, the overall consensus among scholars is that, without taking into account the different sects, religion does not necessarily condone the mistreatment of animals or the consumption of meat simply for sustenance.
Religion and Meat Eating: Views on Animal Welfare
In addition to the difference in religious beliefs around the consumption of meat, there is also a strong argument against mistreating animals in the name of conscience and ethics. From a religious perspective, it is seen as wrong to treat animals inhumanely and to ignore their suffering. This line of thought is shared among all major religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and Islam. Furthermore, the Bible specifically prohibits any act that causes suffering or pain to animals (Genesis 9:4).
In contrast to this explicit command, the practices of industrialized meat production have become increasingly widespread. Such practices are notorious for their maltreatment of animals and disregard for their well-being. This is seen in the methods of factory farming, where animals are forced to live in overcrowded and filthy conditions, treated with extreme neglect, and often made to suffer in terrible conditions. Furthermore, animals in industrialized production are given a growth hormone to boost production which can lead to illnesses and infections, as well as being mutilated without anaesthetic.
The bottom line is that the practices of industrialized meat production are in direct violation of the ethical guidelines set out by many religions. This means that any attempt to justify meat-eating with religious arguments is hypocritical and ignores the implications of animal suffering.
Religion and Meat Eating: Ignoring the Alternatives
A final reason why religious justification for meat-eating is ignorant and unethical is that it ignores the many other options for sustenance that are available. It is now possible to obtain a healthy and nutritious diet without relying on meat or animal products. Research has demonstrated that replacing animal foods with plant-based alternatives can help to prevent many chronic illnesses, including heart disease and certain types of cancer. Furthermore, this kind of diet is significantly more sustainable and has far less of an environmental impact.
Indeed, the potential of sustainable and ethical food sources is an issue that has been addressed by many religions. In Islam, for example, the Qur’an states that consuming plant-based diets is indicative of humanity’s deep relationship with the natural world and an act of responsible custodianship (Qur’an 6:145-146). Therefore, to ignore these ethical and ecologically-friendly options in the name of religious tradition is both ignoring the potential benefit to the environment and to one’s health, and disregarding religious teachings on the natural world.
Overall, the argument that religious sanctioning allows for the consumption of meat is outdated and inaccurate. As has been demonstrated in this paper, the implications of such thinking are deeply ignorant and unethical, as it ignores animal welfare, the environmental consequences, and alternative diets that can be more sustainably and ethically sourced. Therefore, arguments for meat eating in the name of religion are inexcusable and should not be tolerated.
This book really opened my eyes. I was already vegan and well aware of the horrific abuse of animals in factory farms, but this book helped me really see and understand just how serious the situation is from a health perspective, animal abuse perspective, and environmental crisis perspective as well. Sarah Taylor cites important peer reviewed research to give you the information needed to understand WHY? & HOW? to go from Vegetarian to Vegan.
“I could never be vegan, I love cheese too much.”
Chances are if you’re a vegetarian, vegan or know anyone who is you’ve heard or even said this before. No doubt, you’ve thought it before. Cheese and other dairy products are everywhere in the American diet and that’s the way we love it. We add it to our eggs, our sandwiches, our cakes; we fry it, grill it, cream it, and even string it. It has embedded itself into our culture, become a staple of comfort in our diet and adopted the term “American”. But is it really good; not just for us, but for those that produce it?
Cheese is not the only dairy product we’re obsessed with, though it may be the only one with its own category of addiction (cheese addiction being an actual issue now), eggs and milk have become a mainstay of our diets as well.
Just learning about how horribly the animals are treated, abused, tortured and murdered should be reason enough to stop contributing to this madness, but Sarah gives compelling research showing how this animal agriculture business is literally destroying our environment at accelerated levels everyday. The demand for meat and dairy is just not sustainable.
After all the research she shares about why you should go vegan from vegetarian and then how, which is dealing with the health benefits and how to start replacing dairy and eggs with healthful vegan options, she ends the book with many great recipes by vegan chef Mark Reinfeld.
In the very beginning of her book Vegetarian to Vegan, Sarah Taylor makes a point of giving vegetarians credit for the ways their food choices help animals. And she should know, having been a vegetarian herself until 2002.
That’s when Sarah read John Robbins’ Diet for a New America. His groundbreaking indictment of how America’s milk and egg producers were torturing dairy animals and chickens while destroying the environment persuaded her to go vegan overnight.
She wrote Vegetarian to Vegan to give anyone wanting to make the same switch “a strong enough reason to do it.”
Without brow-beating the reader, Taylor specifically details the short, painful lives and cruel deaths of dairy cows and egg-laying chickens.
Of dairy cows, she writes that between 1950 and 2000, their numbers decreased by half — yet the amount of milk they produced more than tripled. The brutal facts?
Dairy cows live with no access to pasture.
They’re separated from their calves within two hours of giving birth.
They’re also milked by machine several times a day.
Having to yield such an excessive amount of milk is unsafe and unsanitary. Most dairy cows live lives of misery before heading to slaughter at just four years old.
Taylor’s description of egg farms reminded me of the endless stacks of crammed-full cages I’ve seen when visiting them. The hens on lower levels were covered in urine and feces. The smell was unbearable — and unforgettable.
But I’ve also seen so-called “cage-free” chickens living in terrible conditions, with dead hens littering their enclosure’s floor.
What’s worse, Taylor writes, is that egg-laying chickens often turn on each other:
“Cannibalism [among chickens] is a major problem in battery cage systems, but is even worse in free-range and cage-free systems as the hens have greater access to each other and are harder to control.”
In the book’s Part 1, Taylor also bolsters her argument for making the vegetarian-to-vegan switch by pointing out the health and environmental benefits that come from giving up dairy and eggs:
“The truth is that these products are terrible for your health, terrible for our environment, and in almost all cases, are unconscionably cruel to animals.”
In Part 2, she moves on to covering all the bases of making the change. This is where you’ll find info on:
• Learning to tell healthy from junk vegan foods.
• Getting enough protein, calcium and Vitamin B12 on a vegan diet.
• Eating out and entertaining vegan-style.
• Staying vegan away from home.
• Vegan substitutes for eggs, dairy foods and honey.
Part 3 is devoted to cooking vegan, with an extensive collection of recipes and tips by vegan chef Mark Reinfeld.
For any vegetarian struggling to give up dairy and eggs, this book is one of the most important that plant-based literature has to offer!
I highly recommend this book to anyone, wherever they are in their journey, whether meat eater, vegetarian or vegan. It’s thoroughly researched and filled with data that is undeniable in consideration of the impact we all have individually with our eating and spending choices.
To your health, peace to the planet and may all beings be happy and at peace.
Life Coach, Entrepreneur, Social Media Expert, Musician, Yoga Teacher, World Traveler