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The Logic Of Vegetarianism

By Dr. J. Das

Some time ago the Link Newspaper carried an article and photograph of Ravi Chand and Sangeeta Kumar titled “Vegan Pair Credit Traditional Indian Values for Imparting Bounty of Compassion”.

I congratulate these two for promoting compassion towards animals. However, let us look at vegetarianism from a wider angle:

In every activity of life we like to have positive results for others and ourselves. Vegetarianism is a lifestyle that is positive and benefits all people, animals, natural resources and the atmosphere. Unless we examine this subject, we will not see the merits of vegetarianism, and will not modify our lifestyle to reap positive benefits.

Let us consider the benefits of a vegetarian life:

No.1. Health: a vegetarian lifestyle promotes better general health and longevity. It has been estimated that vegetarians live approximately seven years longer than non-vegetarians do, and are generally healthier. This lifestyle also helps to maintain proper weight, and decrease the epidemic of obesity and diabetes. For health, there is ample protein in a balanced vegetarian diet.

No. 2. Conservation: Vegetarians can be supported by half an acre of land, but non-vegetarians require three and a half acres of land. This is because of the need for pasture and land for growing grain and hay to feed cattle. Enormous quantities of water are required for producing and slaughtering animals. It requires 15 lbs. of grain to produce 1 lb. of beef. This is the law of diminishing returns, and no sensible person will like to make such investments.

No. 3. Food supply: There will be much more food for a hungry world if all the land used for producing meat, were used to produce grains and vegetables. Many more people can live off of 15 lbs. of grain than off 1 lb. of beef. Currently most of the grain and soybeans are used to feed cattle instead of people.

No. 4. Pollution: Cattle farming produces a great deal of pollution to land and water, and produces a great deal of methane gas that increases the greenhouse effect. This pollution often results in diseases and deaths as occurred in Walkerton, Ontario.

No. 5. Diseases: Several serious diseases come from animals. Think of Mad Cow disease, SARS, Avian flu, and E. Coli infections. Animals also suffer diseases that may not be detected, and are processed with the meat for human consumption

No. 6. Ethics and Compassion: Animals are helpless and innocent about their fate. Is it ethical or compassionate to feed and raise animals that have no clue of what will happen to them, then kill them? Human beings need to have reverence for life, since they cannot create life.

No. 7. Violence: Killing is a violent act. Killing a human is punishable by life imprisonment or, in many cases, by death. Similarly, killing animals is a violent act and will produce certain negative effects in people who kill or condone the killing of animals. This is the law of karma.

No. 8. Adaptation: The animals raised for food are vegetarians. They have teeth for grinding vegetable matter. Neither these animals nor humans have long canine teeth for tearing flesh, as do the carnivorous animals. These animals and humans do not have claws for grabbing and tearing flesh. There are many more similarities between human beings and vegetarian animals.

No. 9. Stamina: Note that all strong and hard working animals are vegetarians. They are active all day, whereas carnivorous animals are slothful, and become active when they are hungry, and need to hunt. Human beings are similar to the vegetarian animals in this respect. Also note that the biggest and strongest animals are vegetarians.

No. 10. Comparison of animal and vegetable life: People often argue that vegetarians kill plants. The degree of manifestation of the life force, or the degree of consciousness, is considerably less in plants than in animals. Killing animals creates a great deal more of negative karmas. Spiritually, this is wrong. Nearly all plants will grow more shoots when cut. You can replant a piece of potato, carrot or cuttings of plants, and have a greater supply. You cannot do this with animals.

Considering the above, do people still have to eat meat? Would not a vegetarian lifestyle be more humane, healthy and environmentally sound?

Dr. J. Das is a Surrey-based writer and spiritualist! He is also the head of the Kabir Association of Canada and member of the Global Clergy Association of Canada.

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