Sample Lesson: Vegetarianism & Non-Violence
sarisrp khaga maksinah
atmanah putravat pasyet
tair esam antaram kiyat
“One should treat animals such as deer, camels, asses, monkeys, mice, snakes, birds and flies exactly like one’s own son. How little difference there actually is between children and these innocent animals. ”
Ten Good Reasons to Eat a Vegetarian Diet
1. Body Design
Some animals have bodies that are designed specially for meat-eating. It seems that humans are not one of those animals. Many who have studied the subject conclude that humans, judging from the way their bodies are designed, appear to be plant eaters.
The sharp claws of flesh-eaters help them tear flesh. Humans do not have claws.
Flesh-eaters have long-pointed teeth. Out teeth are designed for grinding food, not tearing flesh. We can only chew flesh that has been cooked or ground up.
Flesh-eaters chew in an up and down motion, swallowing large chunks of food. Humans and other herbivores chew in a slightly circular motion, grinding the food.
Flesh-eaters have acidic saliva, while humans have alkaline saliva. Flesh-eaters do not have a digestive enzyme in their mouths, but humans do. This helps grains to start digesting.
The stomach of a flesh-eater has at least 10 times the amount of hydrochloric acid as the stomachs of humans and other herbivores.
Flesh-eaters have intestines that are short and straight, which lets flesh pass through quickly without rotting. Humans have long, twisted intestines, which are designed to digest foods through a process of fermentation. In the human intestines, flesh putrefies and gives of toxins before it can pass through the body.
Flesh-eaters are designed to eat high-cholesterol, high fat, low-fiber diets which are healthy for them. This type of diet in humans causes many diseases.
Drinking and Cooling
Flesh-eaters drink by lapping water, while vegetarians drink bu sucking. Flesh-eaters cool themselves by panting through their open mouths. Herbivores and humans cool themselves by sweating.
Studies show that a vegetarian diet can reduce the instances of the most common degenerative diseases. Vegetarians have lower instances of:
breast cancer ovarian cancer peptic ulcers
diabetes osteoporosis heart disease
strokes kidney stones anemia
You may be surprised at the variety of chemicals present in today’s meat, dairy products and eggs. They include antibiotics, insecticides, herbicides, larvicides, chemicals from synthetic fertilizers, hormones, growth stimulants, tranquilizers and appetite stimulants. Illegal levels of pesticies and drugs occur most often in port, followed by beef, and then poultry.
Many times what we think of as gastric flu is acutally food poisoning, a condition that kills about 9000 people a year. Salmonella food poisoning may strike between 30,000 to 4 million people per year in the United States. The USDA resports that 1/3 of all raw poultry in the U.S. is contaminated with salmonella bacteria. It is also responsibile for even more cases of campylobacter food poisoning, another type of bacteria.
It is much more costly to produce meat than grains. The same plot of land that can produce enough plants to feed 12 people can only feed 1 person if the grains are first fed to an animal to be eaten.
Meat is subsidized by the government. That is another way of saying that the government helps the meat industry pay its bills. Some our our tax money is used for this purpose. If not, a pound a meat would cost much, much, more than it sells for in the store. One estimate puts the cost of hamburger at $35 per pound!
Add to this the cost of money spent in medical care as a result of diseases caused from a meat-based diet. And don’t forget to add the cost of water, fertilizer, insecticides and the damage to the environment caused from raising and slaughtering animals.
Meat, dairy, and egg production hurt the environment by polluting water, polluting the atmosphere and contributing to rainforest destruction. Livestock production and slaughter are the main sources of water pollution in the US. Run-off from dairy farms also pollutes water. Modern methods of growing animal feed have contributed to topsoil erosion on US farmlands. Chemical fertilizers used for livestock feed contribute nitrous oxide to the environment, which is a major cause of global warming. Plowing down forests to make grazing land for livestock is another contributor to global warming.
Cattle produce 16 times as much waste as humans. The methane released in these huge amounts of manure is one of the causes of reducing the ozone layer. One of the main reasons rainforests are being destroyed is to provide grazing land for cattle, raised for inexpensive meat. One plant or animal species becomes extinct each day as the rainforest dwindles.
Wildlife Displacesment and Death
More land is being turned into grazing pasture for cattle and sheep. This means that there is less and less land for wildlife. Coyotes, mountain lions, wolves, wild horses and bears are just some of the animals that need plenty of space to roam. They need sufficient land to hunt their prey or to graze and forage upon. As this needed land gets turned into pasture, they find themselves trying to survive in areas which may not be able to support much wildlife.
Angry ranchers won’t hesitate to kill wild animals who may threaten their livestock. The barbed wire fencing that surrounds grazing lands has become a leading source of death for deer and antelope. The government even uses our tax dollars to kell thousand of animals and birds to “protect agriculutural interests.”
Food animals raising in the US consume an amount of grain that could feed five times the US human population. Livestock eat over 80% of the corn and 95% of the oats grown in the US. If we compare the amount of protein an acre of land can produce growing different vegetable products to an acre of land used for meat production, we find that:
One acre of cereals = five times more protein
One acre of legumes = ten times more protein
One acre of leafy vegetables = 15 times more protein
And all that food that we export to other countries?
That’s not necessarily going to feed the hungry people of the world. Two-thirds of our agricultural exports go to livestock, not people.
In other words, We wouldn’t have to worry about feeding our expanding population if people followed a vegetarian diet.
Compassion and Non-violence
An amazing 95% of the animals deliberately killed in the U.S. each year are killed for food. If everyone in the U.S. were vegetarian, it would prevent the suffering of over 9 billion animals every year.
Animals suffer terriblly during their lives in factory farms and on their way to and in the stockyards and slaughterhouses. These animals did not have a happy life before they were killed. We’ll learn more about that in the next lesson.
People suffer too, and not just from eating the meat. Slaughterhouses have the highest rate of employee injuries of any job.
Meat is murder. To eat meat means that you must take the life of a living, breathing, feeling being. If you value peace, yet eat meat, maybe it’s time to adjust your eating habits.
Eating meat doesn’t just affect your body and the environment. It affects your consciousness and your future life also. We learn from the scriptures that every action we perform has a reaction. Good actions give us good reactions. Bad actions will make us suffer bad reactions. And the scripture is very clear in stating that eating meat, particularly cows, is a very bad action.
The Srimad Bhagavatam tells us, “Those who are ignorant of real dharma and are wicked and haughty, account themselves virtuous and kill animals without any feeling of remorse or fear of punishment. Further, in their next lives, such sinful persons will be eaten by the same creatures they have killed in this world.”
We’ve seen that the saying, “You are what you eat!” is quite true. It may be more accurate to say, “You will become what you eat!”
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