International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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15th World Vegetarian Congress 1957
Delhi/Bombay/Madras/Calcutta, India

THE LOGIC OF VEGETARIANISM
GEOFREY L. RUDD
(Secretary the Vegetarian Society-Editor of World Forum)

Physiology
It is only with very great diffidence that we write a vegetarian message to India, which has millions of vegetarians, but it is hoped that the following thoughts will be of interest, if only to show how we are tackling the problem in Britain.

Physically we belong to the animal kingdom. Whatever we may think about ourselves spiritually the fact remains that we function in an animal body and there is very little difference between ourselves and the anthropoids - the main distinction is spiritual with greater powers of reasoning through a more highly developed brain mechanism.

Darwin, Baron Cuvier, Sir Charles Bell and others have testified to this assertion. W. E. le Gros Clarke, Professor of Anatomy at Oxford University, states in his History of The Primates : "Man shows such remarkable resemblances to the lower animals that it now seems astonishing to us that his kinship with them should ever have been seriously controverted. His skull and skeleton are composed of the same bony elements his muscular system is made up of identical muscles disposed in the same general pattern, his heart and blood-vessels are constructed on exactly the same plan, and even his brain (though more elaborate) is made of the same basic elements. Anatomically, therefore, Man is simply one of the animals.

There is nothing to be ashamed of in this. We should be glad for scientific proof of the unity of life and that we find ourselves at the apex of development.

Our remote ancestors are said to have been ape-like creatures, hairy and savage, living in caves and almost entirely on flesh. But very recent discoveries show that Neanderthal Man was preceded by beings more similar to ourselves with an almost equal brain capacity. This fact is revealed by the finding of the much earlier Swanscombe Man in the Thames Valley, and is a fragmentary evidence that the flesh-eating Man may have been a temporary descent inhuman evolution and not a natural evolutionary stage. There is no real evidence that Man has evolved from apes. It is more likely that we have always belonged to a distinct stream of evolutionary development.

A descent to flesh eating could quite easily have been caused by the Ice Ages which devastated all vegetation and compelled the few survivors to turn cannibal and carnivorous in order to exist. It is very significant that in India, which was not touched by the later glacial periods, vegetarianism has survived throughout know history - flesh-eating being probably introduced by Northern barbarians escaping the arctic conditions, or being the end product of degeneration.

If, as is still supposed in scientific circles, we had evolved from a truly carnivorous species we should still have the anatomical make-up of a carnivore, because insufficient time has elapsed for so drastic a structural change to have taken place. There can be no doubt whatsoever that, from time to time immemorial, Man has evolved as a frugivorous creature - the physiological differences between the carnivora and frugivora are so vast and distinctive that no biologist or anatomist could truthfully state otherwise.

The following facts cannot be changed:

We belong to the Order of Mammalia, i.e., we are creatues whose mothers suckle their young with milk, a peculiarity we share with horses, monkeys, whales, cows and sheep among others.

This Order is subdivided into four main groups - the Carnivora and Omnivora (flesh-eaters) which are more nearly akin in habit and structure; and the Herbivora and Frugivora (vegetarian) which share some distinctions. It should be borne in mind that an animal is not classed by observing its eating habits, which may be temporarily unnatural, but by its anatomy - biologists may, to further their own flesh-eating habits, deny this, but their text books state otherwise

The Carnivora:

  1. All have a relatively short bowel to enable rapidly decomposing substances to be ejected quickly before toxic materials have time to poison the blodstream through absorption.
  2. Have long sabre-like teeth and sharp retractable claws specially adapted for killing and holding down living prey.
  3. Have jaws which only open and shut in an upward and downward motion.
  4. Do not sweat through the skin. Excess moisture is excreted through the bladder.
  5. Body temperature is controlled by the rate of breathing and extruding the tongue.
  6. Their saliva does not pre-digest starches, being minus ptyalin.
  7. They secrete about ten times more hydrochloric acid in their digestive systems than vegetarian creatures - sufficient to dissolve bones eaten with meat.
  8. They lap water with their tongues, like a cat.

In marked contrast, Frugivora :

  1. Have very long bowels by comparison, because their natural food gives up its nutrients slowly, and not being bacterially poisonous do not cause auto-intoxication. Incidentally, foods which give up their energy slowly, give stamina, and are not stimulants, like meat.
  2. Are not equipped to kill living prey there are very few meat animals a man could catch and kill with his bare hands. Instruments are necessary.
  3. Their jaws not only open and shut but have a lateral motion for chewing, salivating, and the partial digestion of starches with the ferment, ptyalin.
  4. They sweat through the skin - like horses and human beings.
  5. Body heat is controlled by the opening and closing of the pores and by the excretion of sweat.
  6. Teeth are of a distinct shape and have a different enamel. Raw flesh can only be eaten with great difficulty and human beings usually take it partly cremated.
  7. Liquids are taken by suction through the teeth, not by lapping.

These, then, are some of the main characteristics of flesh-eaters and vegetarians - under no circumstances could Man be mistaken for a carnivore. The fact that a proportion of Mankind has, from time to time tried to turn omnivorous in habit does does not mean that he has been successful or that he is omnivorous from an anatomical point of view. He is a Frugivore.

In Britain, with a population of about 50,000,000 people we spend £600,000,000 annually trying to bolster up the crumbling health of the nation. Flesh-eating nations have the biggest incidence of cancer and other diseases of degeneration. The figures are the measure of the success of omnivorism and orthodox medical practices - most of the money goes to drug manufacturers, doctors, and surgeons. Nearly 300,000,000 medical prescriptions are sold yearly by 13,000 chemists This should be contrasted with the perfect health of the vegetarian Hunzas who have no "civilized" diseases.

There is every justification, on physiological grounds alone, for assuming that the further we get away from fruit, nuts, whole grains and succulent leafy vegetables, the less likely we are to be healthy. The practice of vegetarianism shows that the body responds favourably and immediately to the restoration of a natural diet. Nature Cure is relatively new in the West but your healers have practised it for ages, and this is one of the valuable things you can teach us.

Prior to the Ice Ages we must have evolved for millions of years on a vegetarian diet and experience over the last hundred years or so shows that even in Northern countries the return to it is remedial and a guard against ill-health. In a land with plenty of sunshine, a food in itself, vegetarianism is easier and has produced some of the finest physical specimens found anywhere - to say nothing of unsurpassed intellectuals.


BASIC ALLOWANCES
Moderately Active Calories Protein Calcium Iron Vit.A Vit.B Riboflavin Nic. Acid Vit.C
Man 3000 82g .8g 12mg 6000iu 1.0 1.5mg 10mg 30mg
Woman 2500 69g .8g 12mg 5000iu 1.0 1.5mg 10mg 30mg
Child 4-6 1600 56g 1.0g 8mg 3000iu .6 1.0mg 6mg 15mg
Boy 13-15 3150 110g 1.4g 15mg 3000iu 1.3 1.0mg 13mg 30mg
Girl 13-15 2750 95g 1.3g 15mg 3000iu 1.1 1.6mg 11mg 30mg
Nutritive allowances suggested by the British Medical Association - based on the requirements of flesh-eaters whose diet inhibits absorption of a proportion of elements needed. A vegetarian can manage with considerably less.

FOOD VALUES
ONE OUNCE Calories Protein Calcium Iron Vit.A Vit.B Ribo Nic. Vit.C
Brown Bread 69 2.5g 31mg .6mg - .07mg .03mg .9mg -
Butter 211 .1g 4mg trace 850iu - - - -
Cheese 117 7.1g 230mg .2mg 369iu .01mg .14mg .1mg -
Margarine 218 - 1mg .1mg 850iu - - - -
Cabbage (raw) 7 .4g 18mg .3mg 255iu .02mg .02mg .1mg 20mg
Carrot (raw) 6 .2g 14mg .2mg 5179iu .02mg .01mg .2mg 3mg
Lentil 81 6.7g 11mg 2.2mg 14iu .13mg .02mg .1mg 20mg
Lettuce 3 .3g 7mg .2mg 1131iu .02mg .02mg .1mg 4mg
Apple 12 .1g 1mg .1mg 11iu .01mg - .1mg 1mg
Figs Dried 58 1.0g 81mg 1.2mg 26iu - .08mg .5mg -
Prunes 44 .7g 11mg .8mg 709iu - .04mg .6mg -
Raisins 67 .3g 17mg .5mg 14iu - .01mg .1mg -
Almonds 164 5.8g 70mg 1.2mg - .07mg .05mg .4mg -
Soya Flour 121 11.5g 62mg 2.0mg - .19mg .04mg 1.0mg -
Figures showing values of a few articles of food - from H.M.S.O. "Nutritive Values of Wartime Foods."

When a Vegetarian Eats Flesh

It is very easy to overlook the real reasons for eating. These are simple:

  1. To promote the development of the human mechanism when we are young.
  2. To supply fuel for energy
  3. To maintain the physical structure, bones, tissues, organs, and bloodstream at the peak of effifiency.

If we eat too little we suffer from deficiency diseases; too much overburdens the organs of elimination and leads to toxication and the diversion of energy from normal functioning; materials eaten which are not nutritive tent ro be irritants and set up abnormalities like cancer and other diseases.

It is therefore, a matter of intelligence to choose those foods which fulfil normal requirements efficently, economically, and preferably without causing interference with other forms of sentient life. The diet of a frugivore does not destroy life - the fruits, nuts and grains are produced in nature far in excess of the needs of reproduction and the plant is not killed.

When a true vegetarian turns to flesh-eating the following things happen:

1. The type of intestinal flora is changed from fermentative to putrefactive bacteria, yet the long bowel is retained which is specially adapated for the former. Poison elements are therefore absorbed into the bloodstream to the detriment of health.

2. In a vegetarian animal Vitamin B12 is mostly synthesized during digestive processes, though some is found in plant foods. Meat toxins inhibit this natural development and cause anaemia. They also tend to pervert the metabolism of carbohydrates and cause diabetes.

3. Although we do not deny that some second-hand protein may be obtained from flesh it comes to us with other substances, which under no circumstances can be called nutritive.

  1. The toxic wastes of spent energy from the animal's bloodstream.
  2. Fear poisons released in the animal's bloodstream immediately before slaughter: (this is nature's way of guarding against the effects of shock and pain).
  3. As soon as an animal dies putrefactive decomposition commences with the bacterial organisms prolificating every 15 minutes, or quicker. Over 90 per cent of cases of food poisoning are caused by these germs, many of these are not destroyed in cooking processes and those which are leave their toxic bodies behind. Over 50 per cent of beef is germ-laden water.
  4. Domesticated animals suffer from a long list of diseases through unnatural living, forced feeding causing fatty degeneration of all organs, endocrine interference by castration, exploitation of sex functions, and rapid breeding.

These include contagious abortion, swine fever, foot and mouth disease, cancer, tuberculosis, mastitis, general catarrhal conditions, etc, In Britain up to 60 percent of carcasses are sometimes condemned from a very cursory examination and many diseases cannot be detected except by a careful post mortem.

4. The presence of greasy animal fats lining the human gut tends to inhibit calcium intake, and although calcium is present in appreciable quantities in most foddstuffs, calcium deficiency is widespread - leading to faulty bones, teeth and general inefficiency.

5. Animal fats also contain cholesterol which is now known to be the chief cause of coronary diseases of the heart - which are increasing among "civilized" people.

We think the foregoing facts make it clear that flesh-foods are not a good source of protein, the main item for which flesh is eaten. The terms first and second class protein, we read in The Extra Pharmacopoeia (the leading medical authority), came into being during the first World War and were based on "incomplete analyses of pure protein and on inadequate experiments on rats... the terms have now become meaningless and should be discarded."

Furthermore, amino acids, which are the componets of protein, can be changed during digestion from one kind to another. So the quasi-scientific argument sometimes put forward that a vegetarian diet might not provide the right kinds of amino acids has no foundation. Creatures of great strength and endurance obtain all their nourishment from a few simple herbs and leaves.

So here again we find that ordinary commonsense should lead us to either become or remain vegetarian.

NUTRITIONAL REQUIREMENTS & SOURCES

Proteins - amino acids

Proteins are complex substances conitaining anything up to 20 amino acids. They are needcd for growth and the maintenance of tissues. It is sometimes argued by flesh-eaters that the best source of protein is meat, because it is already in a form suitable for human requirements. To which we answer that the most perfect form is human flesh - why not eat that. This immediately shows that there is a moral question in our choice of food and me are then only confronted with the problem of where we draw the line.

Tho primary source of protoins, and all nutritional material. is in the vegetable kingdom. Whole grains, nuts, beans, peas, (eggs and cheese), are better sources of protein than meat. Not only weight for weight but have none of the disadvantages previously listed.

Proteins are greatly affected by heat cooking but excess tends to alter their natural structure and affects general availability. Cooking, of course, denatures and devitalizes all foodstuffs. About 2 1/2 to 3 ozs. is the maximum daily need from all sources for Europeans. Growing children and athletes need only slightly more than active adults.

Carbohydrates (starches and sugars)

Meat as a source of carbohydrates is negligible. The difficulty is to avoid their excess use, not to find them. They are found in grains and food products made with them; in fruit and vegetable.

Most plants store their reserves of food in the form of starch, which is a chemical combination of glucose units. In cereals it remains as starch but the process of ripening in the sun turns fruit starches into sugar. We tend to get too much starch because we cook grains-plants store it in little waterproof capsules which, if eaten raw, would resist complete digestion. The process of excessive cooking bursts these capsules and releases all the starch.

All sweet fruits, from apples to raisins, are good sources, so are honey, cane and tree sugars. There are five principal kinds: glucose, from plants; fructose, from plants and honey; sucrose, from cane, beets, carrots, melons and sweet fruits; lactose, from human and animal milk; maltose, which is formed during grain germination and fermentative processes.

Refined white sugar should be avoided as it is pure carbohydrate, without its balancing minerals and vitamins; and while being a quick source of energy in an emergency is merely catarrh-forming in continual use. Extra energy calls for extra carbohydrates, not protein. Recent experiments with American athletes show that better results are achieved with a low protein diet.

Fats - energy reserves

All the necessary fats and oils are readily available in a vegetarian diet from nuts of all kinds, many fruits like olives, an infinite variety of seeds from which most of our modern cooking fats are made. Milk and its products are also good sources if used. It may be appropriate to state here that dairy producc is not considered to be ideal - but at least it is a progressive step away from ages of flesh-eating and its use does away with most of the exploitation connected with meat-eating.

Vegetable fats do not contain cholesterol and do not, therefore, cause heart diseases.

The main purpose of cating fats is to store up reserves of energy in the body. Only small quantities are required daily - an excess can quite easily lead to a comatose condition, and slow down the absorption of other nutrients. Greasy meat fats always have this effect, thus affecting digestion and the ability to think.

Minerals and elements

Flesh-foods are a very poor source of essential minerals and generally speaking the close association of vitamins is necessary for the proper metabolism to take place.

Minerals maintain the alkalinity of the blood, help in metabolic processes, and form a basis for the physical structure - bones, teeth, organs and tissues. Deficiencies soon show in symptoms of degeneration. The main sources are found in the vegetable kingdom and in dairy produce (secondhand).

The principal minerals and elements are: sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, sulphur, iodine, fluorine, iron, copper, zinc, cobalt, manganese, silicon, oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and a number of trace elements.

All play their various parts in structural maintenance, growth, nervous and mental activity. They are found in a natural balance in fruit, nuts, whole grains, seeds, vegetables, and legumes.

Vitamins

The primary source of all vitamins is the vegetable kingdom. Doctors tell us that the richest source of vitamin A is liver. But we also have livers which are a rich storehouse for vitamin A if, like the creatures in question, we have the intelligence to eat the right foods, The liver of any animal is its own property and was not meant for human use.

Heavy supplementary doses of any vitamin are mostly wasted because the body only uses what is necessary in conjunction with available minerals - all vegetable foods present minerals and vitamins in the balance desirable for animal and human use.

The list of vitamins is far too long to be dealt with here. The vitamins not found in vegetation are either synthesized in the gut or produced by photosynthesis by the sun's action on the skin. Meat toxins are known to inhibit some microbial processes which provide us with certain vitamins. Vitamins, like minerals, are closely connected with all biological functions and are essential for health. Slight and persistent deficiencies cause very distressing illnesses. Plenty of fresh raw foods, all kinds, are necessary for adequate supplies - not flesh foods.

Even this brief survey of nutrients shows that meat is not a good source of food and that killing is quite unnecessary for adequate nutrition.

ECONOMICS OF DIET

Since 250,000,000 Indians are dependent on agricultural pursuits for their livelihood, the economics of food production are of extreme importance. India imports about £115,000,000 worth of grains, pulses and flour a year - all of which she could grow herself much cheaper and even export.

Recent announcement by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, and other authorities, indicate that about 70 per cent of the world population is ill-fed at the present time. At least 100,000,000 extra people will have to be fed in about two years' time with an ever increasing ratio.

The world population to-day is about 2,500,000,000. By the end of the century it may be about 5,000,000,000. What then?

Some territories can be developed for increased food production, but this is not so easy in practice as it is in theory, as witness the failure to convert thousands of acres of African territory to groundnut production. The area of the earth's surface which is capable of yielding food suitable for human consumption is strictly limited and encroaching living space will eat into a larger proportion of whatever is claimed. In Britain alone we are losing 50,000 acres of agricultural land per year through building developmcnt-houses, schools, industrial plants, etc.

At tlie prescnt time tho situation is: rapidly increasing populations and decreasing fertile land. Fertility is also decreasing through the indiscriminate use of artificial fertilizers, which may give an increased yield lor a few Years but lead to a loss of fertility and soil erosion.

It is estimated that there is about ONE acre of fertile land per person in the world available for food production of all kinds.

A flesh eater needs 1.63 acres.

A vegetarian needs .5 or .6 acres.

(in a country of low productivity these figures would be slightly higher).

Of the 1.63 acres required by a flesh-eater 1.3 acres are needed solely to provide flesh foods. The smaller area needed for the vegetarian includes a certain amount of dairy produce.

So we see that anyone insisting on flesh foods is taking more than his fair share of the land available and is, in fact, condemning some of his fellowmen to a starvation diet. There is a moral even in economics.


COMPARATIVE FOOD VALUES
  % % % % %
Foodstuff Water Protein Fat Carbo. Calor.
Sirloin 59 10 23 - 271
Steak 65 17 16 - 212
Mutton 64 16 19 - 235
Cheese 37 25 34 - 410
Peanuts 4 28 49 7.7 584
Brazils 8 14 61 3.7 624
Almonds 5 20 53 3.9 579
Lentils 6 29 - 48.0 287
Soya 7 40 23 13.3 426
These figures, from H.M.S.O. sources, show
that flesh-foods are an inferior source of nutrition
weight for weight. and most of the cost goes in
buying dirty water.
COMPARATIVE COSTS PER TON
Beef £l33   Wheat £31  
Mutton £324   Oats £26  
Pork and Bacon £303   Rye £24  
The above prices were guaranteed to farmers by
the British Government in 1955. The food value
is inverse ratio.

It is sometinies overlooked that an animal epecially bred for its flesh needs a much bigger area of land for its food than a human being. Wages are paid to men to act as nurses and midwives to cattle so in total the unseen cost of meat is colossal. India maintains a cattle population of 150,000,000, the biggest in the world.

Meat is especially dear when it is considered that the land/time which will produce one ton of beef will yield 10 or 20 tons of highly nutritive vegetarian food suitable for direct consumption by human beings.

The situation from a world viewpoint is not yet desperate (only to those who are starving). But we can well imagine the confusion, famine and disease iri a few year's time unless national governments make a logical effort to tackle the problem and accept the obvious conclusion that a vegetarian diet is inevitable.

There is already competition between animals and human beings for land. This will be rapidly intensified and the only solution will be to reduce the breeding of the unnaturally blown up cattle population. We agree that cattle have a right to live and space in which to live, but man tampers with natural breeding and perpetuates forms which may well have served their evolutionary purpose.

Here again the importance of vegetarian societies, with their specialized knowledge and experience, is emphasized. They could act as advisory bodies to local governments and help to educate the people to appreciate that vegetarianism is not something to be feared, but to be welcomed for its hygiene, economy, and promise of better health for themselves and further generations.

In Britain we have a "Committee of Vegetarian Interests " : a Government liaison body drawn from the two big National Vegetarian Societies, food manufacturers, Health Food stores and catering associations.

A recent report on Meat Marketing from the Indian Ministry of Food and Agriculture states that the annual value of meats and edible offals is over 100 crores of rupees and that "Meat is vitally important to the Indian population because their diet is deficient in first class proteins and these could easily be obtained from meat."

The world's foremost medical authority has demolished this unscientific supposition which is being used the world over. A supposition from discredited and inadequate experiments on rats performed more than thirty years ago. If reliance is placed on experiments on rats we recommend those made by Sir Robert McCarrison, who fed two large colonies of them on the vegetarian food of the Hunzas and the typical food of the English. The Hunza fed rats thrived, multiplied, had no illnesses and were good natured. Those fed on the English diet acquired every disease of civilization including rheumstism, cancer, and turned cannibal. They had miscarriages and could not breastfeed their young.

The report also states that there is considerable agitation, in a section of the population (all honour to it) for a complete ban on the slaughter of cattle in India. May we point out that the purpose of a democratic government is to represent the wishes of the people.

"The problem," it goes on to say, "requires to be viewed from a practical economic angle." We are in complete agreement here, but with respect suggest that the proposed increased breeding of improved livestock is doomed to failure before it begins, for the reasons me have already set out.

To emphasize the vegetarian viewpoint, the Ministry admits that India is already "deplorably deficient" in animal feeding stuffs.

It states that the 14 millions of unproductive cattle (a small proportion) eat 8 lbs. per head per day, consume millions of tons of fodder costing Rs. 102.2 crores annually. We leave the reader to work out how much the other 136 millions of cattle, which eat more expensive foods (and probably 80 lbs. per day), and require more attention, will cost; and where the extra foodstuffs are to be obtained - the only answer would be highly expensive imports. The same amount of money could be spent to obtain over twenty times more food for direct human consumption. For every 100lbs. of dry substances eaten by cattle only 4lbs. comes back as meat food - of doubtful value.

A further statement is "Meat has not yet received sufficient recognition as an important food item and has hitherto been regarded as a luxury for the town dweller, The nutritional importance of meat is also practically unknown."

This is very true, but not in the sense intended - the nutritional value of meat has been fully exposed.

We understand the Central Food Technological Institute at Mysore, is chargcd with trying to justify the Indian Ministry's recommendations. We trust the investigations will be unbiased, as befits a scientific institution of excellent reputation, and that full weight will be given to the latest scientific knowledge, as herein surveyed. It is apparent that a programme is being launched based on insufficient and inaccurate information, together with a disregard for conditions in the near future.

Before leaving the subject of economics it should be stated that the present day drive for artificial fertilisers is fraught with danger. There is no objection to moving natural rock sediments from one place to another where there is a marked efficiency, but harsh chemicals from commercial laboratories not only tend to produce quickly grown plants which have not had time to draw up their proper quota of essential trace elements, but kill soil bacteria and worms which are associated with healthy growth. Disease-prone crops are produced and this in turn leads to the use of poisonous pesticides which remain in the plants until they are eaten -- a vicious circle.

Cornposting as evolved and practised on a commercial scale at Indore should play its part in agriculture development - the chief part.

To prove the truth and efficacy of organic composting methods The Soil Association at Haughley, in England, is already well advanced with long term experiments on a scientifically controlled basis. Already evidence is coming forward that the organically nurtured crops have a higher feeding value, that the land is increasing in fertility, while the mixed section is decreasing ; and that the dairy herds on the organic section consistently yield more milk and have a better breeding record. There is also some evidence of a higher vitamin and trace element content in the crops.

A recent Australian expert from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization claims that much of the Australian wheat belt may be undergoing a decline of unexpected seriousness because the use of superphosphates has depleted the nitrogen content of the soil - the first step towards erosion.

Foods produced with forcing chemicals, treated with poisonous insecticides, then contaminated by preservatives, colouring matter, deodorants, anti-staling agents, improvers, and so on, must inevitably lead to ill-health and disease.

HUMANE & AESTHETIC CONSIDERATIONS

The use of flesh-foods means the sacrifice of life in extremely unpleasant circumstances. It means that a creature is strangled, bludgeoned to death, or has its throat cut while fully conscious. What follows is equally revolting - bloodletting, skinning, disembowelling and dissecting. In modern abattoirs the whole process is done while the animal is still warm and hardly through its death throes.

Let no one say that an animal has no premonition of death or that the stench of blood does not fill it with terror. Animals have to be beaten quite savagely in order to get them into abattoirs. (The word abattoir comes from the French, abatre, to beat down,)

No sensitive person, with any compassion or feeling, could possibly share the complicity, let alone do the killing, or endure the agonized cries of victims. It means that callousness is perpetuated in those who, for reasons best known to themselves follow the trade of slaughterer and butcher. In other words the flesheater lets someone else do his dirty work and keeps his conscience at bay by resolutely putting the bestiality from his mind.

It has been estimated that 200,000,000 cattle, including horses, are slaughtered every year - 400,000,000 sheep, 200,000,000 pigs, innumerable birds and rabbits - the hideous slaughter is stupendous and only a relatively small proportion of the creatures have the doubtful benefit of "humane" methods. As the sun rises on each country of the globe a belt of slaughter moves round creating a hell on earth for our less fortunate brethren.

There are also about 20,000,000 vivisection experiments, designed largely to offset the effects of wrong living - chiefly flesh-eating - for people do not want to give up their established ways of life and therefore seek easy panaceas to take the place of self-discipline.

Compared with vegetarian cookery the preparation of decomposing flesh is offensive and a butcher's shop has the stench of a charnel house, for that is what it is.

The dead body of an animal belongs to the forest floor where it returns the elements it borrowed and renews fertility. To turn the humnn stomach into an animal cemetery is, to say the least, a very peculiar choice.

ETHICAL ASPECTS

It should be stated that vegetarianism was established in both the East and the West for ethical reasons. It was based on the recognition of the sacredness of life and that we have no right to kill. The pioneers in England in the 1840's were not even certain that vegetarianism would be practical in our climate but they were sure in their hearts that the taking of life was immoral. As so frequentIy happens, what was right in principle proved to be right in practice.

Scientific knowledge and medical testimony came much later, and although the health side may have tended to obscure the essential ethical basis of vegetaranism, the moral argument is still the more powerful - and unanswerable.

We each have to decirle for ourselves what we consider to be the purpose of life. Is it for the indulgence of selfish desires or for spiritual development ? Is life merely a freak of chance with no purpose?

Those of us who think the world is a playground, a venue for the enjoyment of animal appetites, and an unpremeditated chaos, will not be concerned with the problem of behaviour. But for those who think there is a possibility that life is a medium for soul growth, behaviour is extremely important ; for we are exactly as we act. No more no less.

If we behave brutally or selfishly, then we are brutes and selfish. No religious label or outward facade alters the truth.

As the highest development of creature life on this earth, with more brain power and inventiveness than lesser beings, we can either use our poser to destroy or to cherish and guard. It is a personal choice we each have to make and one which pins us accurately and inlpartially.

We must ask ourselves if killing another being before its life cycle is complete is to that creatures benefit. "In happiness and suffering in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as ire regard ourselves, and should therefore refrain from inflicting upon others such as would appear undesirable to us if inflicted upon ourselves," says the Yogashastra, and is echoed down tlie ages by the Masters.

It may be true that until a certain stage in conscious evolution is reached moral considerations are not important, and that behaviour is govcrnecl by instinct. All of us, however, are constantly faced by a series of moral choices - every hour of the day. The chain reactions of each decision shape our future (our own and other people's). You call the results karma.

Let us consider the moulding of forces of flesh-eating, bearing in mind that the only kind of immorality there is lies in making a bad choice deliberately :-

  1. The selfish destruction of a highly sensitive creature, quite unnecessarily for food gives pain and causes suffering and fear. It robs it of the opportunity to fulfil its purpose in life. At the same time we are very careful to avoid pain and premature death ourselves-why?
  2. Killing has no cultural value. To the contrary it breeds callousness. sadism and irreverence for life.
  3. Killing unnecessarily for food is a manifestation of either a complete lack of thought or selfish greed and a depraved taste-how else may we explain the lust for flesh?
  4. Meat toxins poison the human bloodstream, All human organs need a pure clean bloodstream for the peak of efficiency. The brain is the organ through which we control our bodies and is particularly sensitive to poisons - the power to think clearly is therefore affected, and consequently, the ability to make moral choices. Alcohol we know interferes with the eyesight and ability to think, and makes car drivers accident-prone-meat is kind of stimulant and has a simar though less powerful effect.
  5. Compassion and understanding are qualities of full manhood and womanhood - they are not of weakness. Such qualities cannot develop by allowing the opposites to take possession. flesh-foods also veil the intuition.
  6. Since flesh-eating is disease proroking it gives rise to a parallel increase in suppressive medicine, drugs. surgery, and vivisection. These are negative forces bent on finding ways of short-circuiting the effects of wrong living without the necessity of self-discipline.
  7. By causing starvation over large areas flesh-eating becomes a potent factor in war causation. Paradoxically malnutrition means an increasing birthrate, this being nature's way of trying to ensure the persistence of life - again a vicious circle.

Can any one in their right minds consider that flesh eating is even "The Middle Way" or a step towards Nirvana?

"Ponder it well in your mind and then act as it seems best to you," says Krishna, in the Bhagavat Gita. (World Forum)