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When Humans Were Pure Vegetarians.
It must have felt unnatural at first, to eat animal flesh.
After all, we’re not so far removed from animals ourselves.
Perhaps it even felt cannibalistic.
There might not have been that much intellectual distinction between humans and other animals.
When humans were pure vegetarians, they were living in harmony with the earth and with the other creatures co-habiting the planet with them.
Their closest animal relatives, apes, were vegetarians.
Eating the products of the earth, like plants, grains and fruits that they could gather and eat would have seemed the natural order of things.
But necessity is the mother of invention.
Prehistoric men who lived in frozen geographies, or who lived in an area that became devastated by fire, would have eaten anything to survive.
Just like the soccer players whose plane crashed in the mountains of Chile, and were forced to eat the flesh of other players who died in the crash, earliest man at some point had to make the choice for survival, and that could have been consuming meat for the first time and changing human history – and health – forever.
Imagine having eaten raw foods and vegetables for eons, and all of a sudden, incorporating meat products into your system.
You may have heard friends who were vegetarians tell stories of trying to eat meat and becoming violently ill afterwards.
Biologists will tell you we’re really not designed to eat meat, but we adapted to it.
However, in the timeline of human history, eating meat is a relatively recent evolutionary development.

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Early humans had diets very much like other great apes, which is to say a largely plant-based diet, drawing on foods we can pick with our hands.
Research suggests that meat-eating probably began by scavenging, eating the leftovers that carnivores had left behind.
However, our bodies have never adapted to it.
To this day, meat-eaters have a higher incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other problems.

( Dr Neal Barnard )

Genesis 1:29 .. In this verse God gives food to mankind consisting of the seed-bearing herbs and the fruit of trees.
By comparison with Genesis 9:3, the writer believed that, until after the Flood, mankind subsisted upon a purely vegetable diet.
It may be asked how, if this were the case, man had the opportunity of exercising his dominion over fish, birds, and beasts.
If he did not wish to eat them, neither would he wish to kill them.
The truth seems to be that, according to the P version of Hebrew tradition, the first generations of mankind were intended to live without bloodshed or violence in an ideal condition, like that predicted by Isaiah (Genesis 11:6-9), “they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain”.
The prophet’s words, “a little child shall lead them”, imply a dominion over the animal world which does not rest upon force.

( Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges )

Being vegetarian is okay, and in fact we have the Hadith in Islam that encourages us to eat less meat.
( Mohammad Al-Shirazi, Islamic author and scholar )

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
( Hippocrates )

A Matter Between Creator And Creature.
Every herb bearing seed and tree bearing fruit is granted to man for his sustenance.
With our habits it may seem a matter of course that each should at once appropriate what he needs of things at his hand.
But in the beginning of existence it could not be so.
Of two things proceeding from the same creative hand neither has any original or inherent right to interfere in any way whatever with the other.
The absolute right to each lies in the Creator alone.
The one, it is true, may need the other to support its life, as fruit is needful to man.
And therefore the just Creator cannot make one creature dependent for subsistence on another without granting to it the use of that other.
But this is a matter between Creator and creature, not by any means between creature and creature.
Hence, it was necessary to the rightful adjustment of things, whenever a rational creature was ushered into the world, that the Creator should give an express permission to that creature to partake of the fruits of the earth.

( Albert Barnes, 1798-1870, American theologian )

It is necessary to correct the error that vegetarianism has made us weak in mind, or passive or inert in action.
I do not regard flesh-food as necessary at any stage.

( Mahatma Gandhi )

I do not see any reason why animals should be slaughtered to serve as human diet when there are so many substitutes.
After all, man can live without meat.

( The Dalai Lama )

Only Beasts Satisfy Their Hunger With Flesh.
Oh, my fellow men, do not defile your bodies with sinful foods.
We have corn, we have apples bending down the branches with their weight, and grapes swelling on the vines.
There are sweet-flavoured herbs, and vegetables which can be cooked and softened over the fire, nor are you denied milk or thyme-scented honey.
The earth affords a lavish supply of riches, of innocent foods, and offers you banquets that involve no bloodshed or slaughter.
Only beasts satisfy their hunger with flesh, and not even all of those, because horses, cattle, and sheep live on grass.

( Pythagoras, c.570-c.495 )

He who, seeking his own happiness, punishes or kills beings who also long for happiness, will not find happiness after death.
( Buddhist Dhammapada )

The Cause For Almost All Life-Threatening Diseases.
When humans began eating the flesh of animals, humans became diseased, their lives shortened.
There is no doubt that eating our animal friends, who have the same right to a life as we do, is responsible for almost all the life-threatening diseases that humans now suffer from.
It is not natural, nor moral, nor meant to be.

( Florence Emily Hookins, 1896-1962 )

We are all God’s creatures.
That we pray to God for mercy and justice while we continue to eat the flesh of animals that are slaughtered on our account is not consistent.

( Isaac Bashevis Singer )

Genesis 1:29 .. It is evident from this grant of food to man, in the present verse, and from that to the brute animals in the next, that the use of flesh in the beginning was allowed to neither, and, consequently, that the now carnivorous animals then fed upon grass, etc., as the tame ones amongst us do at present.
The ancients mention this as one characteristic of the golden age:  “Not so the golden age, who fed on fruit, nor durst with bloody meals their hands pollute.”

( Thomas Coke, 1747-1814, Methodist Bishop )

Man Was Originally Intended To Live Upon Vegetables Only.
‘I have given you every herb for food’ – It seems from this, says Dr Priestley, an eminent philosopher, that man was originally intended to live upon vegetables only, and as no change was made in the structure of men’s bodies after the flood, it is not probable that any change was made in the articles of their food.
It may also be inferred from this passage that no animal whatever was originally designed to prey on others, for nothing is here said to be given to any beast of the earth besides green herbs.
Before sin entered into the world, there could be, at least, no violent deaths, if any death at all.

( Adam Clarke, 1760-1832, British Methodist theologian and biblical scholar )

I hold flesh-food to be unsuited to our species.
We err in copying the lower animal world if we are superior to it.

( Mahatma Gandhi )

The Hebrew meaning of the word ‘meat’ is bread or food.
The word ‘meat’ comes from the Old English word mete, which referred to food in general.

In the golden age, spontaneous fruits were the food of happy mortals.
( Antoine Augustin Calmet, 1672-1757, French Benedictine monk )

Every Effort Should Be Made To Stop The Slaughter Of Animals.
How to provide good and plentiful food is a most important question of the day.
It is certainly preferable to raise vegetables, and I think, therefore, that vegetarianism is a commendable departure from the established barbarous habit.

That we can subsist on plant food and perform our work even to advantage is not a theory, but a well-demonstrated fact.
There is no doubt that some plant food, such as oatmeal, is more economical than meat, and superior to it in regard to both mechanical and mental performance.
Such food, moreover, taxes our digestive organs decidedly less, and, in making us more contented and sociable, produces an amount of good difficult to estimate.
In view of these facts every effort should be made to stop the wanton and cruel slaughter of animals, which must be destructive to our morals.
( Nikola Tesla, 1900 )

Let him not destroy, or cause to be destroyed, any life at all, nor sanction the acts of those who do so.
Let him refrain from even hurting any creature, both those that are strong and those that tremble in the world.

( Suita-Nipata, Buddhist )

But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.
( Plutarch, c.45-c.120 )

Vegans Have A Lower Death Rate Than Meat-Eaters.
Vegans have substantially lower death rates than meat-eaters, a major study has found.
The study has been published in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal and reignites debate around increasingly popular vegan diets amid conflicting medical advice and evidence over their impact of proponents’ health.
The research was undertaken by scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital, who monitored health and diet records of more than 130,000 people over the course of thirty years.

They found every 3% increase in calories from plant protein was found to reduce risk of death by 10%.
The figure rises to 12% for risk of dying from heart disease.
By contrast, raising the share of animal protein in one’s diet by 10% led to a 2% higher risk of death from all causes.
This increased to an 8% higher chance of dying from heart disease.
Substituting eggs for plant protein led to a 19% reduction in death risk and eliminating unprocessed red meat saw a drop of 12%.

Lead scientist Dr Mingyang Song said, “Overall, our findings support the importance of the sources of dietary protein for long-term health outcomes. While previous studies have primarily focused on the overall amount of protein intake – which is important – from a broad dietary perspective, the particular foods people consume to get protein are equally important. Our findings suggest people should consider eating more plant proteins than animal proteins, and when they do choose among sources of animal protein, fish and chicken are probably better choices.”
The number of people in Britain who follow a vegan diet has increased 360% over the course of the last decade.
( Siobhan Fenton, Independent, 02.08.2016 )

The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life.
( Albert Einstein )

The Terminator Actor Let Off Some Toxic Vapour.
Well, well. I’d never have thought it.
This week I found myself in the unthinkable position of agreeing with the musings of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the only person to have walked out on one of my interviews.
Actually, that’s not strictly true.
He did walk out, but I hadn’t even begun to interrogate him before he scarpered.
He was cross because the crew were “taking too much time” setting up.
“That’s it”, he growled.
And off he went without so much as an “I’ll be back”.
However, ’tis the season of goodwill to all men and all that, so Arnie hasta be back in my good books, baby.
On Tuesday, during an interview at the UN Climate Conference in Paris, the Terminator actor let off some toxic vapour as he claimed that 28% of harmful greenhouse gases are caused by intensive farming.
That’s nothing new, of course, it’s just that people choose to selfishly ignore it, hoping the consequences won’t make themselves known during their lifetime.
What was shocking, however, is that the Austrian beefcake then went on to say that it was a “good idea” for people to stop eating meat altogether, or at least to cut down animal consumption to a couple of days a week.
Me, Arnie and Paul McCartney singing off the same song sheet!
Who’d have thought it?
And we do have a point.
Besides the gruesome, heartbreaking cruelty (get on YouTube and look for ‘shocking animal slaughter’ and you’ll see what I mean), the production of meat is putting a massive strain on our planet.
Toxic emissions are rising exponentially due to nitrogen fertilisers used in farming and cows releasing methane gas.
It’s made worse by huge swathes of forest being cleared to make room for raising cattle.
The higher the demand for meat, the more damage to our fragile climate.
But it’s not only the planet that’s at risk (although, once that’s kaput of course, so are we).
There is increasing concern over the staggering use of antibiotics in farming.
On the same day that Arnie called for us to cut meat consumption, our government published a review that found that the levels of antibiotics used in agriculture are a “critical threat to public health” because drug resistance can be passed along the food chain to us.
Of course the fast-food giants, such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway et al, and the big supermarkets could step in here, but they choose to put massive profits over massive threats to the future of the planet.
So it’s up to us to save the planet, cut animal cruelty, and listen to Arnie.
Listen to Arnie?
If I can bring myself to say that, surely you can do at least one meat-free day a week.
It’s the cheapest, biggest, most impactful Christmas gift that you’ll ever give.

( Fiona Phillips, 12.12.2015 )

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