EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK
“The World Peace Diet
– Eating for Spiritual Health and
Social Harmony’ by WILL TUTTLE, Ph.D.
Over two thousand years ago in ancient Greece, the need for a positive revolution based on compassion for animals was clearly understood and articulated by Pythagoras. He had said, “As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”
His unequivocal teaching that our happiness depends on treating animals with kindness inspired Plato, Plutarch and Plotinus and until 1850, when the word “vegetarian” was coined, anyone who refrained from eating animals was called a “Pythagorean”.
Then centuries later came the genius Leonardo da Vinci who uttered his prescient words about the dire consequences of our meals: “I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”
Another genius Albert Einstein wrote, “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
Our deep urge to evolve to a more spiritually mature level of understanding and living, and to create a social order that promotes more justice, peace, freedom, health, sanity, prosperity, sustainability and happiness, absolutely requires us to stop viewing animals as food objects to be consumed and to shift to a plant-based way of eating. This would bless us enormously, liberating us from routinely practising, denying and projecting violence, and would help us cultivate equality and loving – kindness in our relationships as well as develop our capacity for inner serenity.
When we cultivate mindful awareness of the consequences of our food choices and conscientiously adopt a plant-based way of eating, refusing to participate in the domination of animals and the dulling of awareness this requires, we make a profound statement that both flows from and reinforces our ability to make connections. We become a force of sensitivity, healing and compassion.
The revolution of compassion that is growing in our consciousness and culture requires that we stop eating animals not just for selforiented health or economic reasons, but also from our hearts, out of caring for the animals, humans and vast web of interconnected lives that are harmed and destroyed by animal-based meals. The word that sums up this underlying ethic and motivation is “vegan”, coined in 1944 in England by Donald Watson. Watson was dissatisfied with the word “vegetarian” because it does not account for motivation and refers only to the exclusion of animal flesh from the diet. He took the first three and last two letters of that word, but wanted it pronounced completely differently, “vee-gn”, to emphasize its revolutionary import. Its definition in the Articles of Association of the Vegan Society in England reads,
“Veganism denotes a philosophy and a way of living which seeks to exclude – as far as is possible and practical – all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment”. The word “vegan”, is newer and more challenging than “vegetarian” because it includes every sentient being in its circle of concern and addresses all forms of unnecessary cruelty from an essentially ethical perspective, with a motivation of compassion rather than health or purity, points to an ancient idea that has been articulated for many centuries, especially in the world’s spiritual traditions.
As We Sow, So Shall We Reap
The most universal spiritual teaching, found cross-culturally in virtually all the world’s religious traditions, is based on the truth of our interconnectedness. It is presented both positively, in what we refer to as the Golden Rule (to do unto others as we would have them do unto us), and more neutrally as the law of cause and effect (that whatever we do unto others will rebound to us). Simply stated, we can never expect to be happy if we cause suffering to others, to be free if we confine others, to be healthy if we cause sickness in others, to be prosperous if we steal from others, or to have peace if we are violent to others and cause them to be afraid.
Vegetarian children have been shown to have significantly higher IQs than average and it’s well known, for example, that Thomas Edison, during the years he worked so hard to discover the secrets of electricity, abstained from eating flesh because he found he could think more clearly and make vital connections more easily on a plant-based diet. Plutarch wrote, “When we clog and cloy our body with flesh, we also render our mind and intellect coarse. When the body is clogged with unnatural food, the mind becomes confused and dull and loses its cheerfulness. Such minds engage in trivial pursuits, because they lack the clearness and vigor for higher thinking.”
Four Pathways to Hell
The calves taken from their mothers are always destined for brutal mis-treatment, and the mother cow certainly has an awareness of this. Animals are remarkably sensitive, as countless cultures have recognized and as scientific evidence is increasingly showing. Mother cows are aware that the hands that confine and push her so hard for her milk cannot mean well for her children. The dairy-born calf will go down one of four doomed pathways.
If she is a female, she may be raised to be, like her mother, a slave in the dairy. She will be removed from her mother as early as possible so as not to waste the mother’s marketable milk. She will be dehorned, usually by the use of a red-hot electric iron applied to her horn buttons.
This is described in a modern dairy management textbook :
… lay the calf on its side and put your knee on the neck… The dehorner has to be left on the button for approximately five to twenty seconds. The time will seem longer, because of the combined unpleasantness of burning hair and a struggling calf… dehorning may be complete…. when you hear a squeaking sound as the dehorner is twisted. It is the sound of the dehorner tip rubbing against the bone of the skull.
The cow is milked two to three times per day by the milking machines. No longer something done by her, milking is something inflicted upon her. The machines often cause cuts and injuries and result in infections. Sometimes the milking machines give electrical shocks as well, causing considerable discomfort and fear. After three to five years, these mother cows, dairy slaves, are worn out and sent off in overcrowded trucks to face the final insulting brutality of the slaughterhouse.
The second possible path for calves born on the dairy is that they may be killed shortly after birth if the veal industry or beef industry demand is low. The rennet in their young stomachs is valuable for making cheeses. Their bodies are then ground up for animal feed and their skin is used for more expensive leather. Sometimes pregnant cows are sent off to slaughter. In this case, the fetal calves that fall out of them when they are sliced open must be killed separately by the slaughterhouse workers. These unborn babies are skinned for the soft leather on their small, wet bodies, which fetches quite a high price.
The third possible path for dairy-born calves is to be auctioned to the veal industry. Both males and females are forced down this dark and miserable path when they are not needed on the dairy. The abuse these poor creatures must endure for their short lives is well known and documented. They are forced into veal crates and chained at the neck as soon as they arrive at the veal operation, only days or weeks old. These crates are built small, to confine the calves so they cannot move, causing their muscles to be undeveloped and their ‘meat’ more tender.
The fourth path for dairy-born calves, if they are male, is to be auctioned to the meat industry and raised for beef. All four of the possible paths that a calf born on a dairy may take, are paths of abuse and early tortured death.
Buddha had said, “All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?” Animal foods concentrate both physical and metaphysical toxins. The physical toxins in animal foods such as the trans fats, pathogens and pesticide, drug and hormone residues, besides injuring our bodily health, can also disturb us mentally and emotionally. Mood swings, irritability and loss of attentiveness are well-known side effects of drugs and chemicals and the power of psychoactive substances is well documented. We are rediscovering what Pythagoras taught us : that eating animal foods has negative effects on our consciousness. Beyond this physical level of biomechanisms such as hormone levels, toxins and nutrients, there are metaphysical forces at work, that though ignored and nevertheless operating. Metaphysical toxins – i.e. the concentrated vibrations of terror, grief, frustration and desperation permeating these foods – are invisible and completely unrecognized by conventional science, yet they may be even more disturbing to us than physical toxins because they work on the level of feelings and consciousness, which are more essential dimensions of ourselves than our physical vehicle.
By purchasing or ordering animal products we directly cause misery and sow seeds of despair and cruel violence. It would be naïve to think these seeds simply disappear into thin air. The terror, pain and frustration we cause to feeling creatures, whose bodies and minds are tormented beyond imagining, are extremely powerful forces that affect us, their causative agents, in many ways. When we nourish the cells with which we think and feel with the flesh and secretions of these terrorized animals, we absorb the vibrations of fear, disease and violence, no matter how we try to disguise this with euphemisms and distractions.
The most powerful antidotes to cruelty, abuse and indifference are not anger and sadness, but love, peace, joy and open-hearted creative enthusiasm for this precious gift of a human life. Just as Thich Nhat Hanh has wisely said that without inner peace, we cannot contribute to the peace movement, so it is also that without inner freedom, we cannot contribute to the liberation of animals, which is the essential pre-requisite to meaningful human freedom.
Veganism kindles a deep sense of peace in nature and of kinship, fellowship and harmony with all life. It encourages a sense of inner richness that keeps growing and deepening as years go by, a sense of gentleness and of purpose. Becoming vegan is not so much a decision made with our intellect as it is a natural consequence of inner ripening. While it’s certainly helpful to comprehend intellectually the vast mandala of negative consequences of eating animal foods, we find that we are propelled into veganism by our intuition. As our intuitive heart opens, it opens to understanding our connection with others and to including them within the sphere of our concern.
As our hearts open to deeper understanding, our circle of compassion naturally enlarges and spontaneously begins to include more and more “others” – not just our own tribe, sect, nation or race, but all human beings, and not just humans, but other mammals, and birds, fish, forests and the whole beautifully inter woven tapestry of living, pulsing creation. All beings. All of Us.