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14 October 2001 Issue
Vegetarianism and Sept. 11

By Pauline Dubkin Yearwood - Ahimsa2000@aol.com 

It might seem like a stretch to make a connection between our food choices and the mood of the country since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But I believe there is one -- a strong one. For those who are already vegetarian or vegan, for those who are contemplating going meatless and even for those who have no more than a passing interest in the subject of food choices, now is the time to turn to a plant-based diet. Here’s why:

1. Eating a non-animal-based diet sends a strong message in favor of non-violence. Gandhi said, “We must become the change we wish to see in the world.” If we want to see an end to killing, there’s no better place to start than with what we put in our bodies.

2. It’s well known that stress can make us sick, and this is a time of great stress throughout the country. A vegetarian (preferably vegan) diet is far healthier than a diet based on animal products, and is a good way to stay healthy during a difficult time.

3. Experts agree that one of the root causes of terrorism is poverty. In many countries of the world there is widespread starvation. A meat-based diet wastes precious resources. In the United States, 90 percent of the country’s agricultural resources goes to feeding animals used for food. If Americans reduced their intake of meat by just 10 percent, 60 million people could be adequately fed by the grain saved.* By switching to a plant-based diet we can help conserve those resources and make sure that there is enough food for all the peoples of the world.

4. Since the terrorist attacks, many Americans have found comfort and hope in their religion. Virtually all the world’s major religions teach that killing is wrong (even if their followers don’t always practice that teaching). By refusing to allow animals to be killed for our diets, we are adhering to the broad tenets of our religion, whichever one it may be.

*Statistics from American Anti-Vivisection Society.

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