Windsor Castle Hosts Vegan Lunch for Interfaith Eco-Conference

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Windsor Castle Hosts Vegan Lunch for Interfaith Eco-Conference

By Heather Moore on Care2.com
November 2009

Ultimately, it’s the ideal diet for everyone, regardless of religion, who believes that all sentient beings should be treated with kindness and mercy. Revered spiritual leaders from the Buddha to the Prophet Muhammad to the Dalai Lama have preached peace for all beings.

How’s this for progress? Windsor Castle is providing an all-vegan lunch for more than 200 people attending an interfaith conference called “Many Heavens, One Earth: Faith Commitments for a Living Planet.”

The conference, which will be attended by leaders from nine different religions, is co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Program and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), a faith-based environmental organization co-founded by Price Philip.

The ARC chose a vegan lunch not only because it’s better for the environment, but because it best accommodates the dietary needs of people of various faiths. Ultimately, it’s the ideal diet for everyone, regardless of religion, who believes that all sentient beings should be treated with kindness and mercy. Revered spiritual leaders from the Buddha to the Prophet Muhammad to the Dalai Lama have preached peace for all beings.

Many prominent Catholic figures believe that animals have souls and should be treated with compassion and respect. Pope John Paul II proclaimed that “the animals possess a soul and men must love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren.” Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out against animal abuse, specifically saying that is wrong to force-feed birds to produce foie gras and to pack hens together in filthy factory farms. Says Pope Benedict, “It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly.”

Other religions are based on similar beliefs. Cruelty to animals is forbidden in Islam—and raising and killing animals for food is inherently cruel. Most animals on factory farms never see the sun, breathe fresh air, or feel grass beneath their feet. They’re torn from their loving mothers and mutilated without pain relievers. At the slaughterhouse, they’re often dismembered while they’re still conscious.

Muslins who strive to live according to Islamic teachings can avoid causing such pain and suffering by eating a naturally Halal vegan diet. According to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, there is an estimable reward for kindness to every living being.

The Jewish religion also has strict laws and teachings forbidding cruelty to animals. There is an entire code of laws, Tsa’ar ba’alei hayim, mandating that all being be treated with kindness and respect.

Nothing in the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, or any other religious publication justifies our modern-day farming practices, which desecrate the environment and inflict pain and suffering on billions of animals every year.

The vegan meal at Windsor Castle is significant for many reasons, not just because the castle is not normally associated with animal- or environmentally-friendly fare. The lunch is a “model” of a compassionate, sustainable choice that the delegates can advocate to their constituencies--and that’s something everyone can believe in!