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Comments by Ruth Eisenbud - 16 May 2010

In Reference to: Say No to Sanctified Animal Abuse

for Persons of Goodwill:

In a recent discussion: http://negotiationisover.com/2010/04/27/email-the-pope-leaders-of-organized-religion/#more-7983

Both Rabbi Gershom and Prof. Schwartz assured us that Jewish teachings, which allow for the harm and slaughter of animals, can lead to compassion. Both fail to understand that peace and compassion cannot result from an endorsement of violence:

Rabbi Gershom: "You will NEVER get me to re-write the Torah to suit your needs, nor will any other rabbi do that. The Torah permits slaughter, period."

RE: Where is the goodwill for animals in this view?

RE: The following statement is based on misinformation, as it perpetuates the belief that compassion can be generated from teachings rooted in sanctified and allowable violence:

Rabbi Gershom: "I said earlier that you should learn from Gandhi. You know, he loved the Bhagavad Gita, but the Gita is not a pacifist text. In fact, Krishna tells Arjuna to go into battle and kill his relatives on the other side of a civil war, because their karma has already determined who will die. Certainly not a Jainist book. And yet, Gandhi was able to read it as a moral parable and be inspired by it. The text has long since been re-defined from literal battlecto the battle of life."


On Gandhi: You are misinformed on the source of Gandhi's Satyagraha campaign. He did not derive the message of non-violence from the Gita. Both this information and the conclusion drawn from it are inaccurate. It is not possible to derive a strategy of non-violence from a foundation which endorses violence. Gujarat, Gandhi's home state has a significant Jain population. His mother was deeply religious and though born Hindu, she studied with Jain scholars and clergy. Gandhi was familiar with Jain teachings. He worked with a Jain scholar, Shrimad Rajchandra, to improve his knowledge on non-violence, so that he could use it as a tool to liberate India from British rule.

It was the concept of ahimsa that influenced Gandhi to pursue a campaign based on non-violence. It is ahimsa which subsequently also influenced the hindu religion. The hindus had the wisdom and courage to include ahimsa in their value system.

From the Gita, Gandhi learned that it was his duty to campaign against the evil of colonialism

A recent instance where violence has not led to compassion:

"...the Project initiated by Israel with regards to banning genuine fur has been dropped due to Deputy Haim Amsalem, who explained that Jewish law allows harming animals in the strict situation where human necessity dictates it." Claudia Bregner

Two Paths: Professor Schwartz states: “Whatever path works best for you, please use it because the obstacles we face are very great and we need all people of good will actively and effectively involved.”

He fails to recognize that we are not faced with choosing from two paths which will both ultimately result in long over due compassion for animals. Rather it is a choice between one path which sanctifies their harm and slaughter as it states that man may ab(use) animals for his own benefit. The other path grants unconditional compassion to ALL living beings. It honors the intrinsic worth of animal lives.

The first path has led to ever increasing abuse as man takes full advantage of the biblical mandate that values human life above animal life. The second path has led to ever increasing compassion and broadbased animal protective legislation in cultures that adhere to the value of ahimsa.

The two choices are not mutually beneficial, as the dominion based model undermines and thwarts any effort of the ahimsa model, as it allows for benevolent abuse.

So while it may seem that there is a choice, for those whose first priority is to end animal suffering there really is no choice.

I question the decision to promote a religious model NOW in the 21st Century when it is clear that this model has not worked for 5000 years. We have fresh vine ripened tomatoes in New England all year long, which are grown in Maine in greenhouses. There is no longer the need to transport food long distances to provide people with cruelty free nutrition. With a model of unconditional compassion and the advantages we have today of bringing vegetarian/vegan food to remote cultures, it no longer makes sense to promote a model that at its core allows for the harm and slaughter of animals."

Thank you,