From the Catholic Times
dated May 26, 1996:
Viewpoint: Gerald Denley of Meriden near Coventry has a sidelong
glance at the BSE Crisis
All during the Mad Cow Disease crisis very little thought is given to
the animals, but a great deal of sympathy to the farmers. We Catholics
who read the Bible should follow God's instruction about food.
In Genesis He says to Adam and Eve: 'I give you all seed-bearing
plants that are upon the whole earth, and all the trees with
seed-bearing fruit; this shall be your food.'
He did not say: 'Cook yourself a beef steak.' In fact, He is against
killing for in the Commandments He says: 'Thou shalt not kill.'
The Greek philosophers like Socrates, Pythagoras and Plato were
vegetarians, and in Plato's Republic we read that in his ideal world
there would be no poverty but 'we shall set before them (the people) a
dessert, I imagine, of figs, peas and beans: they may roast myrtle
berries and beech nuts at the fire, taking wine with their fruit in
Many Romans and the Early Christian Fathers of the Church like St
Basil and St Augustine, followed a vegetarian way of life. St John
Chrysostom wrote: 'No streams of blood are among them (the Christian
ascetics), no butchering and cutting of flesh; no dainty cooker, no
heaviness of head. Nor are there horrible smells of flesh meats among
them, or disagreeable fumes in the kitchen.'
A great comfort
In this country there is no excuse for eating a diet causing
suffering and death to animals. Hotels and restaurants now cater for
vegetarians and vegans. It is a great comfort when eating a meat-free
meal to know that no animal has had to die to provide the meal.
And what is more it is a healthier diet. The British Medical
Association's 1986 report, Diet, Nutrition and Health states:
'Vegetarians have lower rates of obesity, coronary heart disease, high
blood pressure, large bowel disorders, cancers and gallstones.'
Western philosophers like Nietzsche and Schopenhauer wrote at length
against the cruelty of animals being slaughtered for food. Descartes was
a vegetarian and so were Emerson, Thoreau, Voltaire, Swedenborg and
Many of our English-speaking poets voiced the need for compassion
towards animals. They included Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Longfellow,
Milton, William Cowper, Shelley and Wordsworth.
When I lived in Brazil many years ago I saw vast primeval forests
being cut down and burnt to make way for Brahma cattle.
Much of the meat was exported to Europe while the locals lived on
beans and rice.
Forests being destroyed
Even now, after thirty years, the tropical forests are still being
These forests hold many medicinal secrets, rather like monasteries in
the Middle Ages when monks preserved and cultivated medicinal herbs.
This knowledge originating with the Sumerians, Egyptians, Babylonians
and Assyrians came to the monks via Greece and Rome. Some also came from
Arabia and Muslim Spain.
For me the sins of the flesh are those connected with meat eating.
Werner von Braun once said that in time meat eating would be a thing of
the past. I wish I could say he was right but.....
Reproduced with thanks.