Humane Religion Magazine
January - February 2008 Issue
Health, Judaism, Christianity and the Agri-business: In response to the 2008 beef recall
by Jan Fredericks LPC, MA and Jerold Terdiman, M.D.
It is mind boggling and terrifying to contemplate the spiritual and physical damage we humans are inflicting upon ourselves by indulging in animal based diets. The short and long term damage to our health is only a part of this disaster. There is also the devastation of the environment and above all the spiritual holocaust upon our souls resultant from the unimaginable cruelty perpetrated upon our fellow creatures who are entrusted to our care by G-D. The Torah refers to this as "Tsa'ar Ba'ala Chyim" and "Chillul Ha'Shem" --a desecration of G-D's name. This is a most grievous offense the consequences for which (if not repented and corrected) can hardly be imagined.
In the Garden of Eden man lived in harmony with his fellow creatures. Adam and Eve were vegetarians (vegans). After the sin of eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden and the aggressive side of their nature emerged. They changed from herbivores into omnivores (meat and plants). G-D, in his mercy made a concession to this change (which was needed for their survival) and allowed the consumption of meat but ONLY when subjected to strict humane regulations. Is God calling us back to a vegan diet? Living in harmony with animals is part of God's will on earth as it is in heaven which we pray for every day in our Churches.
While it is rightfully disheartening to read that about 50 million pounds - or more than a third -- of the 143 million pounds of the recalled beef went to school lunch programs nationwide, this abuse of sick farm animals has been going on for decades. The slaughterhouse in California (where happy cows are supposed to be enjoying life according to our TV commercials) was randomly chosen by the HSUS to do undercover work for 2 years which was released in Feb. 2008 on prime time news stations showing the reality of how sick animals are treated. It is a crime that our USDA who should be doing the investigations don't uncover such horrible cruelty to these innocent animals who are victims of greed and lust for their flesh, milk and eggs.
Farm animals are herbivores - they don't eat flesh and perhaps we should only eat what God intended us to eat also- grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables (Genesis 1:29). The USDA would like us to think that this slaughterhouse's abuse of sick animals is uncommon while this is common practice in stockyards, auctions and slaughterhouses across the country. Horses, donkeys and dogs are still being slaughtered as well, especially in Mexico.
We should be concerned about our health, our cat food (dogs don't get sick from eating sick cows they say) and of course, we should be concerned about the suffering and abuse of billions of innocent animals who belong to God, their Creator. Being told that no one got sick yet, is not comforting since the vCJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease from eating BSE infected cows) can be ingested just once to begin the incubation period before showing symptoms years or even decades from ingestion. Early stages include failing memory, behavorial changes, impaired coordination and/or visual disturbances. After these symptoms begin, death occurs within 12-14 months. The only way to be sure you have the disease is by a brain biopsy or autopsy. Cerebral spinal fluid testing positive can be inconclusive. Thus, we do not know for sure how many people have died from eating sick cows. In Britain, 165 reported people died from eating contaminated meat.
If you want to be healthy, don't eat meat or any animal products (see www.PCRM.org). We can't trust our government to tell us about how to be healthy, since the agri-business is part of our government. However, we should not just care about our health, but also how animals are treated. They belong to God and it is our responsibility to treat them with kindness and mercy. Our treatment of them (directly and indirectly) affects our relationship with God.
Religious leaders, politicians and the media, who truly care, should be letting the public know the truth about the animals' lives we eat and not worry about sponsors, advertisers, or people we 'serve'. Two great DVDs now on-line related to this topic are "A Sacred Duty" - a Jewish perspective of animals and the environment and "Christian Concern For All God's Creatures".
"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." Psalm 150:6
"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." Hebrews 4:13