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The Real World Politics of Compromise

 "We got the message
"I heard it on the airwaves
"The politicians
"Are now DJs
 
"The broadcast was spreading
"Station to station
"Like an infection
"Across the nation
 
"Though you know you can't stop it
"When they start to play
"You're gonna get out the way
 
"The politics of dancing
"The politics of ooh feeling good
"The politics of moving, aha
"If this message's understood
 
"We're under pressure
"Yes we're counting on you
"Like what you say
"Is what you do
 
"It's in the papers
"It's on your TV news
"Oh, the application
"Is just a point of view..."
 
--Reflex, "The Politics of Dancing" (1984)
 
1. Srila Prabhupada has written, "If people are to be educated in the path back to Godhead, they must be taught first and foremost to stop the process of animal-killing." 
 
You wrote:
 
"Absolutely!  That's why I've been vegetarian for 24 years." 
 
That's the reason people go vegan, too. Because cows are abused and killed in the production of dairy through modern factory farming.
 
a) A pamphlet from the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition (www.ffacoalition.org) entitled This AIN'T Old MacDonald's Farm says:
 
99% of ALL animal products come from factory-farmed animals.
 
b) Action For Animals (www.afa-online.org) writes:
 
"In order to produce milk, a cow must have a calf. Cows used for dairy are repeatedly impregnated, often on what the industry calls a 'rape rack,' to keep their milk production high. The cows are milked by machines multiple times a day, often live in filthy concrete stalls or crowded barns, and suffer from diseases such as the udder infection mastitis. After only four to six years of their natural twenty year lifespan, they are worn out and sent to slaughter. The cows are packed into trucks for often long rips to slaughterhouses. In winter, they may freeze to the sides of the truck; in summer, they may die from dehydration or heat stroke. At slaughterhouses, they are shot in the head with a high-powered steel rod called a captive bolt gun. If that doesn't kill them, they are skinned and dismembered while still alive.
 
"One of a cow's female calves will replace her mother in the milking herd; the rest of the calves will likely be sold for veal. Calves used for veal are stolen from their mothers just days after birth and chained by the neck in crates. They are fed an iron-deficient formula to keep their flesh pale, making them weak and unhealthy. After twelve to sixteen weeks they are slaughtered. The veal industry is just one of the heartbreaking results of the dairy industry."
 
c) Another Action For Animals pamphlet entitled How You Can Help Animals says:
 
"On most dairy farms, cows live in concrete stalls or filthy sheds and are milked by machines three times a day. Like humans, cows must have a baby to produce milk, so they are repeatedly impregnated on a 'rape rack.' After only four to six years of their natural twenty year lifespan, they are worn out and sent to slaughter. Some are so sick they cannot even walk.
 
"Consuming dairy products -- even organic -- supports the veal industry. Without a supply of calves from dairy farms, most veal farms would not exist. The calves are taken from their mothers just days after birth so their milk can be sold to people. Mother cows often cry for days for their missing baby. On veal farms, the calves are chained by the neck in crates. When the calves are just twelve to sixteen weeks old, they re slaughtered...
 
"Cows raised for meat, or who are no longer profitable for dairy are killed when they are the equivalent of teenagers. During transport to slaughter, many animals die from dehydration, heat stroke, or stress. After being forced off the truck with electric prods, they are shot in the head or shackled upside down by their hind legs and have their throats slit. If this does not kill them, they are skinned and dismembered while still conscious...
 
d) Friends of Animals (www.friendsofanimals.org) writes:
 
"Cheese and milk represent tremendous disrespect and hurt, and there is no reason to think it is less than that which goes into the processing of flesh. Artificial insemination is used at most dairy farms; most of these farms have no need for males, who are sent off at an early age to the veal producer. Dairy cows are forced to produce youngsters for the owners each year. So they'll continually produce milk, Holstein and Jersey dairy cows endure repeated pregnancies (which go for nine months, as ours do).
 
"Drink milk, and veal happens. Most dairy calves will be cutlets. These cutlets-to-be are confined to restrict muscle growth, deprived of iron to stay pale. But just for four months: their age at death. A new trend involves converting to group housing; but without their parents, calves are nervous and competitive. They are tethered around meal time to control aggression and stress.
 
"The eating of cheese automatically results in the production of veal. Most cheeses contain rennet, an enzyme complex that coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). The rennet is taken from the stomach lining of unweaned calves. These stomachs are also a product of veal-making. So most cheeses contain flesh from animals as well as animal milk.
 
"If a gaze into the dairy case reminded us of the calves carted away forever from the cows (who, farmers admit, cry for their young), we'd understand the reality of cheese, cream, and milk. Picturing the veal calf strengthens the resolve of many vegans to say no to that cream or cheese...
 
e) In their 2013 book, The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat?, Hope and Cogen Bohanec debunk the myth that it's possible for animals to be humanely raised for food, or even for animal by-products (milk, eggs, etc.). They write:
 
"To produce a profitable dairy product, the well-being of the animal will have to be compromised in some fundamental ways, no matter how humane an operation claims to be. Mammals do not produce milk unless they are pregnant or have recently been pregnant. 'Alternative' dairies still have to keep the cows pregnant every year to produce the maximum amount of milk, far more than is natural for their bodies. This is most always accomplished through artificial insemination, performed by invasively inserting a long metal device called an inseminating gun into the cow's vagina. At the same time, the rancher inserts his other arm in her rectum, almost to his shoulder, to manipulate the vaginal wall with his hand for insemination. This violation must be at the least uncomfortable, and is likely a painful and frightening experience for a young cow.
 
"Being constantly pregnant year after year puts a strain on the cow's body, and her health will suffer from the intense exploit. In so-called humane dairies, calves are still taken from their mothers at birth. This is perhaps the greatest grief any living being could suffer, evidenced by how the mother and calf will often mourn sorrowfully and forcefully protest the separation, especially if there has been any time allowed for them to bond As a result, the calves are typically taken away immediately at birth to prevent bonding. A strong connection forms between a mother with her unborn offspring, and to have the baby taken away directly after birth creates a state of extreme psychological trauma. Why is it that dairy products tear apart bovine families and have the calves grow as orphans, without the love or comfort of a mother? It's because they cannot have the calf drinking the sellable product.
 
"Usually, after calves are taken away from their dairy cow mothers, the baby females are chained outside, regardless of weather conditions. Isolated from the other calves and without the care of their mothers, they are kept like this, alone and frightened, chained and unloved. Once old enough, they experience their own violation, in the form of artificial insemination, so they can become pregnant and begin to lactate, the sole purpose of their lives at the hands of their human captors. Ironically, the milk that should be going to nourish a baby calf is instead sold as a human product, and consumers are so dazzled by idyllic pictures of rolling pastures and grazing cows that they never see the horrible mistreatment of the animal behind the mammary secretions they consume.
 
"Male babies born to a dairy-producing mother are nothing more than a waste product of the dairy industry. They obviously cannot produce milk, so keeping these adorable and gentle creatures around to consume their mother's milk, their natural food, is simply not cost effective. That would be 'wasting' the milk the producers could otherwise sell. So, like their sisters, male calves will be ripped from their mothers at birth, never to know their comfort and security. They will never frolic in a field, the birthright of all baby ruminants. Even at the supposedly best commercial operations, like American Humane certified Clover Dairy they still have to get rid of the baby males, sending them to auction just one week after birth, for veal, or to be raised for low-quality beef, most likely not on an alternative operation...
 
"About one third of veal calves, the undesired male (and some female) babies of the dairy industry, are kept in tiny crates, where they can't turn around or lie down comfortably. They are tethered by the neck, can barely move, and have been put on a liquid diet that doesn't have adequate iron, so it keeps their muscles underdeveloped and their flesh white and tender. Others are in small group pens, longing for their mothers, and unable to run, play, or feel the sun or wind on their bodies. After just about twenty-two to twenty-four weeks of misery, these babies are slaughtered for veal. Many people recognize the cruelty of killing baby cows and won't eat veal, yet they continue to ingest dairy, not knowing the intimate connection between the industries. One supports the other and there is extreme cruelty in both.
 
"Through selective breeding, a modern dairy cow can produce about ten times as much milk as her ancestors did generations ago. Milk yield per cow increased by 95 percent from 1950 to 1975 and grew an additional 76 percent from 1975 to 2000. Dairy cows are now producing more milk than was ever intended by the natural design specifications of their bodies....
 
"A dairy cow is not offered a retirement plan. Humane or not, modern dairy production is terribly taxing on her body, and it is just not profitable to keep her around when she is not producing as much milk as the younger cows, the daughters she will never nuzzle or care for. After about three lactating cycles, her milk output wanes, and she will be sent to slaughter and be sold for ground beef and other low-quality meat products. Many fast-food hamburgers are made from 'spent' dairy cows. With a natural lifespan of about twenty years, they are killed in the human equivalent of their preteens. Even on the so-called 'humane' farms, a few favorites may be 'retired,' but it is not profitable to feed them if they are not producing, and most will go to slaughter. It is impossible for a farm to create a truly humane environment -- wherein families are allowed to stay together, express their normal behaviors, and live out their natural life spans -- and make a profit. A viable business model cannot avoid the inherent cruelties of dairy production. The only way to be truly humane is a widespread cultural shift away from consumption of animal products."
 
f) The Bohanecs quote Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, author of several vegan cookbooks, on dairy production:
 
"Because a cow's life is only as valuable as the offspring and amount of milk she is able to produce, when she is no longer profitable (i.e., when the costs to feed, medicate, and shelter her exceed the revenue derived from her milk output), she is sent to slaughter. Whether she is used on a small farm, organic farm, family-owned farm, artisan farm, or whatever-it's-called farm, she is sent to slaughter. Whether the milk is labeled organic, whole, pasteurized, unpasteurized, raw, lactose-free, low-fat, 2%, 1%, skim, fat-free, or natural, she is sent to slaughter. There is no such thing as a slaughter-free dairy."
 
2. Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita Puports Indicate Obtaining Food Nonviolently is the Overriding Concern.
 
Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport to the Bhagavad-gita (Chapter 16, verse 3):
 
"Ahimsa (nonviolence) means not arresting the progressive life of any living entity. One should not think that since the spirit spark is never killed even after the killing of the body there is no harm in killing animals for sense gratification. People are now addicted to eating animals, in spite of having an ample supply of grains, fruits...
 
"There is no necessity for animal killing. This injunction is for everyone. When there is no alternative, one may kill an animal, but it should be offered in sacrifice.
 
"At any rate, when there is an ample food supply for humanity, persons who are desiring to make advancement in spiritual realization should not commit violence to animals. Real ahimsa means not checking anyone's progressive life. 
 
"The animals are also making progress in their evolutionary life by transmigrating from one category of animal life to another. If a particular animal is killed, then his progress is checked.
 
"If an animal is staying in a particular body for so many days or so many years and is untimely killed, then he has to come back again to that form of life to complete the remaining days in order to be promoted to another species of life.
 
"So their progress should not be checked simply to satisfy one's palate. This is called ahimsa."
 
In Bhagavad-gita (Chapter 17, verse 8), Lord Krishna says:
 
"Foods dear to those in the mode of goodness (sattva-guna) increase the duration of life, purify one's existence and give strength, health, happiness, and satisfaction. Such foods are juicy, fatty, wholesome, and pleasing to the heart."
 
Srila Prabhupada comments:
 
"The purpose of food is to increase the duration of life, purify the mind and aid bodily strength. This is its only purpose. In the past, great authorities selected those foods that best aid health and increase life's duration, such as milk products, sugar, rice, wheat, fruits and vegetables.
 
"These foods are very dear to those in the mode of goodness. Some other foods, such as baked corn and molasses, while not very palatable in themselves, can be made pleasant when mixed with milk or other foods. They are then in the mode of goodness. 
 
"All these foods are pure by nature. They are quite distinct from untouchable things like meat and liquor. Fatty foods, as mentioned in the eighth verse, have no connection with animal fat obtained by slaughter. Animal fat is available in the form of milk, which is the most wonderful of all foods. 
 
"Milk, butter, cheese and similar products give animal fat in a form which rules out any need for the killing of innocent creatures. It is only through brute mentality that this killing goes on. The civilized method of obtaining needed fat is by milk. Slaughter is the way of the subhumans. Protein is amply available through split peas, dahl, whole wheat, etc."
 
Srila Prabhupada's words indicate that milk products are considered "pure" (after all, the cow is sacred!), but they must be obtained nonviolently: "killing innocent creatures" is a "brute mentality" and slaughtering animals "is the way of the subhumans."
 
Thus, veganism is not ruled out. Indeed, veganism would appear to be a logical conclusion of (or at least consistent with) Srila Prabhupada's teachings on nonviolence (see above).
 
Dairy products, however, are not forbidden, either -- but they must be obtained humanely!
 
In A Vegetarian Primer (1983), Canadian tennis champion Peter Burwash (a long-time friend and well-wisher of the Krishna Consciousness movement) compares human anatomy with the other terrestrial vertebrates (carnivores; omnivores; frugivores [the primates, whom he refers to as our ancestors]; and herbivores), He concludes humans are suited for a plant-based diet.
 
Olive oil is popular with vegans looking for a cruelty-free alternative to butter and other dairy products. Agave nectar is popular with vegans as well, as a cruelty-free alternative to honey. Animal byproducts like milk and honey can be obtained nonviolently, but usually aren't!
 
And its doubtful if even animal byproducts could be produced cruelty-free on a massive scale to satisfy the demands of the world's affluent consumers, even if they can afford these luxuries. A transition to a vegan economy makes perfect sense.
 
Elsewhere in A Vegetarian Primer, Peter Burwash writes favorably of Gandhi and says the world's human population has long since passed the point at which everyone could be comfortably fed on a meat-centered diet, so it makes sense to eat lower on the food chain -- an argument first popularized by Frances Moore Lappe in her 1971 bestseller, Diet for a Small Planet.
 
3. Veganism and Nonviolence:
 
I wrote: "Thus, veganism is not ruled out. Indeed, veganism would appear to be a logical conclusion of (or at least consistent with) Srila Prabhupada's teachings on nonviolence (see above)"
 
you responded:
 
"Not when Prabhupada says that milk is the 'most wonderful food.'"
 
If milk is so wonderful, why is it half the world's population is lactose-intolerant (blacks and Asians in particular)?
 
Read Srila Prabhupada's purport (above) again! One of the reasons milk is so wonderful is because it can be obtained in a form which "rules out any need for the killing of innocent creatures...," that is, because it can be obtained nonviolently. 
 
"Milk, butter, cheese and similar products give animal fat in a form which rules out any need for the killing of innocent creatures. It is only through brute mentality that this killing goes on... Slaughter is the way of the subhumans."
 
You're focusing on Srila Prabhupada identifying milk as a "food," whereas I'm focusing on Srila Prabhupada saying milk can be obtained nonviolently!  Nonviolence being the overriding concern. 
 
If nonviolence weren't the overriding concern, Srila Prabhupada would not have said that if the general mass of people want to eat meat, they can wait until the animal dies of natural causes, rather than take the life of a fellow creature. Animals that died of natural causes can't be offered to Krishna, either.
 
And the eating of carrion, or animals that died of natural causes is forbidden in Jewish and Islamic dietary laws. So it's clear that for us as Vaishnavas, the real issue is taking the life of a fellow creature, that is, the animals' right to life.
 
This was my response to someone on USENET in 1987 who asked what's wrong with eating corpses, etc.?
 
I said, "Nothing wrong with eating the corpses of animals (or humans for that matter), if they died of natural causes..."
 
Leonardo Da Vinci, Count Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau, George Bernard Shaw, Susan B. Anthony, Percy Shelley, etc. were all vegetarian, and none of them were Jewish!
 
Issues like animal experimentation, circuses, fur, etc. have nothing to do with diet, eating, or food. It's clear that the real issue is the animals' right to life.
 
Animal byproducts like milk and honey can be obtained nonviolently, but usually aren't! And its doubtful if even animal byproducts could be produced cruelty-free on a massive scale to satisfy the demands of the world's affluent consumers, even if they can afford these luxuries. 
 
4. "Dairy products, however, are not forbidden, either -- but they must be obtained humanely!"
 
You responded:
 
"That is why we drink the cows' milk rather than slaughter her." 
 
Yes, but by purchasing milk from the commercial dairies, we ARE slaughtering cows, even if unintentionally and indirectly.
 
Again:
 
a) A pamphlet from the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition (www.ffacoalition.org) entitled This AIN'T Old MacDonald's Farm says:
 
99% of ALL animal products come from factory-farmed animals.
 
b) Action For Animals (www.afa-online.org) writes:
 
"In order to produce milk, a cow must have a calf. Cows used for dairy are repeatedly impregnated, often on what the industry calls a 'rape rack,' to keep their milk production high. The cows are milked by machines multiple times a day, often live in filthy concrete stalls or crowded barns, and suffer from diseases such as the udder infection mastitis. After only four to six years of their natural twenty year lifespan, they are worn out and sent to slaughter. The cows are packed into trucks for often long rips to slaughterhouses. In winter, they may freeze to the sides of the truck; in summer, they may die from dehydration or heat stroke. At slaughterhouses, they are shot in the head with a high-powered steel rod called a captive bolt gun. If that doesn't kill them, they are skinned and dismembered while still alive.
 
"One of a cow's female calves will replace her mother in the milking herd; the rest of the calves will likely be sold for veal. Calves used for veal are stolen from their mothers just days after birth and chained by the neck in crates. They are fed an iron-deficient formula to keep their flesh pale, making them weak and unhealthy. After twelve to sixteen weeks they are slaughtered. The veal industry is just one of the heartbreaking results of the dairy industry."
 
c) Another Action For Animals pamphlet entitled How You Can Help Animals says:
 
"On most dairy farms, cows live in concrete stalls or filthy sheds and are milked by machines three times a day. Like humans, cows must have a baby to produce milk, so they are repeatedly impregnated on a 'rape rack.' After only four to six years of their natural twenty year lifespan, they are worn out and sent to slaughter. Some are so sick they cannot even walk.
 
"Consuming dairy products -- even organic -- supports the veal industry. Without a supply of calves from dairy farms, most veal farms would not exist. The calves are taken from their mothers just days after birth so their milk can be sold to people. Mother cows often cry for days for their missing baby. On veal farms, the calves are chained by the neck in crates. When the calves are just twelve to sixteen weeks old, they re slaughtered...
 
"Cows raised for meat, or who are no longer profitable for dairy are killed when they are the equivalent of teenagers. During transport to slaughter, many animals die from dehydration, heat stroke, or stress. After being forced off the truck with electric prods, they are shot in the head or shackled upside down by their hind legs and have their throats slit. If this does not kill them, they are skinned and dismembered while still conscious...
 
d) Friends of Animals (www.friendsofanimals.org) writes:
 
"Cheese and milk represent tremendous disrespect and hurt, and there is no reason to think it is less than that which goes into the processing of flesh. Artificial insemination is used at most dairy farms; most of these farms have no need for males, who are sent off at an early age to the veal producer. Dairy cows are forced to produce youngsters for the owners each year. So they'll continually produce milk, Holstein and Jersey dairy cows endure repeated pregnancies (which go for nine months, as ours do).
 
"Drink milk, and veal happens. Most dairy calves will be cutlets. These cutlets-to-be are confined to restrict muscle growth, deprived of iron to stay pale. But just for four months: their age at death. A new trend involves converting to group housing; but without their parents, calves are nervous and competitive. They are tethered around meal time to control aggression and stress.
 
"The eating of cheese automatically results in the production of veal. Most cheeses contain rennet, an enzyme complex that coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). The rennet is taken from the stomach lining of unweaned calves. These stomachs are also a product of veal-making. So most cheeses contain flesh from animals as well as animal milk.
 
"If a gaze into the dairy case reminded us of the calves carted away forever from the cows (who, farmers admit, cry for their young), we'd understand the reality of cheese, cream, and milk. Picturing the veal calf strengthens the resolve of many vegans to say no to that cream or cheese...
 
e) In their 2013 book, The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat?, Hope and Cogen Bohanec debunk the myth that it's possible for animals to be humanely raised for food, or even for animal by-products (milk, eggs, etc.). They write:
 
"To produce a profitable dairy product, the well-being of the animal will have to be compromised in some fundamental ways, no matter how humane an operation claims to be. Mammals do not produce milk unless they are pregnant or have recently been pregnant. 'Alternative' dairies still have to keep the cows pregnant every year to produce the maximum amount of milk, far more than is natural for their bodies. This is most always accomplished through artificial insemination, performed by invasively inserting a long metal device called an inseminating gun into the cow's vagina. At the same time, the rancher inserts his other arm in her rectum, almost to his shoulder, to manipulate the vaginal wall with his hand for insemination. This violation must be at the least uncomfortable, and is likely a painful and frightening experience for a young cow.
 
"Being constantly pregnant year after year puts a strain on the cow's body, and her health will suffer from the intense exploit. In so-called humane dairies, calves are still taken from their mothers at birth. This is perhaps the greatest grief any living being could suffer, evidenced by how the mother and calf will often mourn sorrowfully and forcefully protest the separation, especially if there has been any time allowed for them to bond As a result, the calves are typically taken away immediately at birth to prevent bonding. A strong connection forms between a mother with her unborn offspring, and to have the baby taken away directly after birth creates a state of extreme psychological trauma. Why is it that dairy products tear apart bovine families and have the calves grow as orphans, without the love or comfort of a mother? It's because they cannot have the calf drinking the sellable product.
 
"Usually, after calves are taken away from their dairy cow mothers, the baby females are chained outside, regardless of weather conditions. Isolated from the other calves and without the care of their mothers, they are kept like this, alone and frightened, chained and unloved. Once old enough, they experience their own violation, in the form of artificial insemination, so they can become pregnant and begin to lactate, the sole purpose of their lives at the hands of their human captors. Ironically, the milk that should be going to nourish a baby calf is instead sold as a human product, and consumers are so dazzled by idyllic pictures of rolling pastures and grazing cows that they never see the horrible mistreatment of the animal behind the mammary secretions they consume.
 
"Male babies born to a dairy-producing mother are nothing more than a waste product of the dairy industry. They obviously cannot produce milk, so keeping these adorable and gentle creatures around to consume their mother's milk, their natural food, is simply not cost effective. That would be 'wasting' the milk the producers could otherwise sell. So, like their sisters, male calves will be ripped from their mothers at birth, never to know their comfort and security. They will never frolic in a field, the birthright of all baby ruminants. Even at the supposedly best commercial operations, like American Humane certified Clover Dairy they still have to get rid of the baby males, sending them to auction just one week after birth, for veal, or to be raised for low-quality beef, most likely not on an alternative operation...
 
"About one third of veal calves, the undesired male (and some female) babies of the dairy industry, are kept in tiny crates, where they can't turn around or lie down comfortably. They are tethered by the neck, can barely move, and have been put on a liquid diet that doesn't have adequate iron, so it keeps their muscles underdeveloped and their flesh white and tender. Others are in small group pens, longing for their mothers, and unable to run, play, or feel the sun or wind on their bodies. After just about twenty-two to twenty-four weeks of misery, these babies are slaughtered for veal. Many people recognize the cruelty of killing baby cows and won't eat veal, yet they continue to ingest dairy, not knowing the intimate connection between the industries. One supports the other and there is extreme cruelty in both.
 
"Through selective breeding, a modern dairy cow can produce about ten times as much milk as her ancestors did generations ago. Milk yield per cow increased by 95 percent from 1950 to 1975 and grew an additional 76 percent from 1975 to 2000. Dairy cows are now producing more milk than was ever intended by the natural design specifications of their bodies....
 
"A dairy cow is not offered a retirement plan. Humane or not, modern dairy production is terribly taxing on her body, and it is just not profitable to keep her around when she is not producing as much milk as the younger cows, the daughters she will never nuzzle or care for. After about three lactating cycles, her milk output wanes, and she will be sent to slaughter and be sold for ground beef and other low-quality meat products. Many fast-food hamburgers are made from 'spent' dairy cows. With a natural lifespan of about twenty years, they are killed in the human equivalent of their preteens. Even on the so-called 'humane' farms, a few favorites may be 'retired,' but it is not profitable to feed them if they are not producing, and most will go to slaughter. It is impossible for a farm to create a truly humane environment -- wherein families are allowed to stay together, express their normal behaviors, and live out their natural life spans -- and make a profit. A viable business model cannot avoid the inherent cruelties of dairy production. The only way to be truly humane is a widespread cultural shift away from consumption of animal products."
 
f) The Bohanecs quote Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, author of several vegan cookbooks, on dairy production:
 
"Because a cow's life is only as valuable as the offspring and amount of milk she is able to produce, when she is no longer profitable (i.e., when the costs to feed, medicate, and shelter her exceed the revenue derived from her milk output), she is sent to slaughter. Whether she is used on a small farm, organic farm, family-owned farm, artisan farm, or whatever-it's-called farm, she is sent to slaughter. Whether the milk is labeled organic, whole, pasteurized, unpasteurized, raw, lactose-free, low-fat, 2%, 1%, skim, fat-free, or natural, she is sent to slaughter. There is no such thing as a slaughter-free dairy."
 
5. You ask:
 
 
"IMPORTANT QUESTION:
 
    "When Prabhupada offered milk that had been store bought... do you think Krishna rejected that milk?  The dairy industry was most likely utilizing the same (or worse) practices back then. Are you saying that God wouldn't accept Prabhupada's milk or dairy offerings when they were store bought?"
 
 
Good question. I don't know. In 1985, when the kitchen at the San Diego Krishna temple was being renovated, temple president Badri Narayan dasa (Robert Morrill) made an announcement after Bhagavatam class that spiritual master Srila Ramesvara (Robert Grant) said that Krishna (God) does not accept food from an unclean kitchen.
 
I asked Dharmasetu dasa (David Bridges), "Does this mean all this time we've been eating bhoga (unoffered food, or food prepared only for our own sense gratification)?"
 
Dharmasetu dasa said lightheartedly, "It's possible. I wondered why I hadn't been making any advancement all these years!"
 
Srila Prabhupada had to work with whatever resources were available to him. Like I said before, sannyassis (Hindu monks) aren't supposed to preside over weddings, nor initiate women, child-marriage and polygamy are prohibited in the West, etc.
 
Srila Prabhupada opposed his disciples buying store-bought cheeses, saying they should make their own cheeses. So it's possible at some point Srila Prabhupada would have opposed purchasing milk from the commercial dairies, too.
 
Srila Prabhupada gradually introduced his disciples to the tenets of Bengali Vaishnavaism, explaining to his earliest disciples that his own spiritual master, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, is their spiritual grandfather. And saying to his disciples in Haight-Ashbury, before leaving for India:
 
"Just go on chanting Hare Krishna, and we will be together. You will be chanting here, and I will be chanting there, and this vibration will encircle the whole planet. We might be on the other side of the globe, but Hare Krishna circles the globe faster than you can say it. I may be going, but Guru Maharaj and Bhaktivinode are here. They are your spiritual grandfathers, and I have asked them to take kind care of all of you, my transcendental children. So there should be no disturbance. The grandfather always takes care of the children much better than the father. Do not worry."
 
****
 
Again, Srila Prabhupada gradually introduced his disciples to the tenets of Bengali Vaishnavaism. Dr. Thomas J. Hopkins, author of The Hindu Religious Tradition, says:
 
"I heard that there was a sadhu (holy man) from India, who had come to New York City and had started a Vaishnava devotional center there. Since I couldn't visit India... I was really excited at the prospect of finally having access to someone who knew something about the Chaitanya movement in Bengal. 
 
"So in the spring of 1967 I went to New York to visit the temple at 26 Second Avenue. I approached a group of disciples who were there at the time, and I said, 'I'm here to try to find out something about Chaitanya.' 
 
"And I just got all these totally blank looks, and they said, 'Chaitanya? Who is Chaitanya?'
 
"And I said, 'Well, Chaitanya was a saint in Bengal, a great religious leader.'
 
"'Oh, that's very interesting,' they said. 'We didn't know about this.'
 
"So, I gave them a mini-lecture on Chaitanya and the Chaitanya movement. And then I said, 'Well, isn't there anyone here who knows anything about this?' Back then, of course, all the devotees were very new --the movement was in its infant stages -- and there wasn't anyone who had much background in the tradition. One of the people who had been there a little longer than the others said, 'Well, I think I've heard that name before. I believe that Swamiji has mentioned that name, Chaitanya.'
 
"So I said, 'Well how about the Bhagavata Purana? I did my dissertation on it, and I'm really interested in finding out more about it.' So they said, 'Oh, you mean the Bhagavad-gita.' I said, 'No, not the Bhagavad-gita, the Bhagavata Purana.'  And they said, 'Well, we know about the Bhagavad-gita, but we're not sure about the Bhagavata Purana...
 
"...I had a number of rather frustrating and abortive conversations, because as soon as I would pursue any kind of technical questions, the devotees would blank out on me. They really didn't know anything about the Indian background. They didn't know anything about Chaitanya, they didn't know anything about Bengal. The Chaitanya-Charitamrita was a text they had never heard of. 
 
"At that stage everything was at such a minimal level that the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra was about all that most of them really knew. Newcomers were taught the mantra and were given chanting beads and taught how to use them. That was about it as far as ritual practice is concerned. 
 
"This was back in the eclectic stage of the movement, when the bhajans were more imaginative than authentic. People would come in off the street bringing whatever instruments they happened to play, and simply dive into the bhajan. There were guitars, banjos, saxophones, harmonicas -- whatever people were able to play. There was an Indian drum -- a mridanga -- in the temple, but of course there weren't any mridanga players. There were western drummers, and so they were doing a kind of jazz-rock drumming on the mridanga. So it was kind of catch-as-catch can. 
 
"Very few really knew that there was a formal structure. No one really had much of a sense of what the India connection was. India was just a mysterious, far-way place. The fact that Bhaktivedanta Swami had brought his teachings from India really didn't connect, for most people, to the fact that there was a tradition in India that he represented. The devotees' attention was fixed on Bhaktivedanta Swami himself, whom they saw as a highly evolved holy man who was introducing a kind of simple ritual chanting.
 
"So that should give you some idea of the devotees' level of understanding and involvement in Vaishnava tradition in those earliest days... things began to change... they were just beginning to practice a simple form of temple worship -- worship of consecrated images with the traditional arati ceremony. Previously, temple worship had consisted simply of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra and offering flowers and food on a crude altar, but now I was witnessing the beginning development of a formal ritual structure."
 
Dr. Hopkins quotes from his 1969 report:
 
"The Society for Krishna Consciousness has changed and become a much more significant organization than it was even a year ago... Disciples in general now know far more about the Vaishnavaite scriptures than they did a year ago, and their ritual practices have become much more complex and sophisticated. A major effort has been made to introduce and perfect the full range of traditional Hindu rituals associated with the worship of Krishna. Disciples now celebrate daily worship with morning puja to the image of Krishna in their temple shrine and with evening kirtan (song and dance in praise of God), celebrate Hindu holy days, perform regular daily chanting of rounds of Krishna mantras using their bead rosaries, have learned Indian musical styles and adopted Indian food and dress, and for such a short period of time have assimilated their living patterns to a Hindu model."
 
Dr. Hopkins says, "What became evident was that Bhaktivedanta Swami did, in fact, have a plan which he was gradually implementing -- a plan that clearly involved bringing more and more of the authentic tradition over from India and putting it in place in the American, or western movement. He made his students more and more familiar with the philosophy. This I was expecting. What I did not expect, and what really surprised and pleased me, was the degree to which the ritual tradition was also brought over and put into place. That's something no other movement has succeeded in doing, nor even really tried to do: transplanting a traditional Hindu ritual structure into a Hindu religious movement in America...
 
"I really can't think of any good parallel examples because I don't think there are any parallel examples. The Transcendental Meditation movement, for instance, has transplanted only the initiation ritual or puja. Even at that, they try to deny that this is a religious ritual, when it's obviously a puja celebration...
 
"The Krishna consciousness movement simply did not do that. Bhaktivedanta Swami, on the contrary, was very, very concerned that the tradition be presented in its fulness, as it became more and more clear that the authentic tradition was irreplaceable, that the cultural tradition out of which Krishna consciousness came was essential to the purpose and practice of Krishna consciousness, and that any attempt to translate it into purely Western cultural terms might only serve to convolute it...
 
"I think the vision which Bhaktivedanta Swami had of a community dedicated to Krishna consciousness was a vision of a community which would be pervaded by the whole spirit of the tradition, not merely a western accommodation of the tradition preserving only a veneer of Indian spiritual culture. He really had a sense of the tradition, and he wanted to put that whole tradition into place...
 
"There may be some examples of this from some non-Indian traditions. I think some of the Zen movements have tried to set up authentic Zen communities. You also have Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the U.S., but most of these are simply transplanted Tibetan monasteries, and largely inaccessible to most people. To become seriously involved, you have to be willing to learn Tibetan and go through a rigorous training process. But as far as something that is both authentic and at the same time accessible to a large number of people is concerned, I don't know any nonwestern tradition that has ever managed successfully to do that or has even tried to do it in any significant way."
 
****
 
Again, Srila Prabhupada gradually introduced his disciples to the tenets of Bengali Vaishnavaism.
 
Srila Prabhupada opposed his disciples buying store-bought cheeses, saying they should make their own cheeses. So it's possible at some point Srila Prabhupada would have opposed purchasing milk from the commercial dairies, too.
 
Krishna devotees themselves have said that they're aware of the cruelty involved in the dairy industry, modern milk production, factory-farming, etc., and that their long-term strategy is to establish rural farm communities, where the milk is obtained nonviolently.
 
Would Srila Prabhupada have eventually advocated strict veganism? I don't know.
 
Dr. Tony Page is a scholar and an authority on Mahayana Buddhism. 
 
Dr. Page claims the Mahayana Buddhist scriptures support veganism:
 
"...it could be argued that the Buddha did not expect all Buddhists to give up all animal-products overnight - but to move toward that goal gradually. He himself says in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra: 
 
"The Tathagata... prohibits by gradual steps and not at a time."
 
(The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, in Three Volumes, translated by Kosho Yamamoto, The Karinbunko, Ube City, Japan, 1973 - 1975, p. 95)
 
"By the same token," comments Dr. Page, "it seems that, although many scriptures sanction the use of dairy products, the... goal was that of veganism."
 
In the Surangama Sutra we read:
 
"How... can you eat the flesh of living beings and so pretend to be my disciple?...
 
"All bhiksus [monks] who live purely and all Bodhisattvas always refrain even from walking on the grass; how can they agree to uproot it? How then can those who practice great compassion feed on the flesh and blood of living beings? If bhiksus do not wear garments made of silk, boots of local leather and furs, and refrain from consuming milk, cream and butter, they will really be liberated from the worldly...
 
"This teaching of mine is that of the Buddha whereas any other is that of evil demons."
 
(The Surangama Sutra, translated by Lu K'uan Yu, B.I. Publications, Bombay, India, 1979, pp. 153-154)
 
In the January 2003 issue of Live and Let Live, a pro-life / animal rights/ libertarian 'zine, James Dawson, raised Catholic and now a Theravadin Buddhist, comments: 
 
"While I personally consider veganism an ethically superior diet to ovo and/or lacto vegetarianism, and as much as discipline and circumstances allow, try to move toward it as much as I can, Dr. Page's claim that the Buddha advocated veganism, to my mind is really stretching it. 
 
"This isn't to say the scriptural evidence is nonexistent, but just very thin. However, even this might be worth considering further."
 
Dr. Page responds:  
 
"...on the substantive issue regarding veganism: yes, the scriptural evidence for the Buddha's advocating veganism is very slim, that is true; amongst the Mahayana sutras, it is mainly to be found in the Surangama Sutra. But there is a lot of Mahayana sutric insistence on vegetarianism. 
 
"I still believe that the Pali suttas (the canonical scriptures of Theravada Buddhism) clearly indicate great reservations about the eating of meat: clearly it was something that was not lightly to be undertaken. The passsages which I quote seem pretty clear to me that the Buddha was urging against meat consumption for monks. 
 
"And in any case, as a Mahayanist, I believe that whatever the Buddha said in the Pali suttas (or agamas) is superseded by the more advanced teachings of the Mahayana (yes, James is right that I do regard Mahayana as a step forward within the Buddha's doctrines...).
 
Veganism would certainly be a logical conclusion of ahimsa (nonviolence toward humans and animals alike) within Buddhism. Roshi Philip Kapleau writes in his 1983 book, A Buddhist Case for Vegetarianism that the Buddha was: 
 
"...a person so sensitive to the sufferings of all living beings that he would not drink milk from a cow during the first ten days after its calf was born..."
 
(A Buddhist Case for Vegetarianism, Roshi Philip Kapleau, Rider, London, 1983, pp. 24-25)
 
Similarly, if the Buddha's having refused to drink milk from a cow during the first ten days after its calf was born implies that veganism is a logical conclusion of ahimsa (nonviolence toward humans and animals alike) within Buddhism, it's possible Srila Prabhupada's teachings on ahimsa or nonviolence might lead devotees to veganism.
 
The Hindu scriptures describe the sage Narada teaching a hunter named Mrigari compassion for all creatures.  Mrigari killed animals not because his survival depended upon it, but merely for the sadistic pleasure of causing pain to other living entitities. 
 
Narada taught Mrigari to renounce hunting as well as the eating of meat. During the late 1980s, Govinda's Vegetarian Restaurant in San Diego, CA, operated by Krishna devotees, was a meeting place for members of San Diego Animal Advocates. 
 
 
6. the real-world politics of compromise:
 
Noting the philosophical distinction between animal welfare (the belief that humans may own animals as property and use them for human ends such as labor, milk, nonfertile eggs, wool, or companionship, as long as they are accorded respect and ethical treatment) versus animal rights (the secular moral philosophy that animals exist for their own reasons and were not made for humans any more than blacks were made for whites or women for men), and the real-world politics of compromise, Ms. Koplow observes:
 
"Let’s really admit the truth about spaying and neutering dogs and cats. Pragmatically, it’s the only possible way to control companion animal overpopulation. But it is an animal welfare solution. No true believer in animal rights can condone this gross interference in one of the most primal aspects of any animal’s essence.
 
"Are we humans arrogant enough to believe that our sexuality is the only kind that matters? Would we accept for ourselves a life of safety from venereal disease, unwanted pregnancy or even a broken heart? We could achieve all that simply by having our reproductive systems removed before puberty. Any volunteers?
 
"The human condition is completely intertwined with our sexuality, from paintings to sculpture, love songs, to romance novels, religious rites to recreational pursuits. Other animals share our passions, if not our culture. Anyone who has seen dogs cluster around a female in heat or heard cats sing their mating songs knows the intensity of their desires. Anyone who has watched a cat nurture her kittens or a dog nuzzle her pups must acknowledge their devotion.
 
"And yet we blithely insist that surgical intervention to prevent surplus puppies and kittens is benign. This form of prevention may not be as unacceptable as killing unwanted offspring, but maybe we advocates of castration and ovario-hysterectomy should admit that we are acting expediently, not honorably.
 
"As an animal rightster, I say it is time for dogs and cats to become extinct. Humans must give up the concept of ‘pets.’ Require permits to house animals, with training to ensure the knowledge necessary to keep them happy and healthy...Forbid buying or selling of animals..."
 
Until the middle of the 20th century, it was not uncommon for parents or guardians to sterilize any mentally handicapped humans in their custody, in order to prevent them from reproducing. Ms. Koplow’s logic is sound.
 
You responded:
 
 
"Gee, Ms. Koplow sounds like she'd be a blast at a party!
 
 "Koplow's logic is insane if she wants dogs and cats to be extinct."  
 
No, it's the difference between political theory and the real-world politics of compromise, e.g., settling for spaying and neutering.
 
Pro-lifers do it all the time, too. In the late '90s, Pat Robertson called for a ban on only some abortions (e.g., late-term) causing someone on an email list for Pro-life vegetarians and vegans to label him a hypocrite. I forwarded the comment on to my friend Dave Browning (1959 - 2007), a conservative, pro-life Republican in San Diego, and even he seemed taken aback by Pat Robertson's comments.
 
Similarly, in 1988, when Bush Sr. and Michael Dukakakis were debating, when Bush was asked about what penalties women would face if abortion were illegal, Bush Sr. said there would have to be penalties, but couldn't say what they would be. Dukakis seized upon Bush's moment of weakness.
 
The Bush campaign later issued a statement that women would not be prosecuted for abortions, only the abortionists. 
 
This is a point I made in correspondence with my friend Ann Muir Thomas, a pro-choice feminist and pro-choice liberal, in 1990, and again in my 2006 book, The Liberal Case Against Abortion:
 
 
"The majority of pro-life activists also regard the mother seeking abortion as a victim and not a criminal.  Looking back on over two hundred years of legal history, the American Center for Bioethics concluded that women have never been prosecuted for abortion; only the abortionists.  
 
"This is analogous to our current laws which arrest drug dealers and prostitutes rather than their clientele.  If we continue to imperfectly enforce laws like these against what are arguably victimless crimes, why can’t we take steps towards protecting the unborn?"
 
In 1998, I told Rachel MacNair, vegan, Quaker pacifist, and past president of Feminists For Life, that someone had written in to James Dawson's pro-life / animal rights / libertarian 'zine Live and Let Live, referring to libertarians as, "Republicans who do drugs." Rachel broke up laughing!
 
In correspondence with Ann Muir Thomas in 1990, I referred to "outmoded" laws against victimless crimes, whereas in 2006, I referred to drugs and prostitution as "arguably victimless." I went from sounding like a brash libertarian to a cautious Democrat!
 
In the course of my own political activism, I've donated $1,008 each to:
 
the ACLU, PETA, In Defense of Animals, Compassion Over Killing, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Democrats For Life, Feminists For Life, Vegan Outreach, Humane USA PAC, Friends of Animals, Action for Animals, the Marijuana Policy Project, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and am a Life Member of both the San Francisco Vegetarian Society and the American Anti-Vivisection Society.  I wouldn't waste my time and funds on entertainment.  I guess this is growing up.  
 
Mallory Crawford of Earth Mother Enterprises in PA, a bisexual witch, calling herself a pro-life witch on the Alternative Lifers email list said that if you accept the premise that abortion is morally equivalent to infanticide, that killing the unborn is as morally reprehensible as killing the born, then you can't label women seeking abortions as "victims," any more than a woman who deliberately drowns her infants in a bathtub would be labelled a "victim." The woman would be seen as a murderer, and would be punished accordingly.
 
Pro-life witch cynically said words to the effect of, "If you want to ban abortion, you're pro-life. If you want to talk about reducing the number of abortions, join Democrats For Life!"
 
Again, political theory vs. the real-world politics of compromise!
 
I wrote via email discussion on Wednesday, January 31, 2007, to members of California Democrats For Life and Carol Crossed, who was president of Democrats For Life:
 
"The issue as to what kind of criminal penalties women seeking abortion would face came up in the 1988 presidential debate between Bush Sr. and Michael Dukakis.  Bush said there would be penalties, but couldn't say what they would be, and Dukakis seized on Bush's moment of weakness.  The Bush campaign later issued a statement saying abortionists would be penalized, and not the women seeking abortion.
 
"I made this point in correspondence in 1990 to my friend Ann Muir Thomas, a pro-choice feminist, and it's a point I've made again in The Liberal Case Against Abortion (2006):  The majority of pro-life activists also regard the mother seeking abortion as a victim and not a criminal.  Looking back on over 200 years of legal history, the American Center for Bioethics concluded that women have never been prosecuted for abortion; only the abortionists.  This is analogous to our current laws which arrest drug dealers and prostitutes rather than their clientele.  If we continue to imperfectly enforce laws like these against what are arguably victimless crimes, why can't we take steps towards protecting the unborn?
 
"In the case of prostitution, sometimes police do arrest the 'johns,' so perhaps the drug dealer analogy is more accurate.  A November 4, 2002 Time/CNNpoll found that 82 percent of those polled felt marijuana should be legal only for medicinal purposes.  72 percent felt recreational users should get fines rather than jail time, which is essentially decriminalization.  The complete legalization of marijuana was favored by only 34 percent of respondents, but this figure is twice as large as it was in 1986.  According to a 2003 Zogby poll, two of every five Americans say 'the government should treat marijuana the same way it treats alcohol:  It should regulate it, control it, tax it, and only make it illegal for children.'
 
"I'm not saying DFLA should take a stand in favor of drug legalization, but just that drug use arguably is victimless, yet we criminalize it anyway.  There's no reason we can't do the same with abortion, which is arguably the taking of a human life. 
 
Ross Heckmann asked:
 
"...does anybody have a problem with holding a mother criminally liable if she hires somebody to dispatch (kill) her three-month-old baby?"
 
I responded: 
 
"There are no easy answers here:  look at what happened to Andrea Yates. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity. She was regarded as a victim, not a criminal."
 
Ross Heckmann said:
 
"The only two reasons I can think of for a disparity in criminal punishment is (1) at the end of the day, we ourselves really don't believe that an unborn child's life has the same value as one already born; or , (2) the state of public opinion doesn't permit us, yet, to treat the life of an unborn child equal to that already born."
 
I responded:
 
"There may be some truth to this, which is why I say penalizing abortionists would be "taking steps towards protecting the unborn."  It may not be assigning the unborn the same value we give to the born, but it would certainly be a step in the right direction." 
 
 
Political theory vs. the real-world politics of compromise.
 
Steve Kaufman, head of the Christian Vegetarian Association, based in Cleveland, Ohio, appreciated it when I sent him a Democrats For Life of America (DFLA) pamphlet, but asked if DFLA favors criminalizing abortion. Good question. There are some pro-lifers, like vegan columnist Colman McCarthy, morally opposed to abortion, but who don't think criminalization is the answer.
 
And Steve is a member of the United Church of Christ, a pro-choice Protestant denomination!
 
Again, political theory vs. the real-world politics of compromise! When health care reform passed in 2010, we pro-life Democrats didn't have enough votes for the Stupak Amendment to be kept in place, which would have prevented federal funding of abortions in health care reform, and instead we had to settle for an executive order from President Obama.
 
7. A comment you and I can agree on!:
 
You write:
 
"I DO find pro-life meat-eaters philosophy contradictory."
 
And you think "meat-eating pro-lifers" will listen to you if you tell them to go vegetarian? That they'll believe you when you tell them that abortion and war are the karma for killing animals?
 
No, like the passerby at anti-fur protests asking, "What about your shoes?" (i.e., do you wear leather?), or John Antypas saying the Greenpeace activists protesting whaling, the clubbing of baby seals, etc. are hypocrites if they eat meat, or the Seinfeld episode where a woman wearing a fur coat refuses to listen to Elaine if she's not a vegetarian...
 
The pro-lifers won't take you seriously unless you're strictly vegan. 
 
Srila Prabhupada's disciples were appreciated as "angels" in the peace marches during the Vietnam era, handing out The Peace Formula, which said the path to peace is understanding that this world belongs to God, and is not here for our exploitation. (Well, it IS here for our exploitation, if you want to be attached to it, and be subject to repeated birth and death, but, hey, that's another story!)
 
Will pro-lifers similarly allow Krishna devotees to distribute copies of "Is Something Wrong In the Right-to-Life Movement?" at pro-life events?
 
Hridayananda dasa Goswami didn't even demand that pro-lifers give up material attachments, desires, etc. when he wrote his 1982 essay in Back to Godhead, "Is Something Wrong in the Right-to-Life Movement?" He merely pointed out the inconsistency in claiming to be "pro-life" while killing animals... and wrote that if the pro-life movement extends its compassion to include animals as well as the unborn, it will attain great success.
 
In this sense, he was ahead of John Morrow, a liberal Christian on USENET, as even John Morrow was asking in the late 1980s, "Isn't (sexual) abstinence worth not risking taking someone else's life?" And pro-life "Christians" don't like being told what their own scriptures say on the subject of sex, marriage, etc.! (And they think they're "saved"?)
 
At a pro-life demonstration years ago, when Father Frank Pavone of Priests For Life asked Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King if the pro-life demonstrations were comparable to the civil rights movement, she replied, "Father, this IS the civil rights movement!"
 
If protecting unborn children is a noble cause and calling, a just and religious cause, like the civil rights movement, why should pro-lifers have to resort to lies and deception?
 
The Ten Commandments warn against bearing false witness.
 
Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, said: "Let your word 'yes' be yes and your 'no,' no. Anything beyond this is from the evil one."
 
(Isn't Satan known as a deceiver?)
 
Even the apostle Paul, who taught a completely different theology than that of Jesus, condemned dishonesty (Colossians 3:13).
 
The apostle Paul said, "If anyone has confidence in the Law, I am ahead of him."
 
Does that mean Paul places himself ahead of Jesus, who repeatedly upheld the Law (Matthew 5:17-19; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 16:17), as did his apostles (see chapters 10, 15 and 21 of Acts)? 
 
If Christians aren't even following the moral instructions Paul gives throughout his epistles, if they aren't even following Paul, then no one's going to take them seriously, what to speak of putting them ahead of Jesus!
 
Boy, they "believe"!
 
Paul quotes Jesus as having said to him three times, "My grace is sufficient for thee." (II Corinthians 12:8-9) Christians sometimes misinterpret this verse to mean they're free to do as they please—ignoring the rest of the New Testament, and (especially) Jesus' and Paul's other teachings.
 
The apostle Paul taught his followers to bless their persecutors and not curse them (Romans 12:14), to care for their enemies by providing them with food and drink (12:20), and to pay their taxes and obey all earthly governments (13:1-7). He mentioned giving all his belongings to feed the hungry (I Corinthians 13:3), and taught giving to the person in need (Ephesians 4:23). He told his followers it was wrong to take their conflicts before non-Christian courts rather than before the saints. (I Corinthians 6:1)
 
Paul taught that "it is good for a man not to touch a woman," i.e. , it is best to be celibate, but because of prevailing immoralities, marriage is acceptable. Divorce, however, is not permissible, except in the case of an unbeliever demanding separation. (I Corinthians 7) 
 
Paul repeatedly attacked sexual immorality."This is God's will—your sanctification, that you keep yourselves from sexual immorality, that each of you learn how to take his own wife in purity and honor, not in lustful passion like the gentiles who have no knowledge of God." (I Thessalonians 4:3-5) 
 
Paul told his followers not to associate with sexually immoral people (I Corinthians 5:9-12, 6:15,18). He condemned homosexuality (Romans 1:24-27) and incest (I Corinthians 5:1).
 
"Make no mistake," warned Paul, "no fornicator or idolater, none who are guilty either of adultery or of homosexual perversion, no thieves or grabbers or drunkards or slanderers or swindlers, will possess the kingdom of God." (I Corinthians 6:9-10 [NEB])
 
Paul condemned wickedness, immorality, depravity, greed, murder, quarreling, deceit, malignity, gossip, slander, insolence, pride (Romans 1:29-30), drunkenness, carousing, debauchery, jealousy (Romans 13:13), sensuality, magic arts, animosities, bad temper, selfishness, dissensions, envy (Galatians 5:19-21; greediness (Ephesians 4:19; Colossians 3:5), foul speech, anger, clamor, abusive language, malice (Ephesians 4:29-32), dishonesty (Colossians 3:13), materialism (I Timothy 6:6-11), conceit, avarice, boasting and treachery. (II Timothy 3:2-4)
 
Paul told the gentiles to train themselves for godliness, to practice self-control and lead upright, godly lives (Galatians 5:23; I Timothy 4:7; II Timothy 1:7; Titus 2:11-12). He instructed them to ALWAYS pray constantly. (I Thessalonians 5:17)
 
Paul praised love, joy, peace, kindness, generosity, fidelity and gentleness (Galatians 5:22-23). He told his followers to conduct themselves with humility and gentleness (Ephesians 4:2), to speak to one another in psalms and hymns; to sing heartily and make music to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16)
 
Paul wrote further that women should cover their heads while worshiping, and that long hair on males is dishonorable. (I Corinthians 11:5-14) 
 
According to Paul, Christian women are to dress modestly and prudently, and are not to be adorned with braided hair, gold or pearls or expensive clothes. (I Timothy 2:9)
 
Christians often ignore the New Testament as a whole, and focus only on one of Paul's statements to justify their hedonism. The late Reverend Janet Regina Hyland (1933 - 2007), an evangelical minister, a vegan, and author of God's Covenant with Animals (it's available through PETA), said they're quoting Paul out of context. Paul, she observed, was very strict with himself:
 
"But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." (I Corinthians 9:27)
 
Regina Hyland said further that this verse indicates it's possible for one to lose one's salvation (a serious point of contention among born agains!).
 
Christians who focus only on II Corinthians 12:8-9 MUST be quoting Paul out of context, because otherwise it doesn't make any sense: on the one hand, Paul is warning that drunkards, thieves, homosexuals, etc. will not inherit the kingdom of God, and on the other hand he's saying if you call on Jesus three times... you can do whatever you want?! 
 
And, boy, not all Christians are pro-life! Couldn't pro-choice Christians cite "three times..." to justify their right to abortion?!
 
The traditional interpretation of II Corinthians 12:8-9 is that Paul had a "thorn" in his side, and asked the Lord what to do about it. The response was simple: "My grace is sufficient for thee." This was a response to a specific problem, not a license to do as one pleases, or why else would Paul himself have given so many other moral instructions throughout his epistles?
 
Reverend Frank Hoffman, a retired pro-life vegan Methodist minister, and owner of the www.all-creatures.org Christian vegan website says he agrees with the traditional interpretation.  
 
John Morrow, a pro-life Christian taking a stand against abortion on secular human rights grounds, converted me to the pro-life cause, when debating pro-choice liberals (dominating the discussion!) on USENET, from 1986 - 1988. 
 
1. John Morrow said he disagreed with the Republicans for failing to provide enough social support for children once they're born. 
 
In 1992, pro-life Democrat Robert Casey said he would strongly support Lynn Yeakel who was then running against pro-choice Republican Senator Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania.  
 
Yeakel favored abortion-rights, too, but, Casey said, “we agree on all the other issues.”  
 
Casey stated further that he would not leave the Democratic Party.  The anti-abortion Republicans, he insisted, “drop the children at birth and do nothing for them after that.”
 
Barney Frank similarly commented that for Republicans, "Life begins at conception and ends at birth."
 
2. John Morrow said his opposition to capital punishment led him to oppose abortion. 
 
3. John Morrow compared discrimination against the unborn to homophobia and xenophobia to win over liberals. 
 
4. John Morrow said he supported sex education. 
 
5. John Morrow said he supported contraception. 
 
6. John Morrow said when Roe v. Wade came down, a different set of morals was in place: even mainstream secular American society would not accept single mothers (like Chaitanya-what's-her-name), there were "shotgun weddings," homes for unwed mothers, etc. 
 
7. And John Morrow said health care in the U.S. should be "federalized" i.e., "socialized, like it is in the UK." 
 
We Democrats have been pushing for health care reform since Harry Truman.
 
Democrats For Life of America, 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, South Building, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20004 (202) - 220 - 3066  
 
****
 
"Where are the churches that preach and organize peace marches?" 
 
On the religious left, of course!
 
Conservatives claim to believe in and revere the Bible, right?
 
Dudley Giehl writes in his 1979 book, Vegetarianism: A Way of Life:
 
"Competition for food has inevitably led to conflict and this struggle for survival has been a significant factor in the history of organized warfare.  
 
"In this respect, meat-eating may be regarded as either the underlying cause of armed conflict or at least one of several factors contributing to the exacerbation of a pre-existing problem.  
 
"The reason why meat, in particular, has created such problems is that the practice of raising livestock requires a much greater use of resources.  
 
"The basic problem is simply that people are forced to compete with animals for food--a most precarious situation when food is in short supply.
 
"The Bible contains numerous examples of conflict situations that are directly attributable to the practice of raising livestock, including contested water rights, bitter competition for grazing areas, and friction between agriculturalists and nomadic herdsmen.  
 
"The more settled agricultural communities deeply resented the intrusion of nomadic tribes with their large herds of cattle, sheep, and goats.  These animals were considered a menace.  
 
"Aside from the threat to the crops themselves, large herds of livestock caused much damage to the general quality of the land as a result of over grazing.
 
"It was ostensibly for this reason that the Philistines, whose primary agricultural pursuits were corn and orchards, sought to discourage nomadic herdsmen from using their territory by filling in many of the wells in the surrounding area.  
 
"One of the earliest accounts of strife among the herdsmen themselves is found in the story of Lot and Abram:
 
"'And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.   And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together; for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.  And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle.'   (Genesis 13:5-7)
 
"Abram moved Westward to a region known as Canaan, while Lot journeyed to the east, finally settling in Sodom.  Such peaceful agreements, however, were not always possible.  
 
"There are several references in the Bible to clashes between the Israelites and Midianites.  The Midianites were wealthy Bedouin traders who owned large numbers of livestock, as did the Israelites, who brought their herds with them when they left Egypt.
 
"Livestock require vast areas of land for grazing.  They also need water, which has never been abundant in that region of the world.  The strain thus placed on the land's resources is mentioned in Judges 6:4: "And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth.'
 
"The depletion of resources created by the people arid livestock moving into this territory is described in Judges 6:5 by a singularly appropriate simile: 'For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers.'   
 
"Another passage informs us that after a particularly vicious battle with the Midianites the Israelites augmented their herds with the livestock of their slain captives.  This included 675,000 sheep and more than 72,000 beeves.
 
"A strikingly frank reference to the causal relationship between flesh eating and war, in terms of land use, is found in Deuteronomy 
12:20: 
 
"'When the Lord thy God shall enlarge thy border, as he hath promised thee, and thou shalt say, 'I will eat flesh,' because thy soul longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after." 
 
****
 
A similar straightforward reference to the relationship between flesh eating and war can be found in Plato's Republic.  In a dialogue with Glaucon, Socrates extols the peace and happiness what come to people eating a vegetarian diet: 
 
"And with such a diet they may be expected to live in peace and health to a good old age, and bequeath a similar life to their children after them."
 
Glaucon remains skeptical that people would be satisfied with such fare.  He asserts that people will desire the "ordinary conveniences of life," including animal flesh.  
 
Socrates then proceeds to stock the once ideal state with swineherds, huntsmen, and "cattle in great number."  The dialogue continues:
 
"...and there will be animals of many other kinds, if people eat them?"
 
"Certainly."
 
"And living in this way we shall have much greater need of physicians than before? "
 
"Much greater."
 
"And the country which was enough to support the original inhabitants will be too small now, and not enough?"
 
"Quite true."
 
"Then a slice of our neighbor's land will be wanted by us for pasture and tillage, and they will want a slice of ours, if, like ourselves, they exceed the limit of necessity, and give themselves up to the unlimited accumulation of wealth?"
 
"That, Socrates, will be inevitable."
 
"And so we shall go to war, Glaucon.  Shall we not?"
 
"Most certainly," Glaucon replies.
 
Critics of Plato, reading the rest of the Republic, have complained that what Plato gives us is a militaristic or proto-fascist state, with censorship and a rigidly controlled economy.  
 
Plato would hardly disagree with these critics; what they have overlooked is that the state which he describes is not his idea--it is merely a consequence of Glaucon's requirements which Socrates himself disavows.  
 
Greed for meat, among other things, produced the character of the second state Plato describes.
 
Philosophy professor Daniel Dombrowski says, "That the Republic was to be a vegetarian city is one of the best-kept secrets in the history of philosophy." (Republic 369d-373e)
 
Abortion and war are the collective karma for killing animals. Through killing animals, peace and pro-life activists are only thwarting their own respective causes. 
 
"The vegetarian movement," wrote Count Leo Tolstoy, "ought to fill with gladness the souls of all those who have at their heart the realization of God’s Kingdom on earth."
 
****
 
 
 
8. Through factory-farming, milk is obtained violently:
 
You wrote:
 
"To link milk drinking to 'torment, abuse, early death (of the cow)' is ridiculous."
 
I answered: 
 
"But that's how milk is obtained."
 
You responded:
 
"No, Vasu.  That is how MEAT is obtained...Meat-eaters are going to the same source for a different service---meat eating!"
 
No, you've got it backwards. The industry is set up for cow-killing, meat-eating, etc. That's the reason for its existence. And milk drinkers, with their consumer dollars, are funding or supporting a cow-killing, meat-eating industry to obtain their milk, rather than find or create an alternative industry to obtain their milk which isn't set up for cow-killing, meat-eating, etc.
 
It's not like purchasing a fake-leather jacket or fake fur from a company that sells real leather and suede and real fur, nor like ordering a vegetarian or vegan entree at a restaurant that serves meat dishes as well as veg dishes, either. In these cases, one is specifically selecting a cruelty-free item, separate and distinct from the other items which involve cruelty and killing, whereas in the production of dairy through modern factory farming, the milk itself is cruelly obtained.
 
9. Are dairy products necessary for survival?:
 
You wrote:
 
"If a mother choses to have an abortion because her life is in danger, that is acceptable. 
 
"...without milk, my life is in danger.
 
"Do you still believe a women has a right to choose if her life is in danger?"
 
Interesting analogy! Anti-animal rights groups attempt to point out hypocrisy. It says online on November 10, 2007, that animal activists like PETA Vice President Mary Beth Sweetland, an insulin (tested on dogs, rabbits, and mice) dependent diabetic, "continue to enjoy the benefits of  animal testing while supporting terrorist acts on the scientists who provide them."
 
And advocates of embryonic stem-cell research similarly argue that it's necessary for medical progress. And the Fund for the Feminist Majority produced a "documentary" entitled Abortion: For Survival, which Ted Turner broadcast on CNN without giving equal time to the pro-life side, like pro-lifers today flooding the airwaves (no pun intended!) with anti-animal sound bites, without giving equal time to the pro-animal-rights side.
 
In conversation with a Catholic priest in London in 1973, Srila Prabhupada said one of God's commandments is "Thou shalt not kill." 
 
The priest, being respectful towards Srila Prabhupada, said, "Father, now you're being unfair...How would we survive if we didn't eat meat?"
 
Srila Prabhupada said about himself and his followers, "How are *we* surviving?!" And that killing animals is unnecessary.
 
It wasn't too long ago that people thought meat was necessary for human health, and the vegetarians have proven them wrong. Perhaps, in time, the vegans will prove that the optimum diet for mankind is a vegan diet, free of all animal products. The medical data from Dr. John McDougall, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), Dr. Milton Mills, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and the China Study, Forks Over Knives, etc. all support this position.
 
After the spectacular Democratic victories of 1992, I attended an anti-fur demonstration at Union Square in San Francisco on "Fur-Free Friday," the day after Thanksgiving. An older gentleman, Leo, brought up veganism as consistently nonviolent when contrasted with lacto-ovo-vegetarianism. I responded favorably, and said lightheartedly, perhaps after making all of mankind vegetarian, everyone will be asking the vegans, "Where do you get your Vitamin B12 from?" the way meat-eaters now ask the vegetarians, "Where do you get your protein from?"
 
There's a difference between killing for survival Vs killing unnecessarily. 
 
Perhaps thinking along these lines, Keith Akers addresses the moral question of killing insects in A Vegetarian Sourcebook: "What about insects? While there may be reason to kill insects, there is no reason to kill them for food. One distinguishes between the way meat animals are killed for food and the way insects are killed.
 
"Insects are killed only when they intrude upon human territory, posing a threat to the comfort, health, or well-being of humans. There is a huge difference between ridding oneself of intruders and going out of one’s way to find and kill something which would otherwise be harmless."
 
According to Akers:
"These questions may have a certain fascination for philosophers, but most vegetarians are not bothered by them. For any vegetarian who is not a biological pacifist, there would not seem to be any particular difficulty in distinguishing ethically between insects and plants on the one hand, and animals and humans on the other."
 
A return to organic farming means fewer insects are killed!
 
I brought up the moral question of killing insects to Aniruddha dasa (Alan Smallwood), a former disciple of Hamsadutta dasa, on the UC San Diego campus in 1987. He said, "Well, you have to be practical. Srila Prabhupada said, if you're in the desert, and there's no other food available, you find an animal, you kill it, and you eat it."
 
(Srila Prabhupada himself said to French Roman Catholic cardinal Jean Danielou, when discussing the moral issue of killing animals for food, "When there is no other food, someone may eat meat to keep from starving. That is another thing.")
 
Hamsadutta dasa said around that time as well, that Srila Prabhupada criticized Gandhi for interpreting the Bhagavad-gita allegorically, saying the battlefield of Kurukshetra represented the body, and the five Pandava princes represented the five senses, etc.
 
Srila Prabhupada insisted that the Battle of Kurukshetra was an actual historical battle which took place over 5,100 years ago, and that Lord Krishna was directly instructing His disciple Arjuna to kill his kinsmen.
 
I commented that Gandhi was influenced by the Jains in this regard.
 
Bhakti Ananda Goswami (Brother David Sherman), a sannyassi (Hindu monk) and Catholic hermit residing in Coquille, Oregon, once said, "We're not Jains. If we need to kill to survive, we'll do so. But in this day and age, killing animals is unnecessary."
 
Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders said as much in her 1987 interview with Vegetarian Times, "That's why we're omnivorous. We can adapt to flesh-eating if our survival depends on it."
 
(The editors of Vegetarian Times write that this point is made in British author Peter Cox's 1986 book, Why You Don't Need Meat, which influenced Chrissie Hynde to start Reprieve! a vegetarian and animal advocacy group in the UK.)
 
As I said before, humans are not natural omnivores. Anatomically, we resemble the frugivorous primates. To claim humans are omnivores would be to play right into the hands of the meat-eaters. 
 
Again: is veganism being "fanatical" about nonviolence, or is it just being realistic? Especially when the dairy industry is tied to the production of beef and veal? Especially given the cruelty of modern factory farming?
 
Abortion as survival? John Morrow cited the case of an ectopic pregnancy, where the growth of the fetus directly threatens the mother's life. He said it's analogous to the fetus attacking the mother, in which case an abortion would be self-defense, to save the life of the mother.
 
This argument would also justify wars of self-defense, rather than wars of aggression, or pre-emptive war, like the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 under George W. Bush.
 
10. Imperfect Analogy:
 
You write:
 
"Here's an analogy:  A women is hired to star in a TV show.  The show is wholesome and very innocent, kind of like Brady Bunch.  It is then found out that this women will be going into porno movies.  According to vegan 'logic,' the audience for the Brady Bunch-type show is aiding and abetting the porn industry." 
 
A more accurate analogy: pro-lifers calling for a boycott of corporations contributing to Planned Parenthood, etc., because through their consumer dollars, they're directly contributing to the killing of the unborn.
 
People willingly devote their time and energy to sanctity-of-life and/or social justice issues! Economic boycotting is a political tactic used by liberals and conservatives alike.
 
Pro-life activist Bryan Kemper of Stand True Ministries at http://bryankemper.com writes:
 
”It just saddens me that businesses that cater to children help raise money for the killing of innocent babies. Do they not realize they are helping to kill off the very children who could be their customers in just a few years?… Cheesecake Factory…I have no intention of ever eating there again. For the latest on this particular boycott…”
 
I don't understand pro-lifers' becoming so defensive when the subject of animal rights is brought up! If you're not interested in vegetarianism, why would you put a vegetarian under surveillance in the first place? That's just fucking stupid!
 
If you're not interested in vegetarianism, fine. Why do you have to depict vegetarian advocates as belonging to another religion? Are you eating meat with a guilty conscience and trying to rationalize it by depicting vegetarianism as someone else's "religious belief" and therefore it doesn't concern you? A lot of pro-choicers look at abortion that way, too, you know.
 
If pro-lifers were told, "You're unknowingly doing business with a corporation that contributes to Planned Parenthood," they would appreciate the advice. They wouldn't become hostile, defensive, etc. And it might influence them to change their course of action (that is, stop patronizing a particular business, etc.).
 
Similarly, why should pro-lifers become hostile when told, "According to the law of karma, your killing of animals is sentencing generations of unborn children to die..." ?
 
They may or may not believe it, and they might not think of animal activists as on the same side only with a related issue in respecting life (like anti-abortionists and anti-euthanasia, and/or anti-capital punishment activists), but there's no reason for them to react with hostility.
 
True, Planned Parenthood does more than just abortions, just as there are restaurants serving vegetarian as well as meat dishes. But what if (like the analogy above about how milk differs from purchasing fake fur at a fur realtor) it were impossible to make a nonviolent selection from Planned Parenthood? What if, for example, even the condoms they distribute were produced through the killing of unborn children, or contained fetal tissue on them, etc.?
 
My friend Al Fecko, a Catholic vegetarian in Michigan, once suggested creating a pro-life alternative to Planned Parenthood... along the lines of a strictly vegetarian or vegan restaurant versus a restaurant serving veg as well as meat dishes.
 
Bryan Kemper of StandTrue Ministries wrote on August 23, 2007:
 
"I am disgusted that we as a nation are so outraged over dog fighting while thousands of babies are being mutilated daily. Michael Vick could have invested his money into an abortion clinic and he would not be in trouble, in fact he would be protected. It may be against federal law to inflict cruelty on animals but it is perfectly fine according to the law to dismember little baby boys and girls any time in the first nine months of their lives. 
 
"I am horrified by dog fighting just like most people; I think it is a barbaric practice and should be illegal. I am not, however, okay with the fact that our federal government allows more protection to a dog than a human person. It is absolutely asinine that we as a society can get in an uproar about dog fighting and still allow the destruction of almost 4,000 precious children each day... 
 
"I challenge PETA to show some consistency in their crusade against cruelty and work for the same protection for humans as it does for animals. Call PETA at 757-622-PETA (7382) and ask them why they won't stand up for the babies with the same passion they stand up for the dogs."
 
The late Reverend Janet Regina Hyland (1933 - 2007), responded:
 
"Dear Bryan Kemper, You are certainly fighting the good fight against the brutalization and slaughter of babies who are still in utero. And the dedication and efforts of those engaged in this struggle will result in laws that prohibit the scourge of abortion. 
 
"God calls us to join forces against the brutality and violence that surrounds us, but not all are called to the same cause. 
 
"Some are called to direct their primary efforts against pedophiles and sexual predators. Others are working to outlaw the domestic violence that finds its target in children and women. And still others work to end the brutalization of helpless animals. 
 
"Just as you acknowledge being horrified by dog-fighting, you must allow that many people who belong to groups like PETA are outraged at the brutality of abortion. And the fact that there are laws that provide penalties for animal abuse should not discourage or anger you. People have been fighting for laws against animal cruelty for more than a hundred years, and those efforts are now paying off. 
 
"Your efforts are challenging the status quo and will ultimately result in laws against abortion. We all need to learn from those who struggle to end the suffering and untimely deaths caused by various illnesses. 
 
"People who direct their major efforts against cancer do not demean the work of those whose primary concern is ending the suffering of diabetes or asthma. They understand that they are all working, in different venues, to end the scourge of disease. 
 
"In the same way, those of us who actively working to end the suffering and death caused by various kinds of brutality and violence in the world, need to understand that each of us are doing the work to which to which we have been called. And we do not have to denigrate the efforts of those whose calling is different from our own. In the love of the Lord, Rev. J.R. Hyland, IMF" 
 
Bryan Kemper challenged PETA to "show some consistency" ... PETA and animal activists must demand anti-abortionists do likewise!

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