The Writings of
Vasu Murti


Animal Rights and Vegetarianism
in the Western Religious Traditions

Copyright 1995, 1999

Readers Comments and Vasu's Replies

From Jody Reid - 23 Jan 2003


I've been very much enjoying this web site. You make some great arguments to many of the things I myself have been thinking about these past weeks.

Concerning the Pro-life movement, in which I very much support, in a peaceful and loving way.

I do not endorse the radical behavior that seems to get time on the news, it shows no charity of heart.

Now, I've been reading a chapter in your book about Christianity, and it sparked some thoughts in my mind, being of the Catholic faith myself, this part about slavery....

...I've spent some time thinking about slavery from the days of the old test. and it was absolutely sinful to treat a slave any less than yourself. there were laws of the old that taught the people the rules and regulations concerning the slaves. These slaves lived with their masters with their entire families and grand parents etc... they were fed, clothed and cared for. and if a slave wanted to stay with their master even after the required 6 or so years , they were welcome as part of their family.

Now, these days it is quite different how we deal with slaves...for they do still you don't have to live with your employer, instead, he pays you a salary. you can by your own house and clothes and food with the money the employer provides you with for your care, under the conditions that you do work for him in exchange. there are still rules and regulations that exist with in our law to make sure that the employees get treated fair and with respect, and if they are mistreated in today's world it may not be referred to as sinful... but they are protected by the law. some of us are even fortunate enough to be able to own (or buy) a few of these slaves (I mean employees) ourselves.

Well, you see the point I'm trying to make, the slavery thing hasn't disappeared, it just has taken a new name and a new sort of shape. the slaves from the bible anyway, is much the same as employees are today to their employer. Now slavery through the eyes of our history lessons are much different than both.

Thanks so much for listening, and for your insightful web site .

Jody Reid

Reply from Vasu Murti

Dear Jody,

Thank you for taking the time to visit my website and read my writings.

You write that slavery hasn't really disappeared, but has taken on a new name and a new shape.

This may be true with the plight of migrant farm workers, illegal aliens, child labor and sweatshops in the Third World, etc., but I don't think you can compare people working a regular 8 to 5 job with a salary, benefits, etc. to slavery.

In previous centuries, Native Americans were hunted for "sport." Slavery was legal, there was child labor, sweatshops, women were considered the property of their husbands, etc. Animals had no rights, either, but there were voices calling for liberty and justice in this regard.

John Stuart Mill wrote: "The reasons for legal intervention in the case of children apply not less strongly to those unfortunate slaves--the animals."

Abraham Lincoln said: "I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being."

While it is known that the feminist movement initially opposed abortion as "child murder" (Susan B. Anothony's words), it is generally not known that many of the early American feminists, including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, and Amelia Jenkins Bloomer, were connected with the 19th century animal welfare movement. Together, they would meet with anti- slavery editor Horace Greeley to toast "Women's Rights and Vegetarianism."

These early American feminists thus saw animal rights as the logical next step in social progress after women's rights and civil rights.

Pro-life feminist Serrin Foster, Executive Director of Feminists For Life, often points out that conditions for women in the Third World are similar to what they were like for American women in the 19th century.

Vegetarian author John Robbins writes with optimism in "The Food Revolution," that: "The revolution sweeping our relationship to our food and our world, I believe, is part of an historical imperative. One hundred and fifty years ago, slavery was legal in the United States. One hundred years ago, women could not vote in most states. Eighty years ago, there were no laws in the United States against any form of child abuse. Fifty years ago, we had no Civil Rights Act, no Clean Air or Clean Water legislation, no Endangered Species Act.

Today, millions of people are refusing to buy clothes and shoes made in sweatshops, and are seeking to live healthier and more Earth-friendly lifestyles. In the last fifteen years alone, as people in the United States have realized how cruelly veal calves are treated, veal consumption has dropped 62 percent."

Again, thank you for taking the time to read my writings. Your comments are most welcome.

Best wishes!

---Vasu Murti

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