Ways To Perfect Health Continues*
Its preparation degrades thousands of human beings. The slaughter of animals kills the finest human instincts in those who do it and exerts a terribly degrading influence upon their character. Study the men, women and children who work in any slaughterhouse or meat-packing plant and you will need no further arguments to realize that killing is wrong. In some states the occupation of a butcher bars a man from serving on a jury in a murder trial. If we shrink from cutting the throats of terror stricken animals and being splashed with their blood, we should not allow other men to do that dirty work for us. If we eat flesh we share the responsibility for the murder, which provided it, and for the moral degradation of those who did the killing.
It causes terrible suffering. The long trains which carry their suffering freight of living animals through the blinding glare and suffocating dust of the plains in summer and through their piercing winds in icy winter; the unutterable horrors of the cattle-ships which ply the oceans, the stifling and fetid air in the holds of the vessels, the broken limbs, gored sides and flayed skins of the agonized animals during a storm, the tail twisting, the reeking stench of the cattle-sheds, the terror of the victims while being dragged to the shambles, the crushing blow of the poleax which does not always kill, all this and much more shows how callous we are to the awful cruelty which is inflicted in order to supply us with unnecessary flesh.
It increases the consumption of alcohol. The use of flesh as food stimulates the desire for alcoholic liquors and doctors have found that one of the easiest, but most efficient and effective ways to stop the craving for drink is to prohibit the eating of meat. Vegetarians are almost wholly abstainers from alcohol, tobacco and drugs, and it is said that a vegetarian drunkard is unknown.
It intensifies sexual passion. When one adopts a non-flesh diet one is surprised to find how much easier it is to control sexual desire and to live a pure life. It is generally agreed that one potent cause of prostitution is luxurious and intemperate habits of eating and drinking and we have just seen that the desire for drink often arises from the stimulating effect of flesh eating.
No logical defense of flesh eating has ever been offered; apparently it is the only case where the evidence is all on one side. As might be expected however, a few tottering arguments have been advanced, but their weakness is manifest.
Vegetables are more difficult to digest than meat. They are for those who are accustomed to an exclusive meat diet, because while meat is digested in the stomach, vegetable tissue is digested in the intestines. There are a few rare cases in which a person has become so abnormal that he cannot assimilate any food except animal tissue but the great majority of people will find that after their diet has been modified for a few months until another set of intestinal glands becomes thoroughly active, they can digest vegetable tissue just as easily as they did flesh. The experiments, which have hitherto been made upon the digestibility of vegetables, have been tried upon those accustomed to a flesh diet. Naturally such evidence is valueless. Try the same experiment upon a vegetarian of some months and with properly cooked vegetables, and the result will be different. Meat gives the spurt of energy after it is eaten, because it is a stimulant, but a few hours later the reaction sets in and one either feels exhausted or has an unpleasant craving in the stomach. Vegetable tissue is absorbed more slowly but it gives more staying power and a vegetarian, if necessary, can abstain from food all day without serious discomfort.
Flesh eating is a natural custom. This is not true. More human beings are vegetarians than flesh eaters; the custom of living on flesh is only common in Western lands, and indeed is of recent growth even there. In England in the middle of the eighteenth century the slaughter of bullocks for the public market was practically unknown. While the lords of the land and the more wealthy people may have had meat upon their tables, the peasants, practically have always been vegetarians, living largely on potatoes, oatmeal, brown bread and milk. We have drifted into the habit of flesh eating because of increased wealth and love of luxury and quicker means of transporting freight, and as a result, our physical stamina is deteriorating even as it did in the days of the decay of Rome.
The most powerful nations of the world are those which live upon flesh. Surely other conditions, i.e., geographical, economical, political, social and above all temperamental...and not dinner table are accountable for this supremacy. As these nations arose from sturdy peasant stock that ate sparingly of meat, it is perhaps truer to say that they are powerful in spite of their diet. Instead of waning as at present, is it not probable that their strength would become still greater, if their citizens turned away from a disease-creating diet?
If we did not eat animals the country would be overrun by them. Is not the breeding of domestic animals entirely under human control?
If slaughterhouses were abolished there would be a shortage of leather, bone, soap and other products made from animal matter. There is not the slightest reason to fear this, because as soon as there is any incentive, satisfactory substitutes will soon be found by the inventive genius of man. Already an excellent and cheap substitute for leather is being manufactured in Belgium, while artificial bone is quite common. Splendid soap made entirely from vegetable oils is also on the market.
If it is wrong to kill we should not take the life of plants any more than that of animals. The question of diet does not center upon whether it is right or wrong to take life, but upon the unnecessary killing. It is sometimes necessary to destroy lower forms of life, as witness the case of the farmer who must protect his crop against worms and insects. But the slaughter of highly evolved birds and animals for food...unless we live in the Arctic regions or on a barren isle...is wholly without justification because it is unnecessary. Besides, when we kill an animal we often inflict pain, which is not the case when a plant is destroyed. When we take the life of an animal, we cut short its existence and stop all further growth, but those plants which form the most nutritious food...cereals, pulses, nuts and fruits...have already completed their cycle of growth when they are ripe and fit to eat and so even though we use such plants for food we are not handicapping their evolution.
Animals, birds and fish were made for the use of man. This idea is a remnant of mythology. The human evolution is but one among several which are taking place upon this planet and its members were not intended to prey upon the rest but to co-operate in the Divine Plan of evolution which seeks to assist the growth of every living creature. We are fulfilling our destiny when we help, but not when we kill. See I Do Not Eat Dead Animals. --
Editor's Note: Not to say there are none, but the editor knows of no vegetarian alcoholics.
each and every environment, good
*Consultation with a health care professional should occur before applying adjustments or treatments to the body, consuming medications or nutritional supplements and before dieting, fasting or exercising. None of these activities are herein presented as substitutes for competent medical treatment.