Whether anyone likes it or not, today I am going to have a very good go at trying to convince YOU…..to become A VEGETARIAN. Please be ready because I really have a strong case here. If you are already vegetarian and are reading this article, then the facts below may be useful for you to convince others.

Health

It’s a well-known fact that Vegetarians live longer than those who aren’t. Various research shows slightly different results but the average is 7 – 8 yrs longer. A healthy vegetarian diet will give you more years to see your grandchildren grow up. You will very likely avoid heart disease, obesity, higher cholesterol, blood pressure, and hypertension (unless you live on chips and coke).

World Poverty & Hunger

We all sometimes come across really poor people and what stings us the most is when we see children not getting enough food. Well here’s a statistic for you. If the whole world became vegetarian for one day then the following would happen:

The 1.4 billion people that live in abject poverty in this world would potentially each receive half a ton of grains which translates into 3 pounds of grain per day, per person, which is twice the amount they need for survival. Everyone would have enough food. The problem right now is that the world produces 756 million tones of grain to give to farm animals, which are then slaughtered and given to humans. Peter Singer notes, " The world is not running out of food. The problem is that we — the relatively affluent — have found a way to consume four or five times as much food as would be possible if we were to eat the crops we grow directly."

That’s not the only benefit of the world becoming vegetarian for one day– 3 million acres of land would be spared, 70 million gallons of oil would be spared, 1.2 million tones of CO2 would be spared, 3 millions tones of soil erosion would be spared. Meat-eating contributes to more than 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions. In other words – becoming vegetarian is more effective for global warming than switching to a Hybrid car.

So the next time you do something for charity, or poor children in Africa – don’t pull out your
checkbook, just go veggie!

Morality

Please excuse my candidness here but no matter which religion or faith we belong to, hurting another living being just for food……..when there are alternatives……..which are healthier……. is WRONG! And it’s cruel. Let’s be honest here, who would be able to eat their meat after having gone through a guided tour of a slaughterhouse? If you say yes, then why don’t we put this to the test? There is a documentary called “Meet your Meat”. Watch it and then let see what happens! Sir Paul McCartney says, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” I agree. Our hearts bleed when we see our children get a measly cut on their eye or knee, but when an animal experiences horrific pain and dies to come onto our plate, our conscience goes to slumberland. Hypocrites we are!!

Some people opine that ‘animals don’t have souls’. This is rubbish! Look into your pet’s eyes and tell us really whether you can say that they don’t have a soul. Like us, they go through emotions, they feel happy, they feel sad, they grow, they eat, sleep, do a number 1 and a number 2, mate, and have their likes and dislikes. They just don’t speak English, or French, or Spanish. If animals don’t have a soul then on what basis do we have a soul? In that case, we might as well start putting ourselves on restaurant menus as “Human Tikka” served with “finger” chips on the side.

Religion

A lot of people are convinced that meat-eating is allowed in their religion. It may be allowed, but this is only under special circumstances. For example, if you are stranded like Tom Hanks on an island with no hope, and there are some animals in the vicinity……then eat them. It’s fine to do so. If you live in a desert where there are only camels and nothing grows, then eat the camels. But when you live in a city and there is Nakumatt or Mama Bhogas offering lots of varieties of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and grains, then why bother with eating something which has been brutally slaughtered and can potentially give you Mad Cow Disease? I just don’t see the logic.

Srila Prabhupada once said, “Supposing one of your brothers is crippled and suffering, and you say you to father – can we brothers please kill him and eat him? He is of no use! Would your father accept this proposal?”

Sometimes religions do permit animal sacrifice but the purpose is to allow certain people who have such cravings with the aim to slowly curb the tendency. A good example is that the government does allow smoking, though there is a big fat warning now on every packet of the harmful effects which each individual must take full responsibility for. In the same way, the spiritual government through scripture is encouraging people to stop eating meat. In Vedic tradition, the word for meat is ‘mamsah’ which literally means ‘As I am doing to you (mam) you may one day do to me (sah).” In other words, we will have to pay for this sinful act one day, in the future, with our own life, in the same brutal way.

Taste

I know, I know, I know…..for most people it’s about the taste. But let’s be honest. What we really like is all the masalas and spices that the meat is cooked with. Otherwise, it’s just raw meat which no one likes anyway. Many millions of people have given up the idea of eating meat – including many celebrities, and they are happy! Here is a small list of celebrities who are vegetarian/vegan:

Abdul Kalam
Abraham Lincoln
Albert Einstein
Amitabh Bachchan
Bill Clinton
Bob Marley
Brad Pitt
George Harrison
Kareena Kapoor
Kate Winslet
George Harrison

Care to follow?

Human Compassion
Every religion preaches compassion, but how ironic is it when we somehow, downright, ignore this principle when we eat meat. Again, some may argue that killing plants is also violence. But truth be told, a plant or tree feels no pain when picked for its fruit. In fact, after picking the fruits, the trees remain alive. But in animal killing, it’s completely different. It’s brutal, it’s bloody and something dies a horrible death in the process. Let’s now put this to the acid test. On a nice summer’s day, parents have often said to their children, “Children, today we are going to have a lovely day out and go strawberry picking.” This sounds like music to most people’s ears and everyone has fun on such a day out. But has any parent ever said, “Children, it’s a lovely summers day today, let’s all go to the slaughterhouse.” Likely not and there is a good reason for this. Deep down, everyone knows that there is something fundamentally sinister about eating meat. We are maintaining our bodies by killing another body. Where is the compassion?

Nutrition

Some parents are told by doctors that they will under-nourish their children by not giving them meat. Well, I am sorry to say, but your doctor is wrong because I am a very healthy 6ft 2inch giant, who is (only very slightly) overweight, and I have been vegetarian my whole life. And there are many of me in this world.

End thoughts

All living beings, including ourselves, are going through the karmic cycle either in the human, animal, or plant kingdom. We should let them be because they are like our brothers and sisters. If we didn’t give them life then what right do we have to take it? It’s like killing someone when they are already suffering in jail. We have all been provided with a violence-free diet option which is cheaper, healthier, better for the environment, helping to poor people, better for our moral conscience, and very encouraged for spiritual growth.

Isn’t it ironic that temples don’t allow meat but Hindus eat it? Isn’t it ironic that the Gurudwara doesn’t allow meat but many Sikhs eat it? Hmmm….Meat for thought!!!

I just don’t see Jesus, Allah, Krishna, Buddha, Mahaveer, or Guru Nanak punishing anyone for NOT eating meat. In fact, I think they would give us all a pat on the back and some serious blessings. After all, most of them were vegetarian.

By

Yadav Jani

All questions and comments can be sent to inspire.btg@gmail.com

All our philosophy is based on the teachings of Srila Prabhupada, who is part of the Madhava Gaudiya Lineage.