It has been two years since I eliminated all animal products from my diet and lifestyle. It was the right decision for the well-being of animals, the environment and my health. We know that animal agriculture is responsible for over half of all water consumption in the country and that dairy is not healthy for human beings. However, the ethical side for choosing a plant-based lifestyle is debatable; not everyone is going to agree killing animals is wrong, and I understand that. That being said, I commonly hear the responses, “God put animals on the world for us to eat,” and, “Jesus ate animals and was a fisherman, so I should eat animals.” These are ideas I have been struggling with recently.
Rather than reading verses from the Bible I agree with, consider whether God himself would be happy with what we do to the animals He created, all in the name of foods that have no biological need to be consumed.
Consider if a just God would be impressed that we:
– Artificially breed them into existence in their billions, confining them in awful and unnatural conditions.
– Take their lives when (in almost all cases) they are still babies.
– Cram them onto transport trucks where many suffer slow, painful deaths in transit.
– Force them against their will into slaughterhouses, where we hang them upside-down and cut their throats.
– Throw day-old male chicks into grinding machines or gas chambers (because they don’t lay eggs).
– Take day-old calves from their mothers and kill them (so that we can drink the milk intended for them).
– Destroy God’s air, oceans, lakes, rivers and forests with destructive and unsustainable animal agriculture.
These are all acts that would get you arrested if you did them to a cat or a dog, or indeed any animal not arbitrarily classed as “food.” If God’s will, together with morality acquired from the Bible is what causes us to criminalize animal abuse, why do we then choose to turn a blind eye to the torment of a few unfortunate species whose flesh we have no need to consume?
God created these animals with the ability to feel pain, form social bonds and elicit emotions, as well as with a strong will to live and the instinct to fight to stay alive. Why would a kind and loving God create animals with these traits if he then wanted us to confine, enslave, hurt and kill them? Is this the act of someone who is kind and just? Or is it perhaps we who have misinterpreted his intentions? We’ve twisted ideals into “thou shalt not kill (unless we like the taste of the animal’s flesh)” and have used our dominion to hurt, abuse and kill vulnerable animals, when we should really be using that responsibility to show peace, love and protection to all of God’s creatures.