The phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiber- all of the healthful components of plant foods- originate in plants, not animals. If they are present, it is because the animal ate plants. And why should we go through an animal to get the benefits of the plants themselves? To consume unnecessary, unseemly, and unhealthy substances, such as saturated fat, animal protein, lactose, and dietary cholesterol, is to negate the benefits of the fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are prevalent and inherent in plants.
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My hope is that we can navigate through this world and our lives with the grace and integrity of those who need our protection. May we have the sense of humor and liveliness of the goats; may we have the maternal instincts and protective nature of the hens and the sassiness of the roosters. May we have the gentleness and strength of the cattle, and the wisdom, humility, and serenity of the donkeys. May we appreciate the need for community as do the sheep and choose our companion as carefully as do the rabbits. May we have the faithfulness and commitment to family as the geese, and adaptability and affability of the ducks. May we have the intelligence, loyalty, and affection of the pigs and the inquisitiveness, sensitivity, and playfulness of the turkeys. My hope is that we learn from the animals what it is we need to become better people.
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It is not how we breed, keep and kill animals for human consumption that has been the impetus for vegetarianism for thousands of years. It is that we breed, keep and kill animals for human consumption. Throughout the centuries the common thread in the arguments against eating animals is the fact that since we have no nutritional requirement for the flesh or fluids of animals, killing them to simply satisfy our taste-buds or habits or customs amounts to senseless slaughter, and senseless slaughter is no small thing.
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When we turn away from the reality of what we do to animals for our gustatory pleasure, we play a game of pretend, like the child who covers her eyes and thinks you can't see her. And yet, there she remains. Closing our eyes doesn't make violence disappear; it only closes our minds and hearts and enables the violence to continue.