In the U.S., where approximately 75 percent of adults identify as Christian, the lives of many animals are miserable and short. According to statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2010 almost 10 billion animals were killed for food in the U.S. alone. That is the equivalent of almost thirty animals per person. Thirty animals per person! The vast majority of these animals live in cramped, filthy conditions. They are forcibly removed from their mothers, who are treated as breeding machines not as living, breathing beings. In the Bible God is compared to a mother hen who protects her young under her wings. In the U.S. a mother hen is kept in a battery breeding cage, she is never allowed to protect herself or her young.
Several years ago I was honored to be part of a documentary produced by the Humane Society of the United States entitled “Eating Mercifully.” We examined the history of Christianity and asked how beliefs intersect with practices of eating. Christianity, which not only focuses on justice for humans but also has a rich tradition of thoughtful eating, is no longer living up to its own calls for compassion. Numerous saints chose diets that caused the least amount of pain and suffering to others. Fridays were traditionally a day of fasting or, at the very least, of not eating meat. Christians seem to have forgotten that what we eat is a reflection of what we believe.
The basic question must be, Can you eat mercifully and eat meat?
Laurie, by the way, was the one who got us our dog Jazz, here ignoring MJ: