"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the Earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."Genesis 1:29-30
"The righteous one regards the life of his animal but the heart of the wicked is without mercy."
Solomon, Proverbs 12:10
"But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require: at the hand of every beast will I require it."
"For whosoever eateth the fat of the beast of which men offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, even the soul that eateth it shall be cut off from his people. And ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings." Leviticus 7:23-27
"He who slayeth a cow is the same as he that killeth a man; he who sacrificeth a lamb is the same as he who slayeth a dog. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations."Isaiah 66:3
"He who desires to augment his own flesh by eating the flesh of other creatures lives in misery in whatever species he may take his birth." Mahabharat
Hindu text (c. 900 BC)
“This is the quintessence of wisdom; not to kill anything. All breathing, existing, living sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away Yogashastra Jain Scripturec (500 BC)
SPIRITUAL / RELIGIOUS
Many religious societies have advocated a vegetarian lifestyle to promote compassion as well as physical and spiritual health.
The philosophy of 'do no harm to others' is found somewhere in every religion, although sometimes only certain denominations of the religion or the mystics of the religion have followed the teaching. However even in the orthodox teachings of these religions there are messages of living a life of harmlessness to others and respect for all living beings.
.... Dr WIll Tuttle talks about Spirituality and what we eat ............ . Conscious Nutrition - Tony Samara
“All things of creation are children of the Father and thus brothers of man. ... God wants us to help animals, if they need help. Every creature in distress has the same right to be protected.” “Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission - to be of service to them wherever they require it.” “If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who deal likewise with their fellow men.” St. Francis of Assisi (c.1181 – 1226)
“The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, Oh, God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, our brothers the animals to whom you gave the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of man with ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to you in song, has been a groan of travail. May we realize that they live not for us alone but for themselves and for you and that they love the sweetness of life.” “The body which is burdened with meat is afflicted with diseases. A moderate way of living makes the body healthier and stronger and cuts off the root of evil. The stream of meat darkens the light of the spirit. One can hardly have virtue if one enjoys meat and feasts.” St. Basil the Great (c.329 – 359) (Bishop, Church Father, Doctor of the Church, founder of Monasticism)
“The eating of meat was unknown up to the big flood, but since the flood they have put the strings and stinking juices of animal meat into our mouths, just as they threw in front of the grumbling sensual people in the desert. Jesus Christ, who appeared when the time had been fulfilled, has again joined the end with the beginning, so that it is no longer allowed for us to eat animal meat.” St. Jerome (c.340 – 420) (priest, monk, theologian, first translator of the Bible into Latin)
“It is in the battery shed that we find the parallel with Auschwitz....To shut your mind, heart and imagination from the sufferings of others is to begin slowly, but inexorably, to die. Those Christians who close their minds and hearts to the cause of animal welfare, and the evils it seeks to combat, are ignoring the Fundamental spiritual teachings of Christ himself.” “Yet saddest of all fates, surely, is to have lost that sense of the holiness of life altogether; that we commit the blasphemy of bringing thousands of lives to a cruel and terrifying death or of making those lives a living death -- and feel nothing.” Rt. Rev. Dr. John Baker (retired Bishop of Salisbury, former Chaplain to the British House of Commons)
“We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.” Rev. William Inge (1860-1954) (Anglican priest, Professor of Divinity, Oxford, Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral)
“Animals are God's creatures, not human property, nor utilities, nor resources, nor commodities, but precious beings in God's sight.... Christians whose eyes are fixed on the awfulness of crucifixion are in a special position to understand the awfulness of innocent suffering. The Cross of Christ is God's absolute identification with the weak, the powerless, and the vulnerable, but most of all with unprotected, undefended, innocent suffering.” “Christian theology provides some of the best arguments for respecting animal life and for taking seriously animals as partners with us within God's creation. It may be ironical that this tradition, once thought of as the bastion of human moral exclusivity, should now be seen as the seed-bed for a creative understanding of animal liberation.” Rev. Dr. Andrew Linzey (Anglican Priest & Senior Research Fellow in Theology, Oxford)
Quotes from The Buddha (c. 560-480 BC):
To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.
The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion.
Because he has pity on every living creature, therefore is a man called “holy”. - Dhammapada
For the sake of love of purity, the Bodhisattva should refrain from eating flesh, which is born of semen, blood, etc. For fear of causing terror to living beings let the Bodhisattva, who is disciplining himself to attain compassion, refrain from eating flesh... It is not true that meat is proper food and permissible when the animal was not killed by himself, when he did not order others to kill it, when it was not specially meant for him. Again, there may be some people in the future who ... being under the influence of the taste for meat will string together in various ways sophistic arguments to defend meat eating. But... meat eating in any form, in any manner, and in any place is unconditionally and once for all prohibited... Meat eating I have not permitted to anyone, I do not permit, I will not permit.- Lankavatara Sutra
A major precept of Buddhism is 'Ahimsa' (non-violence or harmlessness). Buddhism
“Meat cannot be obtained without injury to animals, and the slaughter of animals obstructs the way to Heaven; let him therefore shun the use of meat. … He who injures harmless beings from a wish to give himself pleasure, never finds happiness, neither living nor dead. He who does not seek to cause the sufferings of bonds and death to living creatures, but desires the good of all, obtains endless bliss. He who does not injure any creature, obtains without an effort what he thinks of, what he undertakes, and what he fixes his mind on. He who does not eat meat becomes dear to men, and will not be tormented by diseases. He who permits the slaughter of an animal, he who kills it, he who cuts it up, he who buys or sells meat, he who cooks it, he who serves it up, and he who eats it, are all slayers. There is no greater sinner than that man who seeks to increase the bulk of his own flesh by the flesh of other beings. … Thus having well considered the disgusting origin of meat and the cruelty of fettering and slaying of corporeal beings, let him entirely abstain from eating flesh." The Laws of Manu (Hindu religious text c. 1500 BC)
To be non-violent to human beings and to be a killer or enemy of the poor animals is Satan's philosophy. In this age there is always enmity against poor animals and therefore the poor creatures are always anxious. The reaction of the poor animals is being forced on human society and therefore there is always the strain of cold or hot war between men, individually, collectively or nationally." Srimad Bhagavatam 1.10.6 (Hindu Scriptures, oldest human sacred text c. 2500 - 3000 BC)
"Good men extend their pity, even unto the most despicable animals. The moon does not withhold the light, even from the cottage of a Chandala [outcast]. … Those who have forsaken the killing of all; those who are helpmates to all; those who are a sanctuary to all; those men are in the way of heaven. … Not to kill is a supreme duty … What is religion? Compassion for all things which have life." Hitopadesa (Hindu text c. 500)
There is much evidence to suggest that Jesus was an 'Essene', who were strict vegetarian. Below is a PETA video which also asks Christians to consider Jesus' view of the treatment of animals and on vegetarianism.
“A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being." The Prophet Mohammed (570 –632)
“It should not be believed that all beings exist for the sake of the existence of man. On the contrary, all the other beings too have been intended for their own sakes and not for the sake of anything else.” “[Regarding animals and their offspring], there is no difference between the pain of humans and the pain of other living beings, since the love and tenderness of the mother for the young are not produced by reasoning, but by feeling, and this faculty exists not only in humans but in most living beings.” Rabbi Moses ben Maimo n (1135-1204) (Jewish philosopher-theologian, codifier of the Talmud)
“It is forbidden, according to the law of the Torah, to inflict pain upon any living creature. On the contrary, it is our duty to relieve the pain of any creature, even if it is ownerless or belongs to a non-Jew.” The Code of Jewish Law (Sephardic compilation of Jewish law) c. 1560
"Unless we live with non-violence and reverence for all living beings in our hearts, all our humaneness and acts of goodness, all our vows, virtues, and knowledge, all our practices to give up greed and acquisitiveness are meaningless and useless." “He who harms animals has not understood or renounced deeds of sin... Those whose minds are at peace and who are free from passions do not desire to live at the expense of others.” Mahavira (enlightened Hindu teacher, founder of Jainism) (599-527 BC)
“Non-injury to all living beings is the only religion.” (first truth of Jainism) “In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self, and should therefore refrain from inflicting upon others such injury as would appear undesirable to us if inflicted upon ourselves.” “This is the quintessence of wisdom; not to kill anything. All breathing, existing, living sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away. This is the pure unchangeable Law. Therefore, cease to injure living things.” “All living things love their life, desire pleasure and do not like pain; they dislike any injury to themselves; everybody is desirous of life and to every being, his life is very dear.” Yogashastra (Jain Scripture) (c. 500 BC)
The religious/spiritual beliefs of many Indigenous people shows great respect for animals and Mother Earth. Prayers and rituals surrounded the hunting, killing and eating of animals and thanks was given to the spirit of the animal and Mother Nature. This was (and still is for some still living in very remote areas) a natural way for these people to live, and in harmony with nature and connot be compared to the mass production, use and abuse of animals in factory farms and slaughterhouses, whose flesh most people in the Western world eat.