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Responding to a Pig Roast #2

Dear Editor:

I was saddened to read your article indicating that the Trinity Lutheran Church plans to hold a pig and chicken roast ("PETA roasts church for event," July 31, 2003). While the church's minister apparently wants to duck the issue, the mass production and widespread consumption of meat harm  us, our communities, and our planet, and conflict with Christianity in at least five important areas.

First, while Christianity mandates that people should be very careful about preserving their health and their lives, numerous scientific studies have linked animal-based diets directly to heart disease, stroke, many forms of cancer, and other chronic degenerative diseases.

Second, while Christianity forbids inflicting unnecessary pain on animals, most farm animals are raised on "factory farms" where they live in cramped, confined spaces, and are often drugged, mutilated, and denied fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and any enjoyment of life.

Third, while Christianity teaches that "the earth is the Lord's" (Psalm 24:1) and that we are to be God's partners and co-workers in preserving the world, modern intensive livestock agriculture contributes substantially to soil erosion and depletion, air and water pollution, overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the destruction of tropical rain forests and other habitats, global warming, and other environmental threats. 

Fourth, while Christianity mandates that we are to conserve natural resources, intensive livestock agriculture is grossly less efficient than plant agriculture and consumes much more food (as animal feed), land, water, energy, and other resources to nourish the same number of people.

And finally, while Christianity stresses that we are to assist the poor and share our bread with hungry people, over 70% of the grain grown in the United States is fed to animals destined for slaughter (it takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of edible beef), while an estimated 20 million people worldwide die because of malnutrition and its effects each year and about a billion go to bed hungry every night. 

In view of these powerful Christian teachings to preserve human health, care about the welfare of animals, protect the environment, conserve resources, and help feed hungry people; and the extremely negative effects animal-centered diets have in each of these areas, I urge Christians to consider eliminating their consumption of animal products, choosing healthy vegetarian alternatives instead.

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, Judaism and Global Survival, and Mathematics and Global Survival, and over 100 articles at

President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA)
Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, College of Staten Island
2800 Victory Bulevard, Staten Island, NY 10314
Phone: (718) 761-5876 Fax: (718) 982-3631
E-mail address: [email protected] 


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