“As long as there are slaughterhouses there will be wars …”

Tolstoi

A nutritional study was done in a maximum security prison in America. This was a prison, like many others, where violence was a part of daily life for the inmates; violence in the form of rape, assault, and even murder. Half of the prison was given a change of diet. Instead of the standard fare of meat, potatoes, and vegetables, the experimental half of the prisoners was given a vegetarian diet. They were fed no meat or fish. The other half of the prison acted as a control group, and continued to be fed as they always had been. The two groups were in separate facilities and had no contact with each other.

There is Plenty of Colour in a Fruit and Vegetable Diet

For the vegetarian group subtle changes occurred almost immediately. Then, over the course of several months this experimental group of vegetarians became much less aggressive and violent. They stopped harming each other and appeared far more content. For the control group life remained unaltered, with violence as the norm.

Would You Eat Chicken If You Had To Buy From Here?

Back in 1994 we lived in a house in the country in Golden Bay, at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. At the time our daughters were aged one and three. One evening meal was interrupted by the persistent bawling of cattle. Lucia and I took the girls with us outside to investigate. Two farmers were selecting members of a herd for slaughter. Each steer chosen to be killed was marked with paint. We observed was the rough and insensitive way in which the animals were being treated. It was obvious these men didn’t consider it an issue that these cattle might have feelings. The insistent wailing should have been a giveaway. We returned to our meal, disturbed by what we had seen.

Later I took the girls to visit the incarcerated cattle. The men had left, presumably to enjoy a beef-based meal, and the bawling had abated. The cattle shuffled around forlornly, resigned to their fate. At that moment, nothing could convince us that these animals were unfeeling and stupid creatures. We stood at the fence and I spoke for the three of us, “Not all people are as insensitive as these men who mistreated you today. We care. We’re sorry. We love you.”

A subtle shift could be seen in the herd. They calmed visibly. The experience was one of many that helped our daughters to develop into the caring, compassionate young women they are today.

 
 

Pigs in Gestation Crate

 

Everything created is interdependent; so it follows that what affects one form of life must affect all other forms as well. If we deliberately cause suffering and disease in other lives, we increase our own suffering and disease.  It would seem self evident that killing animals for food only adds to the level of suffering on this planet. I’ve lived without meat and fish and other animal products (with the exception of the very occasional egg or piece of organic cheese) for close to thirty years. I am healthier today than I was in my early twenties. The hay fever and eczema I suffered from as a boy have completely disappeared. I can stick my nose into any flower and thoroughly enjoy the exquisite fragrance without sneezing. Clearly, I have demonstrated that one needn’t rely on animals for sustenance. Many others have done the same. It seems it is just a matter of changing our conditioned habits of eating. Are you prepared to make such a shift? You will improve your health on many levels and you’ll contribute to a more compassionate world in which to live in.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

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