Weekly Newsletter - November 23, 2016
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. Book Review
  2. The Next Issue of Peaceable Table Is Now Online
  3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. Book Review

Farm to Fable: The Fictions of Our Animal-Consuming Culture by Robert Grillo, 2016

In this remarkably well-written and well-argued book, Grillo shows lays bare the deceits and fictions that underlie the massive exploitation and abuse of animals for food. Early in life, children see images of farmed animals as free-roaming and happy. When children recognize that the meat on their plates came from animals they like, parents typically explain that there is a fundamental difference between pets and farmed animals. If that doesn’t quell the revulsion children typically experience, the threat of no dessert is often sufficient to get the child to conform to social norms. Then, throughout life, billions of dollars are spent annually to extol the supposed benefits of eating flesh and animal secretions. Further, trade groups spend huge sums of money – a significant proportion of which comes from taxpayers – to mislead the public regarding animal husbandry standards and the health effects of consuming animal products.

Grillo explains how a public eager to have its food preferences and a clear conscience at the same time readily accepts patently false fictions, for example that animals are treated “humanely,” that animals consent to their abuse, and that dying for human consumption someone gives dignity and importance to an animal’s life. Grillo debunks these and a wide range of other fictions. While Grillo supports measures that reduce the severity of abuse, he rejects the notion of “humane meat.” For starters, nearly all farms that claim to raise animals “humanely” actually submit animals to high degrees of pain, stress, and deprivation. Importantly, nearly all farms kill animals in adolescence or early adulthood, and these animals seek to live as fiercely as we do.

Grillo stresses that eating animals is, for almost all of us, a choice. From a practical standpoint, it is easy to find sustenance through healthy, nutritious, tasty vegan foods. However, there is a challenge that Grillo largely ignores. To be vegan is to reject the fictions that comfort meat eaters. This can lead to social isolation from those who want to believe the lies.

Admirably, and I think wisely, Grillo calls for “truth-centered advocacy.” Next week, I’ll get back to essays that consider the question: Is it true, as Jesus declared, that the truth will set us free (John 8:32)?

Stephen R. Kaufman, MD


2. The Next Issue of Peaceable Table Is Now Online

Contents include:

  • The Editor's Corner Guest Essay by Judith McCoy Carman narrates her experience of singing to cows and sensing their loving, inaudible song in reply. She goes on to offer a prayer that humans might be opened to the joy and music of all beings on earth.
  • California dairy farmers who find their sales diminishing are planting almond orchards--a change which will benefit both cows and people. See NewsNoteS.
  • The November Pioneer essay by Robert Ellwood deals with the long career of peacemaking Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, a career which includes a deep commitment to ahimsa in diet.
  • In Eden's Other Residents, biblical scholar Michael J. Gilmour offers a sympathetic, non-literal interpretation of biblical passages dealing with animals.Read the Review and check out the book.
  • Here's a Recipe for stir-fry you're bound to enjoy, including bits of savory apple-sage sausage.

To read this issue, go to http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue130.html.

Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor

P.S. Our collection of best essays from the archives of Peaceable Table, "Taking the Adventure: Faith and Our Kinship With Animals," might be just the right Christmas gift for a caring friend or relative. Go to [email protected] or Amazon.


3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

Thanksgiving for Thanksliving


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